Rainmaking: how much time should you spend?

Sep 24th, 2009 | Uncategorized

The landmark 2003 study of women rainmakers—the only report of which I am aware that tabulates how much time needs to be spent to create a book of business– has been updated. Based on 400 interviews, it indicates the threshold for success is for lawyers to devote 8 hours weekly to personal business development. Spend less than eight hours, and originations plummet. Spend more, they soar.

The average return when that is done is $59,000 in originations per hour devoted each week. (Ten hours on average spent weekly equals $590,000 in annual originations.)

Of course, as we often discover when writing law firm marketing plans and coaching lawyers, the vast majority, male or female, just don’t make the needed time commitment. (Our experience is that male lawyers need to devote similar amounts of time to that shown in the study and to similar activity to build similar books of business.) The report also discusses barriers to success specific to women, firm culture issues, mentoring, and the most effective lawyer marketing activities— networking, joining business groups, leading and speaking. That those are the highest-yield tactics is confirmed by our bi-annual national marketing effectiveness surveys.

Developed by the Legal Sales and Service Organization, the executive summary of the report is 69-pages long but in PowerPoint. You can read it in 15 minutes and then go back to those points of greatest interest. One observation I did not see addressed in this executive summary, but which was addressed in the prior report, is that top rainmakers also ask for work and for referrals from clients and prospects. That’s a critical sales skill most lawyers fail to develop and execute consistently— asking for work.

Here’s a link to the report: http://www.legalsales.org/pdf/LSSOsWomenLawyersStudiesExecutiveSummarySeptember20091

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