Peruse our topics below or review a list of our representative engagements.

Click any of the links below to jump to a topic section.

Business Development: Advanced
Business Development for Litigators
Personal Branding Techniques
How to Improve ROI at Conferences and Trade Shows
Effective Client Site Visits
The Intersection of Business Development and Personal Integrity
Improving Succession and Business Development at the Law Firm
Presentation Skills that Grow Your Practice
Fee Negotiation Strategies
Pipeline Strategies for Effective Targeting
Calibrating Business Development Initiatives for Optimal ROI
Using Gamification to Accelerate Your Initiatives
Taking a Forward-Looking Approach to New Business

Business Development: Associates
Business Development Strategies for Associates
Laying a Strong Business Development Foundation

Business Development: Motivation
How to Motivate Lawyers to Make Rain
How to Design and Implement a Business Development Intensive
How to Create a Personal Business Development Plan

Business Development: Networking
Selling to Your Friends: How to Leverage Personal Contacts Without Compromising Trust
How to Increase Referral Business
Harnessing the Full Potential of a Professional Network

Business Development: Pitching
Navigating the Pitch: How to Influence a Prospective Client to Engage
Follow Up Techniques that Close the Deal
Cross Selling Made Easy

Bridge the Gap Between CRM and New Business

How to Use the 80/20 Rule to Increase Efficiency and Profitability

Social Media
Don’t Get LinkedOut: Optimize your LinkedIn Profile for Better Business Results
Ethics in Social Media: Promote your Practice Properly

Business Development: Advanced

Business Development for Litigators
Litigator Business Development

Trial lawyers have unique challenges when it comes to developing a consistent pipeline of new clientele. In this program we will focus on the rainmaking techniques that are best-suited to litigators.

  • Learn how to overcome the “feast or famine” dynamic that often occurs in a litigator’s practice
  • Discover little-used techniques that grant you access to the people that will help you secure new matters
  • Find out how you can harness a network of loyal referral sources inside and outside your firm
  • Learn how to mitigate the factors that can prevent new prospects from engaging you
  • Identify the practical takeaways you can implement effectively and efficiently immediately after the program

Personal Branding Techniques
Personal Brand

In today’s dynamic marketplace, a generic personal brand is an invitation to be overlooked and commoditized. Learn how to position yourself so that your unique value proposition stands out and your interactions generate business opportunities.

  • Develop an “elevator pitch” that expresses your services memorably
  • Create a compelling personal brand that suits your personality and expertise
  • Distinguish yourself from others in your field

How to Improve ROI at Conferences and Trade Shows
Lawyers at Conference

Conferences and trade shows are considerable investments of time and money, which is why it’s critical to devise a strategy that will make the most of the opportunity.

  • Learn how to target tangible outcomes from your attendance
  • Identify the right people to meet
  • Find out how to track the business opportunities available to you at the event
  • Learn how to turn the people you meet into new clients and referral sources

Effective Client Site Visits
Lawyers Building Rapport at Client Site

Firms invest a substantial sum to send lawyers to client sites, and with good reason. An effective visit can often result in a deeper relationship with the client, a cross-sell, or an opportunity to ask for new business. But without the proper techniques, lawyers may squander the full potential of their face-time with their clients.

  • Learn how to prepare for the client site visit so as to maximize the firm’s cross-selling potential
  • Learn which questions to ask so as to generate new matters from your clients
  • Identify the strategies that will ensure that every client site visit yields a benefit to the firm, regardless of whether or not they engage you for more work

The Intersection of Business Development and Personal IntegrityPersonal Integrity and Business Development

As much as we try to conduct ourselves professionally and to keep the promises we make to others, we often fall short when it comes to the promises we make to ourselves. Most of our business development shortcomings can be tracked to a plan or intention that we failed to implement. We console ourselves with mediocre excuses that we would never pose to a client or colleague. As a result, our reputation among our peers remains unblemished even as we consistently disappoint ourselves. This program will examine…

  • Why it is so easy to violate the agreements we make with ourselves
  • How to hold ourselves to the same standards we expect from others
  • How to improve follow-through and implementation for better business results
  • How to set goals we can actually accomplish

Improving Succession and Business Development at the Law FirmDiscussion of Business Development and Improvement

Law firms expecting to thrive in today’s competitive landscape must develop the next generation of leaders to fill the shoes of retiring rainmakers. But whether the intention is to transition books of business through succession or to originate new clients, myriad obstacles can complicate and even impede a productive evolution. In this program we bring back one of our most popular speakers, David Ackert, to discuss:

  • How to develop an effective succession plan
  • How to navigate the generational differences for better alignment at the firm
  • How to structure a mentorship program that nurtures the next generation of leadership
  • How to shift unproductive mindsets, and ultimately, firm culture

Presentation Skills that Grow Your Practice
Public speaking is one of the most effective ways to demonstrate expertise and market yourself to new audiences. But most presenters use a dull lecture format with little audience engagement and even fewer business development outcomes. This program will show you how to use your next presentation to garner fans and referrals for your practice.

