How Legal Biz Dev. is Like Fitness
Jane Greyf is a partner in Goodwin’s Private Equity Group and a member of the firm’s Impact and Responsible Investing Practice. She advises private equity funds, companies, and management in leveraged buyouts and growth equity investment transactions.
Business development is like fitness – you have to keep at it. A little has to be done every day. It can take years – keep at it – many interactions will result in business.
You can’t take rejection personally in terms of business development. Your ability to control your response to things is a learned strength.
Jane keeps a fluid list of top 5 prospects. She spends a few minutes every day, every other day, once a week to execute that next step. It doesn’t take a tremendous amount of time. Always, always, always keep in touch with current clients.
A lawyer at a client with a shared business background moved companies to a company new to the US market. Jane reached out (stayed in touch) and was hired. When the company expanded in the US, Jane’s business also expanded. Jane was able to position other Goodwin practices with success. Over time Goodwin gained business for the firm from this client in their businesses outside the US.
Business development is different for women but not harder. It’s different because men and women develop relationships differently and business development is about building relationships.
Today there are a lot of women GCs – and firm team diversity is being demanded both are business development opportunities for women.
The fundamentals that apply to establishing a personal brand are the same for men and women. Find out ‘who you want to be’; do you have a niche; a specialty. Then write, speak, network – get your name out in that industry.
Be yourself in developing your personal brand. Look to mentors and sponsors to shape how you create your approach but make it your own. Don’t try to behave exactly like that mentor or sponsor if it doesn’t feel natural, even though you like the perception.
Positive Trends in the legal environment:
· A more business-like approach to the practice of law – business will not come based on your expertise. You have to encourage and spend time on business development.
· Law used to be a lone wolf profession – you brought a client in and worked on that client’s work. Today we see more of a team approach to working with clients – which is much more successful.
· The use of technology is making collaboration much more efficient – and it’s helping to develop a more standardized work product.
· The open demand for diversity in the teams assigned.
· Millennials can reach large numbers of people quickly. Use it effectively.
· There is no substitute for in-person discussions or for building relationships in person.