I started this year off wiping down my white board and getting ready to plan my year. IMG_9184 So much white. So much potential. So many ideas. I am not a huge fan of large and intense marketing plans; they usually just end up buried in some drawer somewhere, only to be pulled out at the

Learning to chart her own course. (c) H. Morse 2012
Learning to chart her own course. (c) H. Morse 2012

Well, here we are. First day back in the office after a holiday break. We have 363 days of potential ahead of us.

What are we going to do with all that potential?

How about start by thinking a bit about

Image via www.designscollage.com

The end of the year is quickly approaching, and you know what that means?

Year end billing, collections, reviews, trying to get some holiday cards out (don’t get me started), do some shopping, enjoy some family time … and create a marketing plan and budget for 2012.

It’s summer. People are on vacation, and for those of us who are not, we have either taken advantage of the quiet, or are panicking and wondering “will the phone ever ring again?” The news is not good out there. Markets are crashing. Questions about double-dipping recessions. Riots in the streets. Didn’t we just get

Thank you to guest blogger  Gail Lamarche for recapping today’s Lexblog webinar, Making — Not Finding — Time for Client Development, featuring Kevin O’Keefe and Cordell Parvin.


With 36 years of law practice behind him, Cordell Parvin now coaches attorneys in all aspects of legal marketing, client development and blogs at lawconsultingblog.com. When he just started his career as a young construction lawyer, his peers mocked him when he wanted to have a national practice from Roanoke, VA.  That is until the Secretary of Transportation for the State of Washington called him when the bridge collapsed. How did that call happen?  It was from writing articles and being known for a construction litigation law niche practice.  Cordell shared his best practices and tips during the webinar which was recorded and can be found here (UPDATED LINK).

  • 500 hours.  That is how many non-billable hours a lawyer should spend on client development per year or 20-30 per month.
  • Have a plan in place for not only non-billable time but personal time as well.  Review the plan every 90 days.  Plans should include:
    • Time for client development
    • Organizations to join
    • Networking events
    • Articles
    • Blog posts
    • Pro bono activities
  • Feeling overwhelmed with billable work, personal responsibilities and marketing?  Set priorities.  Start a journal.  Document your non-billable time and you will be able to figure out what worked and what didn’t.
  • Split your development time in two categories:  one for reputation building (writing and speaking); and one for relationship building (getting out and meeting people).
  • Tips for young lawyers:
    • spend time your first few years developing your skills to become a great lawyer
    • learn about your clients
    • learn people and communication skills
    • read books
    • attend seminars
  • Write articles:
    • Not sure what to write about?  What questions are your clients asking?  Take the memorandum of law and turn it into an article or blog post.  Every matter you work on can take a wider angle.
    • Create how-to guides for contracts, design builds.  Post the e-books on your website so clients can download.  Take what you learn and re-use it.  Provide valuable information to your audience and raise visibility and credibility.
    • Review the Encyclopedia of Associations for your state.  Every association has newsletters or publications.
  • Develop a niche practice, be focused.  How?  What are you passionate about?  Used great examples of lawyers who stepped outside the box, developed a niche practice and moved full steam ahead.  Staci Riordan incorporates blogging, Facebook and Twitter for the fashion law blog.  Alison Rowe with her Equine Law Blog and Kevin O’Neill started a weekly podcast Capital Thinking.

Cordell and Kevin also shared some great blogging tips:

I don’t like marketing plans. For the most part, they’re too long, too complicated, too detailed, too focused on what you think someone else expects of you. They are too easy to forget, toss into a drawer and ignore. I do believe that they have a place, but I think they need to be as

Marketing plans should not be complicated. They shouldn’t take more than a few minutes to put together. If there are more than five bullet points, you’ll never live it because you won’t remember it.

Oh, you can wrap numbers around what this all means – dollars, percentages, billable hours, revenue billed, received or realized –

I hate marketing budgets, marketing plans and anything that limits my ability to move forward, and move quickly.

This doesn’t mean that I don’t have a budget or a plan, it only means that I want my plans to be fluid enough to allow me to change course and act quickly when necessary.

In October