  • Discover techniques that improve your ability to engage the audience and increase your speaking confidence
  • Overcome anxieties related to public speaking
  • Learn to better prepare for your next panel appearance or CLE presentation
  • Master the art of mining for business opportunities in your audience

Fee Negotiation Strategies

Every year, law firms raise their rates but clients react by simply demanding deeper discounts. Thomson Reuters’ latest Peer Monitor survey illustrates this realization trend with the increasing gap between the steadily ascending standard rate (the grey line) and the relatively flat dollars collected (the orange line). In this seminar you will learn:

  • Negotiation techniques that protect the firm’s profit margin
  • When to introduce AFAs into a client negotiation
  • Various AFA structures (fixed, flat, capped, collared, blended, holdbacks, etc.)
  • How to create win/win fee structures

Pipeline Strategies for Effective Targeting
When it comes to business development, lawyers often tackle too many priorities at once or struggle to follow through on the few that require their proactive attention. In this interactive program, we will present a series of strategies law firms can use to build and maintain focused, achievable pipelines for a more targeted approach to new revenue.
Strategies include:
  • Defining the profile of a worthwhile business opportunity
  • Identifying the characteristics of a synergistic relationship
  • Understanding and applying the “sales funnel” and “reverse funnel” concepts
  • Deepening relationships with prospective clients so as to increase the likelihood of engagement
  • Applying a proactive, consistent follow-through routine to business pursuits

Calibrating Business Development Initiatives for Optimal ROI

In this interactive program we provide an overview of our latest market-wide study on the ROI marketing departments receive from their various expenditures. We then facilitate a dialogue so that attendees can weigh in on their ROI challenges and opportunities. We invariably find that many of the initiatives that consume limited marketing/BD budgets are the least effective at driving new revenue. We also explore the changes firms will need to make in order to rise above the current landscape of lackluster growth.Topics include:

  • Understand which initiatives are most and least profitable for small, mid-sized, and large firms
  • Discover how to calibrate your BD resources to the practices that need them most
  • Learn how to structure programs that improve traction for key initiatives (e.g. cross-selling and client site visits)
  • Compare market-wide ROI trends to the current experiences of your local peers

Using Gamification to Accelerate Your Initiatives
Research shows that people don’t change their behavior because you tell them to – even when it is in their best interest. The latest marketwide survey shows that accountability is the top BD problem law firms face.
There is another way – gamification. Gamification combines the mechanics of what makes games so alluring and applies those mechanics deliberately to encourage people to change their behavior in ways that support business objectives. And with the coming of age of Millennials and Gen Z, gamification is more relevant than ever.
In this interactive workshop, you will:
  • Learn the behavioral science behind gamification – why it works and how to apply it
  • Explore several gamified projects designed to accelerate behavior change in lawyers, marketing staff, and other professionals
  • Apply the Werbach & Hunter 6D Gamification Framework to your own project that you will tackle as a small group
  • See first-hand how gamification can accelerate your initiatives

Gamification is serious business. Make it yours.

Taking a Forward-Looking Approach to New Business
Historically, lawyers and their firms track their success using lagging indicators such as revenue, realization, hours billed, and matters won. But these metrics help you understand how you got to where you are. They don’t tell you where you’re going. In this interactive program, we examine the leading indicators that signal new revenue. They include business development metrics, client feedback scores, and referral activity. Through this program, we help law firms identify the data points that are most important to the future of their practices, so they can forecast the likelihood of their success. We also examine some of the burgeoning industries where future business opportunities lie and help lawyers align their areas of expertise, so they can demonstrate that their practices are relevant today, and ready for tomorrow. Discover:
  • Which indicators can help you navigate your firm through today’s uncertain landscape
  • How to capture and understand key metrics so that your business decisions are based on data, not guesswork
  • How to niche and position your practice so that it takes advantage of emerging trends

Business Development: Associates

Business Development Strategies for Associates
Business Development Strategies

Associates face unique challenges when it comes to business development. Between time pressures and limited access to decision-makers, it can be difficult to know where to invest one’s energy so as to seed the right opportunities.

