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  • October 17, 2019 8:04 PM | Jenifer Hamilton (Administrator)

    By Eric Dewey, MBA, eLegal Training, LLC

    Conventional business development training programs follow a familiar path. They teach lawyers to: find qualified prospects; make connections; build relationships; identify legal needs; make a proposal; overcome objections and close the engagement. Sound familiar?

    As popular as this business development process is, it can’t explain fundamental challenges that we see so often in our business development pursuits. For instance,

    • why a prospect stalls or disengages from the selling process,
    • why new decision makers sometimes enter sales discussions,
    • why lawyers with a strong company relationship are not always selected,
    • why some engagements get signed quickly and some take months, and
    • why some prospects recognize a legal need but don’t solve their problem.

    Without a good explanation for this seemingly erratic behavior we conclude business services buyers are, at least sometimes, ‘irrational’ or ‘emotional’- a characteristic of individual consumers, but not corporations. Consumers are motivated by the experience the purchase promises, an emotional pursuit. Business people, on the other hand, are motivated by the expectation of profit the purchase will produce, a decidedly rational pursuit. If these responses, then, are not irrational, it suggests there is something missing in our understanding of the buying process.

    Unknowingly, legal business development training has adopted certain assumptions that mask the fact that our selling process is fundamentally flawed. We teach a process that, in practice, only works in a fraction of selling situations. To compensate, we urge ourselves and our time-constrained lawyers to increase the volume of contact. When the process doesn’t work, we blame the buyer, the ‘lawyer personality’, their unwillingness to sell, or the buyer’s resistance to being ‘sold’. Instead, we should look closer at what we’re teaching our lawyers, or more accurately, what we’re not teaching them.

    The legal sales/business development process has assumptions embedded in it that distort the errors in the selling methodology. It assumes that:

    • When companies recognize a legal need, they are inclined to buy a solution. (Not always.)
    • There is one ultimate decision maker. A key to success requires access to this person. (There are many influencers in the decision. Ultimate decision makers manage decision consensus.)
    • Close relationships are the best path to new engagements. (Not necessarily, expertise does it too.)
    • There is a single, linear sales method that works for all selling/buying situations, all lawyer/sellers, all practice areas, and all buyer types. (Legal services don’t fit neatly into a single method. The practice area/legal need significantly influences the purchasing process and time frame.)

    Conventional business development methods ignore an important part of the buying - selling process: the buying decision process. This is a process that occurs prior to a company’s decision to solve an issue, problem, or opportunity (IPO) and it is the source of much of our frustration with selling. It’s surprisingly sensible. So much so that this plain truth is overlooked. A company will not be ready to buy until it has decided to buy the services of outside counsel. That decision has two parts: the first decision to solve the problem and the second decision of which provider to use. We tend only to focus on the latter in our sales training.

    A company’s buying decision process includes much more than simply the recognition of an IPO and the selection of a provider. The buying decision process includes a unique internal process, obscured from view, that prioritizes, builds consensus and projects outcomes for the array of possible solutions. This internal buying decision process happens before a company can find a solution or a provider and yet it is fertile ground to influence the decision, the selection criteria and even the choice of provider.

    We can’t fully understand how buyers buy until we have insight into how buyers decide to buy. Focusing on the decision to buy completely changes almost everything we know about ‘selling’. We learn to listen for sales opportunities and respond to those ‘sales triggers’ by ‘selling’ our services or attempting to persuade the buyer of our unique offering. Companies, however, are not always ready to buy even when they’ve discussed the possibility. A view into the internal decision process demonstrates the complexity of the buying process in matrixed, profit driven organizations. Without that internal view, we don’t understand that ‘selling’ is useless, even counterproductive at certain points. ‘Selling’ before a company is ready to buy creates ‘sales pressure’ that ignites skepticism and makes relationships harder to form. Without internal consensus, no amount of selling, relationship building, negotiation skills or discounting will move companies to engage, a fact that has been widely overlooked in conventional business development and sales training.

