Book review – Rainmakers and Trailblazers (Business development for lawyers) by DWF

Posted on: May 8, 2014

Delighted to see that the May 2014 edition of Professional Marketing magazine http://www.pmforum.co.uk/magazine/index.aspx carried the following review of my fourth book “Rainmakers and Trailblazers – a step by step guide to business development for lawyers” https://www.kimtasso.com/publications/rainmakers-trailblazers-business-development-lawyers/

“Law firms continually battle with educating their people in the essentials of business development. Attempting to instil in junior staff the need for a bottom up approach to business development, and correcting some of the more unwelcome behaviours in partners, remains an on-going challenge.

Kim Tasso provides an excellent one stop shop in her book. She helps those who are less experienced to develop their own strategy, whilst also dovetailing with the firm’s strategy, and provides a comprehensive commentary on how that might be achieved. Kim’s guide, while narrowing in on personality types and how a lawyer may go about his or her business, is very much focussed on what buyers of legal services are looking for. While it could be said that this approach is not innovative, it is a focus which lawyers may sometimes forget! Effective business development is about the buyer, and the seller meeting the buyer’s needs. Kim urges an understanding of the procurement process within target organisations, and this is a good example of the sage, but not necessarily revolutionary advice, provided in her book.

The particular value brought by this book is its concentration on the background work which an effective business developer should be undertaking. My favourite is the chapter entitled ‘Make Friends with Finance’, as this division within an organisation is so often associated with the more mundane, but nevertheless essential, elements of running a law business. Equally, the guidance on developing relations with PR and marketing reminds us that our internal network, as well as our external network, is vital in the development of a robust legal practice. The need for effective preparation, research and development of goals and strategy is clearly put across, as well as providing practical advice on profile raising through securing speaking engagements (start at the bottom with internal engagements) through to advice on social networking.

Lawyers tend to be obsessed with the work on their desks without looking to where the next chunk of work is coming from, or equally obsessed with securing the next piece of work and ignoring what they have to hand. Neither of these is a particularly healthy outcome or focus, and Kim very much looks to the overall profile which a lawyer should be presenting, providing an emphasis on the need for the identification of trends, setting of objectives and focus. It is a personal mantra of mine that “no good plan survives first contact with the enemy” and a lawyer taking the elements of Kim’s book which work for them (and she herself acknowledges that there is no one right way of doing things) should develop a plan which is resilient enough to take account of the unexpected hurdles, and no doubt, failures which arise during the execution of any plan or strategy.

Kim reminds us of the obvious things we so often forget. She urges management of the relationship and not just the matter, and to look to see what other opportunities we, as lawyers, can present to the buyers of our services which put us deeper into their organisations. Kim provides guidance on relationship management and the need to concentrate on and strengthen our existing relationships, as often those will be so much less fleeting, and more profitable than new relationships.

While not overly long, there is a huge amount of information and knowledge imparted in Kim’s book. It is an excellent reference work for the experienced and inexperienced business developer. Highly recommended reading”

Richard Tall Corporate partner, DWF

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