7th Year+ and No Book?


How many of us have dedicated most of our associate time at BigLaw doing our best just trying to manage what’s on our plate?

Remember when there were clearly defined partnership tracks with identifiable timelines? For 3rd year thru 5th year associates, I wish I could tell you that as a senior associate the job market gets easier, but for most these days it does not.

If you have not asked yourself the hard questions about your long-term role at your firm, made the move to your next firm where you see a longer term play or true expertise development, or have developed a book it can be quite ugly.

So, what to do?

Most associates make a move somewhere in the 3rd year thru 5th year time frame, and as a career counselor I strongly suggest you do so. As for that book of business, I am often asked: “If I am required to bill at least 2000 hours, how can I build a book?

In an excellent post yesterday from Jaimie Field, she offers some very helpful suggestions for Associate Rainmaking in Rainmaking Recommendation #91: The Mathematics of Time for Rainmaking

15 minutes or less:

  • Make a phone call to a client. Not to “check in,” but provide a value proposition.
  • Email an article to five contacts, with a personal note.
  • Review the firm’s recent blog posts and share to your personal Facebook feed.
  • Go find and follow 10 clients on Twitter.
  • Go find and follow 10 leaders in your client industries (gurus, industry publications, industry associations, etc).
  • Subscribe to your competitors blogs, newsletters.

30 minutes or so:

  • Meet a client or referral source for coffee.
  • Walk the halls and speak to a couple partners outside your direct practice area, and find out what they are working on.
  • Review your matter list for the past couple years. Make a list of clients you can call when you have only 15 minutes or less.
  • Review the Twitter/Blog posts from your clients, industry leaders, or competitors. Forward and retweet relevant ones to your networks.

1 hour or so:

  • Present a CLE presentation to a client
  • Go to lunch with a partner in your firm who shares a client. See what you can do to cross sell your practices further with other clients.
  • Call your marketing director and go to lunch/coffee. Discuss ideas of what you can do in 2014 to increase your rain.
  • Write a blog post of a recent decision, or something hot in the news.
  • Attend, or lead, a webinar.
  • Review and edit your bio, taking into account SEO and your client (their industry, their business problems, your legal solutions).
  • Start working on your holiday cards. Don’t send the firm’s card. Send you own, with a personal note.

2 hours or so:

  • Research a byline piece for an industry journal or trade publication.
  • Take a client, referral source, or influencer out to lunch.
  • Attend a local industry networking or educational event.
  • Participate in a local industry as a leader (committee member, board of directors)
  • Edit an article you are preparing for a local industry or trade publication.
  • Prepare slides and materials for an upcoming webinar or CLE.

3 hours or so:

  • Drive out and visit a client.
  • Take a client to a game or show.
  • Work on that chapter for the LexisNexis treatise you committed to last fall and is due next month.
  • Before catching that plane home from your most recent out of town depos, go visit a local client/referral source.
  • Read the 10-Ks for your top clients, highlighting potential points of discussion for your upcoming meetings.
  • Prepare your Chambers submissions for this year.

I think this should be required reading at every law school…

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