    Companies at different stages of their buying process react differently to our business development initiatives because their level of readiness to engage outside counsel is more or less matured. For example, a lawsuit that threatens the company’s survival requires little consensus-building within the company. There is quick and strong agreement to defend the company against the action. However, a company considering strategic acquisitions has to do some homework. They need first to understand how the acquisition will affect financial, operational, human resource, and other corners of the business before they can get the multifunctional agreement to proceed. Lastly, a company asked by an earnest seller to consider changes to their licensing agreements or technology contracts, is even further behind in their internal decision-making process. They have to determine first whether to address the issue and then how to address the issue in a way that creates the least disruption to the company’s operations. Yet, lawyer/sellers are taught to pitch their services in the same way regardless of where the company is in their internal buying decision process. This results in little success and lots of frustration.

    It's not hard to understand why the internal buying decision process has been left out of sales training. Outside counsel is, obviously, on the outside of the company. Outside lawyers are not privy to the internal politics, the relationship dynamics, the cultural norms and values, the history and hard-fought lessons that determine how the company operates, how it makes decisions, and how it selects providers. It’s hard to see how they could influence internal buying decisions.

    They can, however, help facilitate the decision process from outside by helping their contacts ask better questions, get better information, understand the stakeholders, and more clearly understand the resistance to the changes some legal solutions will cause inside the company. They can help facilitate the internal decision process in the same way a counselor might advise you in assessing your career options- they don’t care what career path you take, only that you make a decision. Fortunately, it doesn’t require a deep understanding of each company’s business or industry, only a change in mindset and a new questioning strategy. That’s not to say it’s not helpful to understand the company’s business or industry, its simply more helpful to understand its culture because business decision facilitation is actually cultural change facilitation.

    Expanding our definition of the selling process to include the company’s buying-decision process sheds light on the internal dynamics, motivations and time frames companies have about solving their legal problems. This revelation led to a new business development process called Decision-Strategy Selling™ that provides lawyers with a framework to evaluate where the buyer is in their internal buying decision process and presents a new set of skills to help find the quickest path to an engagement decision. It complements existing sales training because it helps lawyers pinpoint the situations in which selling skills will be most effective. And it builds relationships more quickly because the lawyer is more often able to start the relationship as a trusted advisor and not as a sales person. In short, Decision-Strategy Selling™ gives lawyers more company insights and more opportunities for the types discussions that lead to engagements.

    Eric Dewey, MBA, is the Founder of eLegal Training, an online business development training, coaching, resource and referral network platform. He is the creator of Decision - Strategy Selling, a more effective path to new legal engagements and would love the opportunity to incorporate the buying decision process into your sales training. Contact  or visit eric@elegaltraining.com or visit http://www.elegaltraining.com.


  • October 15, 2019 9:14 AM | Jenifer Hamilton (Administrator)
    The position will serve as the Business Development Manager for assigned lawyers in Austin; provide strategic and tactical support to assigned lawyers and collaborates with marketing and business-development team members and other firm business professionals to ensure the execution of the business development plans and their alignment with firm-wide business development priorities and practices.

     Read More.


  • October 11, 2019 11:41 AM | Kirsten Lovett (Administrator)

    As the Business Development Manager is a leader who possesses a client-focused mentality, is highly service oriented, and has the ability to guide, direct and advise lawyers in a sophisticated marketing and business development environment. Responsibilities include helping shape the strategic positioning within the context of the Goodwin brand for both the Financial Industry (“FIN”) business unit (which spans both litigation and transnational work) and the Fin-tech practice; supporting client relationship-building initiatives; facilitating cross-selling opportunities with other practice groups and geographies; lead generation; and identifying effective thought leadership opportunities.

    Learn More

  • October 11, 2019 9:00 AM | Kirsten Lovett (Administrator)

    Now in it's 17th year, the RainDance Conference has earned a reputation as a must attend event for senior level law firm sales and business development professionals.  With their big firm and smaller firm perspectives, this year's co-chairs are planning dynamic sessions with practical takeaways for everyone.

    David Bowerman is a Director of Client Development at K&L Gates were he helped lead the creation of the firm’s Client Development function.  Based in the firm’s Seattle office, he has more than 20 years of experience in the professional services sector leading teams, building revenue-generating tools and bringing new ideas to market across a range of business development, communications, and sales roles.  David was a member of the hit Fishbowl sales session at RainDance last year.