  • Discover how mentors can become a key asset to success
  • Find out how to match business development activities to the individual associate’s personality
  • Learn BD strategies that produce meaningful results with minimal effort
  • Identify relationship management techniques that nurture the potential opportunities in your existing network

Laying a Strong Business Development Foundation
Building a strong business development foundation

It takes several years to develop a meaningful book of business. But when associates lay the foundation early in their career, they gain a critical advantage over less ambitious competitors. This requires adopting a business-development mindset, developing meaningful expertise, establishing credibility in the business community, and building the relationships that will eventually comprise key clients and referral sources. Each of these components, when approached strategically, accelerate business development momentum so that associates can attract clients to their practices as quickly as possible.

In this one-hour interactive program, participants will discover how to:

  • Adopt a business development mindset
  • Build a professional network efficiently
  • Identify mentors in the business community
  • Establish a positive professional reputation

The strategies and techniques offered through this program are practical and actionable.

Business Development: Motivation

How to Motivate Lawyers to Make Rain
Lawyer motivation for practice development

When it comes to the successful marketing and business development activities that generate new matters for their firms, many lawyers are unsure of the steps to take or dissatisfied with the steps they are currently taking. As a result, they are frustrated or reluctant when it comes to business development initiatives.

  • Understand why lawyers are frustrated with business development and reluctant to market
  • Find out how to match business development activities to the individual lawyer’s personality
  • Learn which techniques shift lawyers’ attitudes and behaviors
  • Find out which strategies produce the best results with minimal effort

How to Design and Implement a Business Development Intensive
BD coaching, training, development, improvement

For many firms, business development coaching and training initiatives are limited to ad hoc meetings between billable hours without much formal structure, accountability or long-term effectiveness. But implementing an effective Business Development Intensive can provide essential skills and create lasting behavioral changes that make the most of marketing resources and result in a greater return for the firm.

  • Learn how to tailor a program that leverages the individual strengths of its participants
  • Find out why a multi-modal approach yields better results
  • Identify the metrics that will show you leading indicators to monetary returns
  • Discover how to establish buy-in from participating lawyers
  • Learn the difference between consulting and coaching and when to use each approach

How to Create a Personal Business Development Plan

Legal professional building marketing plan

This interactive seminar begins with the monetary goals you intend to achieve and shows you the steps you’ll need to take to get there. Participants will leave the program with a high-level business development plan that they can implement immediately.

  • Identify realistic, measurable goals
  • Tailor realistic strategies that play to your strengths
  • Establish a timeline that keeps you on track

Business Development: Networking

Selling to Your Friends: How to Leverage Personal Contacts Without Compromising Trust
Finding Direction towards development and growth

Oftentimes the business potential in our personal relationships remains untapped because we do not know how to comfortably broach the topic of client development. In this program, you will discover communication techniques that allow you to explore professional opportunities naturally without jeopardizing your reputation or damaging your relationships.

  • Learn how to assess the referral potential of your friends and clients without directly asking them for business
  • Discover 5 techniques that subtly introduce business development into an informal conversation without creating awkwardness
  • Learn how to motivate passive referral sources
  • Improve your ability to attract referrals from your best contacts

Your best contacts will be far more likely to help you when you learn how to initiate business conversations with ease and efficacy.

How to Increase Referral Business
Increase referral business

Traditional networking is a highly inefficient activity. It’s often little more than a string of business lunches and mixers and meetings that all promise an occasional referral. But it can be leveraged effectively for a substantial return on the time and money you invest. The techniques in this seminar will show you how.

  • Learn what to do and say to make networking groups pay off quickly
  • Navigate business lunches systematically for deeper relationships and better results
  • Learn the follow-up strategies that replace arbitrary “keep me in mind” intentions into proactive business referrals

Harnessing the Full Potential of a Professional Network
Building professional network

While many lawyers have extensive professional networks, few have an effective system that captures the full business potential of their relationships. As a result, prospects and opportunities tend to slip through the cracks. This program provides practical tools and techniques that allow lawyers to identify their key relationships, nurture them efficiently, and capture the business potential therein.

  • Learn how to identify the high-potential opportunities in your professional network
  • Understand how to initiate contact with the people just beyond your inner circle
  • Attract more referrals from your contacts
  • Discover how to identify and remain focused on the people who can contribute the most to the growth of your practice

Business Development: Pitching

Navigating the Pitch: How to Influence a Prospective Client to EngageBuilding confidence in pitching and bd

When meeting with a prospective client, how do you introduce yourself so that your services pique their interest? How do you pitch yourself and your firm so that you sound more compelling than your competitors? And how do you win their business?
In today’s crowded and highly competitive market, clients are sophisticated. They want more than assurances. They are no longer satisfied with pedigree and reputation. But they do engage when they hear a compelling pitch. This requires not only an understanding of their business, but a facility with the practical and emotional drivers that influence the client’s decision-making process.
In this interactive program, you will improve your facility with the six distinct phases of a business development dialogue. They include:

  1. The introduction (or elevator speech)
  2. Building rapport
  3. Identifying the client’s business pain points
  4. Proposing a reasonable solution
  5. Overcoming client objections
  6. Asking for the business

The program will also cover the follow-up techniques required to secure business from undecided prospects.

