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23 October 2012

Business development anxieties plague new partners

Recently made up law firm partners suffer from increasing anxiety over their ability to develop business and win clients, according to a recent survey.

By Megan Malloy

Impressing clients -- a tricky act for new partners

The research -- conducted by The American Lawyer magazine -- found that while most respondents are pleased with their promotions and the amount of work they receive, many feel unprepared to build a client base and cite little formal training on how to develop business as the main cause.

Book of business

The survey polled 440 lawyers at either Am Law 200 or large foreign firms that had been promoted to partner between 2009 and 2012. Across the board, partners affirmed the importance of business development to their firms, with 38 per cent saying they are accountable for their own book of business, and 52 per cent reporting that they are accountable for having a few clients of their own.
Yet, nearly half of respondents received no formal training in business development before or after their promotion.
One recently promoted partner told the researchers: ‘I’m worried about whether I can develop the type of business and clients that the firm expect, especially in a much more competitive and challenging environment than the environment in which a lot of the current equity partners experienced when they were at my level.’

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