The Business Development Institute is an online business development training course that provides legal marketers with the knowledge, confidence, and resources that drive successful BD initiatives. The upcoming semester will show participants how to coach lawyers to become more effective business developers with their existing clients.


Over 95% of our past participants recommend this program as a professional development resource for legal marketers.


Business Development Training for Legal Marketers

Learn how to coach lawyers more effectively


Business development coach delivering training to classroomAccording to BTI Consulting, it is 10 times easier to acquire a new matter from an existing client than from a new prospect. And yet, most lawyers struggle to realize the full cross-sell and up-sell potential of their client base.

This semester of BDI will show participants how they can become better coaches to the lawyers who struggle with this client development opportunity.

BDI will actively engage in a series of five webinars covering a range of topics on coaching lawyers to develop new business from existing clients. The program also includes an optional networking event that offers all BDI participants and graduates the opportunity to develop a peer network and take advantage of a discussion forum for sharing best practices. The program will impart actionable insights on the following topics:

  • Client Team Plans
  • Productive Conversations with Key Clients
  • Motivating the Lawyer: Inspiring Buy-in in a Change-Resistant Environment
  • The Sales Cycle: Mastering the Conversation from Introduction to Close

Enrollment in BDI entitles participants to the following:

  • Access to all 4 webinars, the final capstone session, and an invitation to the annual Alumni Event
  • Access to select training tutorials from Practice Boomers, the award-winning business development training curriculum
  • An official certificate of completion that can be added to participants’ resumes and LinkedIn profiles
  • Access to the alumni directory for ongoing peer networking and idea exchange

The cost of the program is $750.

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Who should attend?

This program is ideal for early-to-mid level marketing or business development professionals. Our business development training focuses on imparting BD tools and strategies that are relevant to any professional tasked with overseeing business development initiatives or training lawyers in business development. Each session incorporates feedback and engagement, so BDI participants will come away from the program equipped with personalized strategies that are relevant and actionable at their respective firms.

Program Curriculum

Sessions 1, 2, 3, and 5 are available recorded and on-demand. Sessions 4 takes place on February 15th from 10-11am PST/1-2pm EST. Details for the Alumni Networking Event will be provided soon.

The program is designed to accommodate a busy schedule so if you can not attend all of the sessions recordings will be made available for your review. All of the assignments are reasonable in scope and we provide ample time between sessions to complete them. Assignments typically include:

  • Watching video lessons from the Practice Boomers curriculum
  • Working independently or with a lawyer at your firm to implement sample components of a BD plan
  • Completing short writing assignments related to the session subject matter
  • Coming to each session prepared to discuss the BD initiatives at your firm
  • Completing a final assessment questionnaire at the end of the program



David Ackert, PresidentDavid Ackert, MA, is the President of The Ackert Advisory and a mentor to high-achieving professionals in the legal, corporate, finance, and accounting sectors. David has advised hundreds of lawyers, CEOs and professional-services executives on overcoming business development and marketing challenges.
He has developed and implemented business development programs for countless firms, from AmLaw 100s to local boutiques. Widely recognized as an e-learning pioneer in the legal field, David is the founder of Practice Boomers, a business development e-learning program and two-time winner of the Legal Marketing Associations “Your Honor Award.” He is also the founder of Practice Pipeline, a pipeline management software platform that incorporates business development coaching. The combination of technology and coaching has become a hallmark of his programs.


David Cross, VP of Coaching and Development

Darryl Cross, MBA, is the Vice President of Performance Coaching and Development at LexisNexis and Senior Advisor at the Ackert Advisory. He is responsible for sales training, developing coaches and creating high performers for a 1500 person, international sales force generating $1.5 billion in annual sales from the legal, corporate, government and academic sectors. Darryl is a highly sought after inspirational speaker on high performance, coaching and maximizing profitability. He has spoken to over 10,000 fee earners and business executives from over 100 countries. Darryl has served as a TEDx speaker coach and helps others create lasting impact on audiences. Darryl’s direct experience in professional service organizations includes his service as the Chief Marketing Officer and member of the Executive Committee of a law firm. During his tenure, he was awarded the Marketing Partner Forum’s Excellence in Marketing Award, for “Creating a Sales Culture at a Law Firm.” He was also a finalist for the 2003 U.S. Marketing Director of the Year and 2004 Marketing Initiative of the Year.

