My mother is a lawyer. I had a somewhat unusual upbringing. From the time I was little, she would occasionally quote Roscoe Pound, the famous jurist and Dean of Harvard Law School, who she said said:" "The law must be stable, and yet it cannot stand still." As I said, unusual upbringing. And Dean Pound's observation also applies to business development.
In his blog In Search of Perfect Client Service, Patrick Lamb wrote an excellent post providing yet another reason for buisness development: change.
Quoting Seth Godin, Lamb makes the point that there are two kinds of people in the world -- those who love change, and those who hate it. The latter group tends to shun business development. Just yesterday, I was talking with a marketing director at a firm here in San Francisco, who regularly battles with attorneys who literally tell her they don't want new business. Those are people who really dislike change, a lot.
Which is fine, except that the world does not stand still. The market, the competition, your clients, the law itself, changes constantly. Your current clients may not exist in five years.
A concrete example. This morning, I vaccummed the floors using a Dyson vacuum cleaner. This company, or at least the business unit that manufactured and sold vacuum cleaners, did not exist ten years ago. Now, they sell something like $700 million worth of vacuums annually. This is a new company, and I guarantee they retain a lot of attorneys. Someone got that business. And Dyson is not creating a new market -- they're taking market share away from, say, Electrolux. Hoover. And so on.
The point is that by definition, lawyers have clients. The fortunes of the clients are always changing. The way lawyers adapt to that is by developing new business. If you don't, if you hate change, you're hating the inexorable. it's like hating the sunrise. One way or another, it is going to happen, and if you are not out in the market responding to change, if you resist or deny it, you are at its mercy. And that is not a good place to be.