    Jenna Schiappacasse is the Director of Client Development at Rosenberghttps://www.legalsales.org/resources/Pictures/JennaOConnor.jpeg Martin Greenberg, a 45-attorney firm with 5 offices across Maryland, Delaware, DC and New York. Over the past several years, Jenna has transformed her position from a marketing and communications focus to a market-facing client development role, directly responsible for generating revenue, in addition to coaching the firm’s attorneys on their client service and business development efforts. Jenna was a finalist in the 2019 LSSO Sales & Service Awards. 


    Message from our Co-Chairs to you:

    The buzz around legal sales is at an all time high. At RainDance, you'll be surrounded by client-facing, client service and business development professionals. We are going to have you on your feet collaborating and participating in workshops and sessions that are going to teach you new sales strategies, make you rethink your approach to client service and expand your network of colleagues. 

    Register Now

  • October 02, 2019 2:11 PM | Kirsten Lovett (Administrator)

    Now in its 17th year, the RainDance Conference has earned a reputation as a must attend event for senior level law firm sales and business development professionals. Partnering with the Legal Sales & Service Organization (LSSO) allows companies to demonstrate their expertise and thought leadership before a national audience and receive a high level of visibility with LSSO's members throughout the year.

    Contact Kirsten Lovett, LSSO Executive Director, to learn more.

    Why Legal Sales and Service Organization (LSSO)?

    Legal Sales and Service Organization (LSSO) is the go-to organization for education, ideas and networking focused solely on legal sales and client service.  We provide law firm sales, business development, and service professionals with the resources and strategies they and their teams need to achieve the highest levels of success. 

    What is LSSO’s RainDance Conference?

    LSSO's annual RainDance Conference, now in its 17th year, is the key resource for sales and service professionals.  The two-day conference is filled with high-level interactive sessions, roundtables and lively discussions with industry thought leaders.   

    RainDance continues to offer less of the theory and more of the practical, effective sales and service strategies for attendees to bring back to their firm and implement immediately.  With an intimate setting, sponsor partners can expect open and honest dialogue among the attendees about the challenges they face in meeting the demands of the increasingly competitive and evolving industry.

    Who Attends LSSO’s RainDance?

    RainDance is for firm leaders who have significant responsibilities for client retention, client growth, new business development, client service, and process improvement strategies to shape the future of their firms.  Attendees come from law firms of all sizes. Last year 56% were from AmLaw 100 & 200 firms and 44% from mid-size firms.

    RainDance is recognized and known for attracting the highest caliber of attendees who are regarded as the thought leaders and decision-makers in their firms and consultants who work with them to help shape the industry. 

    Why Be Involved in LSSO’s RainDance Conference?

    We recognize that your #1 goal is to network and make valuable business connections which will result in new business.  We work with our partners to establish a year-long relationship.

    Partnering with LSSO and our RainDance Conference is one of the most cost-effective ways to reach your target market to demonstrate how your product or service will help to drive revenue in law firms. LSSO’s RainDance Conference is unlike other industry conferences.  Our sponsor partners are shoulder to shoulder with conference attendees, who are the decision-makers at their firms.

    Contact Kirsten Lovett, LSSO Executive Director, to learn more.

  • September 27, 2019 9:25 AM | Jenifer Hamilton (Administrator)

    The BD and Marketing Specialist will be a liaison primarily to Securities and Shareholder Litigation, Accountants and Professional Liability and reports to the Business Development and Marketing Manager. Read More!



  • September 26, 2019 7:00 AM | Kirsten Lovett (Administrator)

    The Legal Sales and Service Organization (LSSO) is pleased to announce that Stephanie Hinrichs and Neel Lilani have joined the group’s Board of Advisors (BOA).

    Hinrichs, Director of Client Service at Womble Bond Dickinson, and Lilani, Managing Director at Orrick served as co-chairs of the 2019 RainDance Conference and led the hit Fishbowl session on “Demystifying Sales & Service Roles in Law Firms Today.”

    “As client-facing sales professionals in law firms, Stephanie and Neel understand the resources and tools our members need to produce results for their firms and advance their careers,” said Kirsten Lovett, LSSO’s Executive Director. “Stephanie and Neel are forward-thinking leaders in our industry and we welcome their ideas and insight.”

    Upon joining the BOA, Hinrichs commented, “I am honored to be joining such a talented group of leaders and look forward to contributing to the advancement of legal sales roles in the profession.” Lilani added, “It’s a privilege to join this esteemed group of legal sales leaders. I am excited to work with them in moving the industry forward.”