Follow Up Techniques that Close the DealClosing the Business Deal
Given all the time and effort that goes into pursuing prospective clients and referral source relationships, it is essential for a lawyer to have effective follow-through. Yet most lawyers shy away from the direct and persistent outreach required to close the deal. In this program, David Ackert will present practical techniques that bring productive closure to a productive business development dialogue without creating an “awkward moment.”

  • Learn how to shift your mindset so that you are not stuck in a passive dynamic with your prospects
  • Discover value-add techniques that open the door to a candid dialogue
  • Understand ethical but effective closing methodologies that motivate prospective clients into action

Cross Selling Made EasyAttorney looking to business development future

Existing client relationships are typically the best sources for new matters (after all, it’s much easier to acquire new work from an existing client than it is to bring a new client to the firm). But lawyers don’t always know how to broach the topic of new work with an existing client. You can’t just say, “give me another matter,” and you certainly don’t want to come across as desperate or clumsy.

In this interactive workshop, David Ackert will provide simple, conversational launch points that can help you steer a client interaction into a business development opportunity. You will discover:

  • How to skillfully guide a client conversation into business development exploration
  • How to maximize five minutes of business development time with a client
  • How to add value to your client relationships (beyond their immediate legal needs)
  • How to explore cross-selling opportunities (without feeling like a salesperson)


Bridge the Gap Between CRM and New Business

CRM management new business

CRM management is one of the biggest challenges in legal marketing. In spite of the many software options available, law firms struggle to find a solution that will get information out of the lawyers and into a database. But there are effective ways to bridge the gap between your firm’s database and its business results. The presentation will cover the following topics:

  • Insights from the latest market-wide study on the state of CRM at law firms
  • How to set appropriate expectations regarding CRM and the outcomes it can produce for the firm
  • Tools that lawyers can use to manage their BD activities easily and efficiently
  • Best practices that make the most of your CRM’s capabilities


How to Use the 80/20 Rule to Increase Efficiency and Profitability80/20 Rule of Efficiency and Probability

While many lawyers have heard of the 80/20 rule, few have structured their practices to take advantage of it. This program will show you how to sharpen your focus on the 20% of activities and disciplines that maximize your business results. Specifically, you will learn how to…

  • Identify and minimize the inefficiencies in your practice
  • Implement time management systems that increase your potential billable time
  • Spend less of your energy on low-grade clients so you can orient your practice around the work you enjoy
  • Organize your workday for optimal productivity
  • Delegate work more effectively
  • Spend less of your day in your email inbox
  • Communicate with staff and clients more succinctly

If working harder is not an option, working smarter is the only alternative. Use the 80/20 rule to build a smarter practice.

Social Media

Don’t Get LinkedOut: Optimize your LinkedIn Profile for Better Business ResultsSocial Media building on Linkedin

According to the latest ABA study, over 78% of business decision-makers review a lawyer’s LinkedIn profile before engaging her for a new matter. We live in an era when social media is a critical component to our professional success. And yet, many lawyers are unaware of the LinkedIn pitfalls that influence the decisions of prospective clients. In this interactive program you will discover:

  • Which ABA rules apply to your LinkedIn presence
  • What specific changes you need to make to your profile page to maximize business potential
  • How to avoid inadvertently discouraging new business from the 78% of prospects who review your LinkedIn page
  • How to gain social media advantage over your competitors
  • How to leverage content and groups for more business

What you don’t know may be a significant impediment to your success. Learn how your online CV can market your services more effectively.

Ethics in Social Media: Promote your Practice ProperlyUsing Social Media for Prospecting

Most firms use social media for general announcements, content distribution and other one-to-many endeavors. Very few harness its power to target decision-makers and initiate a productive one-on-one business development dialogue. In this program you will learn how to…

  • Ethically establish contact with industry influencers and prospective clients
  • Use social media platforms to revitalize the key relationships that have become dormant over time
  • Engage with the power-players in your network
  • Balance low-touch social media with high-touch conversations for an optimal use of time and energy
  • Minimize lawyers’ unproductive social media activity

Contact us to schedule a seminar

“The Ackert Advisory created a very effective seminar for my firm that offered two solutions to business development: the first was a high-level client service strategy; the second was a more hands-on, tactical technique which we implemented in the seminar itself. Both proved to be effective in the long term for all of our practice groups.”

Brian Davidoff
Greenberg Glusker