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Measuring Law Firm Business Development Success and Return on Investment

Sep 08, 2015 | by Stacey Burke | Business Development | Intake
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Business development is a law firm’s real world source of new business opportunities. Lawyers engaging in business development utilize the tools created by and for marketing in their efforts. Cultivating and maintaining relationships with existing and established clients and referral sources must comprise a portion of your business development time and resources. Additionally, finding new opportunities keeps your business competitive with your practice area peers. Getting too reliant on established clientele and not spreading your efforts (and risks) across a variety of opportunities is a recipe for disaster.

Measuring Success: Quantifying Return on Investment

But how do we as lawyers know which of our business development efforts are working?  Is it possible to measure the return on investment of an event or speaking engagement in order for a law firm to budget, prioritize, and optimize its business development?

While it may seem hard to quantify metrics for face-to-face meetings and referral source relationships, it may not be as nebulous as you think. Law firms can and should use data to make smarter and more cost-effective marketing and business development decisions.

Essential Business Development Metrics for New Law Firm Prospects Include:

  1. The number of new prospects generated per month from business development activities. 
  2. The originator of each business prospect and the method of origination.
  3. Any and all costs associated with the acquisition of the prospect, including professional association membership fees, event attendance costs, event sponsorship costs, and more.
  4. The number of nurturing events each lawyer sets up, including in-person lunches, other meetings, emails, and phone calls.
  5. The number of these nurturing events that are completed, the duration of each event, and the dates of completion. Busy professionals often cancel and/or reschedule, due to no fault of the business seeker.
  6. The conversion rate for each attorney will show which are the best at not only generating business prospects, but also at closing deals.

Your Don’t Need Your Name On the Door to Do It

While a named partner or more established lawyer with name recognition may be the best closer, that is not always the case. When in practice, I made the majority of my money by promoting the lawyers I was fortunate enough to work for. Knowing the selling points for the lawyers you work with and having a good working understanding of the types of cases your firm wants can empower any lawyer with an arsenal equipped to originate business, and hopefully be compensated for their efforts.

Sidebar stacey e burke About Stacey Burke

Stacey E. Burke is both an experienced trial lawyer and law firm business consultant. She works with lawyers and law firms around the world to improve their business development, marketing, and infrastructures.


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