    In her role with Womble Bond Dickinson, Hinrichs works closely with both attorneys and clients to initiate and expand relationships while ensuring that the firm is providing the highest quality client service. Hinrichs also leads the firm's Manufacturing and Transport & Logistics Industry Sectors from the sales side.

    As Managing Director of Orrick's global corporate development efforts for technology companies, Lilani drives new client opportunities through coordinated strategies across the sector. Lilani frequently consults with technology companies on financing and business strategy and manages Orrick’s venture capital relationships.

    Hinrichs and Lilani join a board of advisor veteran sales and service professionals, including David  Burkhardt, Client Service Director at Wyrick Robbins Yates & Ponton LLP; Christie Caceres, Director of Business Development and Marketing at Sidley Austin LLP; Silvia Coulter, Principal at LawVision Group; Beth Cuzzone, Chief Client Growth Officer at Goulston & Storrs, PC; Alvidas Jasin, Director of Client Development at Ropes & Gray LLP; Catherine MacDonagh, CEO & Founder, The Legal Lean Sigma Institute;  Gabriel Miller, General Counsel / Bond Sanchez-Gordon and Founder / NTA Legal Ventures; Steven Petrie, Chief Operating Officer, Americas at White & Case LLP; Adam Stock, A Stock Consulting; and Catherine Zinn, Chief Client Officer at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP. See Board of Advisors.

    About The Legal Sales and Service Organization

    LSSO is the preeminent organization serving the educational and professional needs of legal and business executives responsible for driving revenue in law firms. It is committed to suppling the legal marketplace with innovative, groundbreaking events and resources such as the annual RainDance Conference, the Coaching Advantage Certification Program, and the Salary & Trends Survey Report. Learn more at legalsales.org.


  • September 18, 2019 7:00 PM | Jenifer Hamilton (Administrator)

    The Rapid Fire Client Panel is always one of the most popular sessions at the annual RainDance Conference. Thanks to a series of blog posts by John Cunningham, we are able to share the insights learned from our 2019 RainDance panel. Excerpts from John’s series and links to the full blog posts are below.  

    Special thanks to Louise Henkel, Director of Business Development and Marketing at Hill Ward Henderson, for her notes on the input provided by the following panelists:

    And here are some of the highlights from their answers to excellent questions posed by moderator Julianne Hartzell, a partner at Marshall Gerstein:

    1. Corporate legal clients clearly flagged their service preferences while providing key insights on how and why they purchase or discontinue services 

    • All panelists have engaged in a process improvement planning session with a law firm in the past few years (process improvement is a growing focus for firms).

    • All have instructed one or more law firms that they will not pay for first-year associate training hours on their projects.

    • All are open to the idea of meeting with law firm sales professionals who are not practicing lawyers.

    • All have been proactively approached by a law firm about alternative fee arrangements within the last year.

    • Three out of four just stop working with a lawyer whose work product or attitude does not measure up to their standards rather than spending energy on some form of progressive counseling.

    • All are receptive to conversations with their legal providers about the service and how it can be enhanced or improved.

    • All have audited law firm invoices to check for compliance with hiring letter instructions, and all have fired one or more counsel for failure to follow those instructions.

    • Three of four panelists said the biggest thing missing from law firm RFPs are meaningful project budgets.

    • All of them consult with their peers, including other GCs, when looking for counsel in a niche area that is new to them.

    • Three out of four rank “industry knowledge and understanding” as the biggest factor in their hiring decisions versus lower hourly rates or peer review rankings, such as Chambers.

    • All are interested in knowing how firms are using technology to improve product quality, cost or delivery speed.

    • Three out of four would give “plus points” to a law firm bidding for business that has undergone meaningful process improvement training.

    2.  Legal Clients Read and Value Law Firm Content (if it’s good)

    Corporate legal clients answered several questions about content marketing by law firms.  Here is what panelists revealed to audience members about content marketing:

    • All of them periodically read law firm newsletters or client alerts.

    • All of them read lawyer publications on Twitter and/or LinkedIn.

    • Three of four read one or more law firm blogs.

    • Three of four periodically listen to industry-focused podcasts.

    • All of them periodically read industry-focused content.

    • Three out of four do NOT prefer video content – lawyers still like to read.

    • All of them have hired a lawyer as a result of compelling and useful content.

