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Leonum Non Refert Quid Oves Censeant

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An olde quote no doubt, but not without meaning in today’s challenging and hyper fast business environment.  Popular once again as a quote from the popular HBO series “Game of Thrones” loosely translated this Latin quote states: The lion doesn’t care much about the opinions of sheep.  How it applies to an attorney’s approach to business development, revenue growth, and empowerment is the topic of this article.

Thinking about your efforts as a business developer, are you more like the lion or do you appear instead as one of the sheep?  Let’s take a look.  On one hand, there are attorneys who take matters into their own hands.  Without concern for the time of year, day of the week, or time of the day, this is an attorney who allocates time each week for business development and takes the situation into their own hand.  These attorneys set out to find more clients and matters and spend their time looking for ways to build their client book.  On the other hand, there are those attorneys who day after day and week after week seem always to find themselves caught up in the never ending chase to retire their billable hour objectives and defer their business development activities to another time.  In fact, these attorneys are likely to sound the alarm to their “business developer” colleagues that repeatedly missing utilization objectives may be fatal to future employment opportunities. 

While I am not advocating that an attorney must abandon all utilization objectives to achieve business development success, what I am saying is the former eschews a single-minded focus on utilization and forges ahead in search of additional client work.  While the latter often finds “relative safety” in carrying out the day’s legal work at hand and in some instances, may even suggest (warn) their colleagues of the consequences for non-delivery.  Given these different approaches to the work day, you can see how the first attorney could be considered more “lion-like” and the second more “sheep-like”.  Again, how about you?

In a business where “Rainmakers” are so highly regarded and often find themselves on an easier road to partnership, why then aren’t most attorneys anxious to learn and do all they can to challenge the system.  One reason may be fear. 

In these cases, the opiner may be driven more by the fear of missing utilization targets and the impending consequences of such a miss.  This fear may induce paralysis and keep the attorney from even stepping into the arena – eliminating any realistic chance of business development success.

Conversely, attorneys engaged in a strong, focused, and determined pursuit of new business and client growth objectives may find themselves in similar circumstances.  However, despite warnings from their colleagues, they move forward in their plans to acquire new clients anyway.  Any time one challenges the norms they take on some element of risk.  The question that remains is…is the risk worth it?

Clearly there is no shortage of legal publications available on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis.  Many of these publications cite the “Best of the Best”, “The Rising Star”, the “Super-Lawyer” as conquering heroes and role models for success that surely must be emulated. 

Looking more deeply though, we often find that these are the attorneys that ignored the opinions and set out without worrying about the consequences of failure and focused instead on the spoils of success. 

In these cases “The lion doesn’t care much about the opinions of sheep.

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Guest Thursday, 19 October 2017

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