Business Development for Lawyers

Business development for lawyers: hints and tips 

As a consultant lawyer, trying to generate your own business can be daunting. Plus, more and more roles in traditional firms still require some element of business generation, so it’s not just consultants that need to be aware of it. 

Here are some hints and tips for business generation for lawyers to help you make the most of your network and win the work you need to thrive as a lawyer, whether you’re a consultant or work in a traditional firm.

Is marketing the same as business development for lawyers?

Marketing and business development are often used interchangeably, but in reality they serve different functions. Marketing is typically more about building a brand and generating awareness of a company, product or service, while business development is all about nurturing leads and relationships that turn into business both in the present and the future. 

With business development, the key is putting effort into building a solid network of both clients and peers, to help you generate new leads and establish a solid reputation in your practice area. Having a great network won’t just help with business development. Particularly if you’re working as a consultant lawyer, it can help you feel more connected to others in the industry and expand your knowledge. 

So, if you’re a lawyer who’s looking to build a network and get more business as a result, these tips are for you. 

Business development tips for lawyers:

Networking is your friend

Networking is not many people’s favourite activity! However, if you want to generate more work as a lawyer, it’s an important task. The good news is that there are so many ways to get involved in networking these days. From utilising social media (see below) to getting involved in local groups, it’s a great way to meet potential clients and others who may be able to refer you work. Business development for lawyers is all about meeting others and getting your name out there, and networking is a key way to achieve this.  

Utilising social media

Social media sites may not be your first thought when it comes to business development for lawyers. But, don’t write them off straight away. Social media can be a very useful tool to help you attract new clients and build networks with colleagues. And, building a network can help you win new business in its own way, by opening doors for cross-referring work – more on this below.

It’s up to you to decide which social media platforms make the most sense for you, your practice area, and your goals. However, Linkedin is a particularly popular platform for lawyers to generate new leads and build their networks in general. You can read our tips for optimising your Linkedin profile here. 

Nurturing relationships is key

Once you’ve started to build and develop your network of colleagues, it’s important to nurture these relationships. This doesn’t just have social benefits, it’s also another avenue to consider when it comes to business development for lawyers. Your network can be made up of many different people:

  • Past colleagues
  • New or current colleagues
  • Other lawyers in your local area
  • Lawyers around the country who work in your practice area 
  • Lawyers from different practice areas who may be able to refer their clients when they need a different kind of lawyer 

Building a solid network can help when it comes to business development as it enables you to be front of mind when another lawyer has work they need to refer to someone else. You can build your network in person, virtually, and even through social media. 

If you work in a large firm with lots of different practice areas, take advantage of this. At Setfords, we have more than 450 lawyers from different disciplines, and strongly encourage them to cross-refer work and build strong working relationships. This not only benefits business development, but also helps to reduce feelings of isolation and improve happiness and wellbeing at work – and we’re all about wellbeing here at Setfords

Take advantage of business development support offered by your firm 

As a consultant lawyer, it is likely that your firm will offer some kind of business development and marketing advice and support. Take advantage of this as much as you can, and don’t be afraid to offer feedback on how they can better support you.

Business development is a big part of what we do here at Setfords, with dedicated marketing and BD teams who generate thousands of leads every month for our consultants, as well as provide them with materials to market themselves in their local communities. This is all included in our fee split with no hidden costs, so our consultants have the peace of mind they can access our assistance at any time. 

Find out more about our business development team and how they can help consultant lawyers here. 

We think that it makes sense to empower our consultants to generate their own work, so that they can make a success of consultancy and enjoy the flexibility, freedom, and increased earnings it can offer. If you’re an England and Wales qualified lawyer with 5+ years PQE, we want to hear from you! Get in touch for a chat and see how working as a consultant lawyer can work for you. 

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