Why Every Lawyer Should Have a Book of Business (And How to Build One)
We have to break up with this narrative in the law:
“I have to do everything on my own.”
It keeps women stuck in overwhelm, feeling like it’s them against the world. Life is just a constant competition over billable hours and clients.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
There is a whole community of women out there who are ready to ditch the bogus idea that we’re enemies and build each other up as allies instead.
Because the truth is, competing with your colleagues doesn’t get you more growth. You can scale your business way faster, not to mention enrich your life in a major way by leaning into your peers.
That’s why I’m thrilled to share this interview with my friend and fellow powerhouse, Molly Hough.
Molly, a practicing lawyer and absolute networking pro, is on a mission to give thousands of women attorneys the training they need to build a book of business (because women have been excluded from law firm structures for long enough).
I asked Molly to share her best tips and tricks for building a book of business, especially for women who have a lot going on already.
Here’s what she said:
- Reevaluate your schedule. This is something I work on with all types of clients, from the Big Law New York clients to the small law firm owner in the midwest. They’re all experiencing the same thing. Find an objective person (like a coach) to help you pair down your time and get to what actually matters. If you’re serving on 11 committees, why? What’s the purpose of it? We have to get back to the basics.
- Know who your ideal client is. If you’re an employment lawyer, great. But what does that mean? How can you articulate this in a way that matters to your client? You need language set in place around these 3 things: Who’s your ideal client? What problems are they having? What unique solutions will you provide for those problems? This is an action step you can take today. Spend 15 minutes and write it out. If you can’t answer these questions, that’s step one. Dig it out. Sit down and do the work to figure out what language you should be using. Know exactly who you are and what you do. Then add your own special sauce to it.
- Figure out your strengths-based networking. Work within your strengths. Don’t go out and throw a bunch of stuff at the wall and see what sticks. Your clients know when you’re not having a good time. Bring joy to the practice of law by playing to your strengths. Do you like speaking? Are you better one on one or in groups? Do you like writing? Figure out where you’re good, focus on that, and cut out everything else.
- Create a list of referrals. Write down 8-12 people who could give you referrals. That’s your magic number that gets you a good amount of business each year. If you don’t even know where to start on who could be your potential referrals, go back to who your ideal client is. What other practice areas serve your ideal client? Meet with people in those other areas. Half of the people on your referral list should also be in the same practice area. If you’re practicing employment law, make relationships with other lawyers who are practicing employment law. They’re going to be conflicted out and give you these referrals. They’re not your enemy. They’re your ally. It’s how you build relationships with them.
Hear me on this: You don’t need to be out there on your own.
Women make more money when they have a community of other like-minded professionals around them. It’s not what’s in your bank account that matters. It’s who’s in your network. That’s who will help you scale your business.
Molly shares way more tips on networking (and tells us what she would advice she would give her younger self) in the full interview, which you can access here.
Let’s be women who build each other up and help each other win.