One of the ongoing challenges I have in law firm business development is effectively side-stepping the equity partners and non-equity partners who have few, if any, business development skills and/or simply lack interest in it (“It’s unseemly for a lawyer to have to ASK a client for business.”). However, managing partners rarely let you forget about these lost souls. In both firms where I have hung my hat, I felt management washed their hands of these attorneys by assigning their biz dev efforts to me. In both situations, I have been able to work around these folks by enrolling them in a few business development classes, completing a barebones marketing and biz dev plan, etc. But the time and attention they eat up means I have less time to support the real rainmakers. Plus their performance tends to weigh on my annual review. I have discussed the situation with managing partners at both of the firms and while they nod their heads in understanding, I still feel like I get dinged during the performance review. I don’t like to spend too much money on training this group because I don’t anticipate much ROI coming out of it.

Any readers have similar situations? What did you do to make the situation work?