Entrepreneurial Partner Will Get New Business

Cocktail A friend of mine who is a partner at a mega law firm wanted to hold a social event for business development purposes -- but he got no support.

So he printed up invitations, mailed them out and will pay for the party all by himself.  He was wondering if he was crazy.  I told him yes -- crazy like a fox.

"My partners and our marketing department did not support the idea of doing this (and I've been suggesting it for years), so I am doing it by myself. The partners said:

  • What if no one comes?
  • What if everyone comes?
  • What if the wrong people come?
  • We don't want our clients meeting our other clients
  • We've never done anything like this
  • Too much work
  • We should do lunches instead
  • We should do dinners instead
  • We should do tables at charitable events instead
  • We should do industry events instead
  • We should go after a carefully targeted small group of super high end prospective clients

"The marketing department said:

  • No one will come
  • Clients and prospects don't want to come to lawyers' cocktail parties
  • You need a theme
  • You can't use the logo
  • We don't have a budget
  • You need more approvals.

"So I went ahead and did it myself. Do you think I'm crazy? Do you think my partners and marketing department might be right?" he asked me.

"No," I told him. "Your colleagues are dunderheads."  Putting on a cocktail party positions him as a leader, a guy who makes things happen.  And the party will allow clients to meet clients, which is a good thing! It positions him as a Maven.  As people leave, he will give them a gift bag with handles, which will remind guests of him.

In my experience, the best business developers and rainmakers are lawyers with an entrepreneurial attitude, which he clearly has.  As we know, new business comes from relationships; the more you have, the better. The party will enable him to to start new relationships and deepen existing ones.

Stay tuned. The party is coming up this month.

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Thom Singer - April 1, 2007 8:44 PM

His firm is old-school. He should be sure to invite his partners and marketing people to the party.

I know a firm that inherited an annual party with the hiring of some lateral partners. They squacked at the price of this legacy party, until they saw the success. The next day they proclaimed it a firm tradition!

I believe your friend will have success and the firm will volunteer to pick up the tab in the future.


Patrick Hillman - April 2, 2007 9:19 AM

I'm not surprised by his patners' reactions, but the push-back from his marketing people is shocking. If a partner actually wants to DO some business development or marketing-type function, the firm marketers should be ecstatic! If only I had more partners like this guy.

mike maslanka - April 2, 2007 10:26 AM

I spend $15,000 or so a year of my own money on marketing, hosting monthly dinners in my home for 10-12 people from various walks of life,including clients, potential clinets, and just people who are interesting and who I know---actors, film prodeucers, doctors,professional salespeople. A good mix is important. I have a theme sometimes---last saturday it was April Fools and each got a translation of the master of the fake out, sun tzu. The point is that one thing is certain:if you do nothing at all, then nothing at all will happen.

Bill Crooks - April 26, 2007 9:07 AM

great follow up to this would be how your partner friend plans on specifically following up to the individuals at the event. How will he utilize the touch points and select key conversation points made with a few of his top clients during the event? Will he send a card with the paintings on it and a hand written note specifically asking for an opportunity to have a discussion about a key trend or topic that they might have discussed? Will he then track the results of the opportunities uncovered with additional billing figures in the months ahead and then send those same "skeptical" partners and marketing department members a report tracking the additional business? It would be interesting to check in for their response to his report a few months from now

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