    • None of them believe that articles published in the media are more credible than self-published content put out by law firms.

    Panelists also called out some of the content publications they like, including:

    • Jason Barnwell’s business of law podcast

    • The ACC Docket

    • Updates by Skadden and Wachtell Lipton

    3. Legal Clients on Service Experiences They Loved or Hated

    Corporate legal clients were very candid about service experiences that positively “wowed” them and others that got lawyers fired or dropped from outside counsel lists. Here are some examples of service experiences that impressed in-house corporate counsel and earned big points for the lawyers who provided them:

    • One firm provided a detailed budget proposal with “if-then” scenarios that anticipated various contingencies, and then followed through with quality work consistent with budget.

    • Another firm – at the conclusion of a matter – shared “lessons learned” packaged in a format that was readily digestible and offered practical insights and suggestions.

    • Another firm offered up a creative alternative fee arrangement that contained a “success fee” for the upside and pain-sharing for the downside.

    • In general, quality work and regular, clear and simple communication earned big points with in-house counsel.

    Panelists also called out some of the service experiences that can get lawyers fired or dropped from outside counsel lists, such as:

    • Failing to follow instructions

    • Failing to get proper authority to make an important decision

    • Failure to be diplomatic or acting antagonistically toward the client

    • Just being overly adversarial with anyone

    • Failing to communicate or communicating poorly

    • Consistently waiting until the last minute to meet deadlines

    • Ethical failures

    • Excessive billing

    • Failing to go through the legal department with communication or decision-making

    4. What’s Missing from Law Firm RFP’s ?

    Corporate legal clients told law firm audience members what is missing from their RFP responses 

    • Firm RFPs must have meaningful budget information based on real-world experience – this is THE big thing that all panelists identified as a problem

    • Firms should address how they protect confidential and privileged information from cyber-risk and traditional risks

    • Firms cannot do a “bait and switch” on diversity claims, showing one face for the RFP and another in their actual staffing

    5. What’s Missing from Lawyer Profiles on Websites?

    Corporate legal clients told law firm audience members what they would like to see in lawyer profiles on law firm websites. 

    • All panelists agreed they would like to see some quantification of lawyer experience, such as number of cases tried or tried to verdict, number of transactions closed, dollar amounts of transactions, and percentage of times that transactions have completed ahead of schedule or under budget.

    • All panelists agreed they would like to see more industry-specific experience in lawyer profiles.

    • Three of four panelists agreed that it would be nice to know about the hobbies, personal interests and passions of lawyers to see their human side while one panelist saw such information as irrelevant but not offensive or silly.

    6. “Hot Button” Issues for In-House Legal Counsel at Big Companies

    Corporate legal clients told law firm audience members about their “hot button” legal service issues.

    • Technology should be a lawyer’s “best friend” and law firm should be exploiting it more, especially with respect to hyper-cloud solutions tools.
    • Some outside lawyers still fail to communicate proactively when a matter is going South so that damage can be minimized.

    • Some outside lawyers are still failing to communicate well on all matters, and that usually results in no more business coming their way.

    • Outside lawyers who find in-house lawyers calling them regularly for updates should take that as a warning sign that communication is lagging.

    • When outside counsel does communicate, it is important to do so in “executive summary” fashion, getting to the point quickly and effectively.


    Clearly, the hottest of hot buttons seems to center around communication, suggesting that outside lawyers might benefit from some formal training on how to communicate effectively with in-house contacts in a way that is sensitive to their perspectives and needs (which are different from private practice).

    John O. Cunningham is a freelance writer, editor and marketing/communications consultant.
    Read more here.


  • September 17, 2019 9:29 AM | Kirsten Lovett (Administrator)

    Listen to Andy Peterson's interview with Stephanie Hinrichs, Director of Client Service at Womble Bond Dickinson, and Neel Lilani, Managing Director at Orrick. Hear how they got started in sales positions, how they see the law firm sales role evolving, and the skills needed to succeed. 

    Thank you to Andy Peterson and Design Build Legal for producing this podcast! Listen to more Legal Ops Rising podcasts.

    Listen Now

  • September 15, 2019 5:14 PM | Jenifer Hamilton (Administrator)

    The Marketing & Business Development Department at Burns & Levinson LLP has 2 opportunities available in Boston, MA -- a Marketing Communications Manager and a Business Development SpecialistRead more!



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