Darryl is a member of the international Board of Directors for the Legal Marketing Association (LMA). He has also served on the Board of Directors for the Virginia, Chicago and Mid-Atlantic chapters.

He is an internationally known author on the subjects of marketing, competitive intelligence, CRM, social media, high stakes sales and sustained high performance.


Jeanne Hammerstrom is the Chief Marketing Officer at Benesch and brings 27 years of legal marketing experience to her post. Jeanne has firm wide responsibility for marketing, communications, practice development, and oversees a staff of business development, public relations, advertising, event planning and other professionals. She also participates in the firm’s Executive Committee, Strategic Growth Committee and Client Service Committee.

Under Jeanne’s leadership, Benesch was ranked the highest of any non-AmLaw 200 firm in the country by Marketing the Law Firm’s 2012 national ranking list, “The Eighth Annual MLF 50: The Top 50 Law Firms in Marketing and Business Development.” Benesch ranked fourth overall and was the only non-AmLaw 200 firm in the top five.*   In 2015 Benesch received a first place award in Practice Management for its Client Onboarding Program and a second place award for its Data Privacy & Security collateral at the Legal Marketing Association (LMA) Annual Conference.  Additionally, the marketing/business development team has received a number of awards at the Annual LMA Conference including Interactive Media, Competitive Intelligence and for its Shale Initiative. Benesch also has been the recipient of the Communicators Award of Excellence for Law and Legal Services for the Benesch website

Active in the legal industry, Jeanne is a Fellow of the College of Law Practice Management. She is a former President of the International Legal Marketing Association (LMA), Chair of LMA’s 2009 Annual Conference and a past-President of LMA’s Pittsburgh Chapter.  She is a frequent speaker and writer for the legal marketing industry.


Terence (Terry) D. Williams is the Global Director of Strategic Pricing at Hogan Lovells. He joined the firm in December 2015 as Managing Pricing Director of the Americas before assuming his current role in November 2016.  Prior to joining Hogan Lovells, he was with AIG where served as Vice President and Deputy Director of Legal Strategies in their Legal Operations Center. In this role, Terry was responsible for the design and implementation of global legal strategies focused on legal process, cost efficiency, and qualitative outcomes. He additionally served as Staff Counsel Executive and Chief Counsel during his time at AIG.


Previously, Terry worked as a Managing Attorney at Shur, McDuffie, Williams & Morgan and as a Partner at Crim & Bassler in Atlanta. Terry holds a J.D. from Emory University School of Law and B.A. from McGill University.



Read the biographies of our Faculty Emeritus

BDI Certification


The Ackert Advisory offers professionals the opportunity to expand their professional development credentials by becoming a certified BDI graduate. This certification can be added to their resume and LinkedIn page, demonstrating their mastery of the core principles of training and strategy essential to effective performance in a business development role. Certification is valid for two years.

Over 100 AmLaw firms have enrolled their marketers in the Business Development Institute.


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Bespoke Programs

We offer bespoke programs that can be customized as a series of webinars, a full-day retreat onsite at your firm, or various other formats.

Contact us if you would like to discuss a bespoke program for the marketers at your firm.



  • What does it cost? $750 per registrant for the entire 3 month program. Group discounts are available.
  • What if I can’t attend all parts of BDI? All sessions will be offered to participants on-demand. 
  • If I can’t attend all parts of BDI, will I still obtain certification? All BDI offerings are recorded and posted on secure pages which can be accessed in case you are unable to attend a session. You may earn your certificate by reviewing the recordings, completing the assignments and completing the final assessment.
  • How long will my certification be valid? Because the legal landscape is rapidly changing, BDI certifications will be valid for 2 years. After 2 years they may be re-instated by enrolling in BDI again at a special alumni discount.

Register for BDI


Membership in the Business Development Institute is limited to ensure that each session is are engaging, relevant and high-value. If you feel that you or someone at your firm would benefit from participating in BDI, click the link below to reserve your seat. The total cost of the program is $750.

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Have questions? Contact Olivia Cowenhoven ( to discuss how BDI can benefit you and your firm.