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Networking for Junior Lawyers: the Importance of Business Development

Written by: Evie Courtier | Chadwick Nott
Published on: 4 Dec 2023


  • For the majority of junior lawyers, mastering the law and building expertise in their chosen practice area will be at the forefront of their priorities. Whilst gaining expertise is essential, it’s not the only key to measurable success in private practice.

    Junior lawyers who wish to accelerate the pace and direction of their career would be well advised to get involved in business development (BD) early on. By allocating time to obtaining a strong network both internally and externally, as well as learning how to attract new clients, lawyers can start pathing the way for long-term success.

  • How do you define business development?

    In a legal context, business development refers to the process of establishing relationships with potential clients, leveraging the firm’s existing client relationships and identifying new business opportunities. It's not just about the aspect of selling legal services, it’s about becoming a trusted advisor, who can be called upon to help clients navigate complex legal issues and achieve their goals.

  • Why is business development important for lawyers?

    In today’s competitive legal market, it’s essential for those working in lawyer jobs to stand out from their peers. It’s about attracting the right clientele, and presenting yourself as the go-to expert, who can provide valuable insights and advice, as a trusted professional. By establishing yourself in the business development field early on, lawyers can start building these relationships and demonstrating their value to potential clients. With time, you will start to grow an established reputation within your sector.

    Just like external partnerships, it’s essential for newly-qualified lawyers to network internally within their firm. Building relationships with those in senior partner jobs, or fellow lawyers, allows junior employees to access valuable mentorship, understanding the basis of developing a successful legal career.

  • Cross-selling and career advancement:

    For junior lawyers working in large-scale private practice firms, business development presents the opportunity to aid cross-selling for other departments. By leveraging an understanding of the client's business and legal needs, junior lawyers can introduce clients to other legal professionals within the firm, expanding the scope of work, generating more revenue company-wide, and aiding repeat business.

    Prioritising the best interests of the firm is a key factor in standing out and attracting the attention of partners. Demonstrating a clear understanding of business objectives and a strong commitment to achieving them, presents you as a valuable asset to the firm.

  • Top business development tips:

    • Build relationships with experienced lawyers across the firm. Learn from their expertise and get involved in pitches and other business development initiatives.
    • Attend networking events and industry conferences. Connect with potential clients and industry professionals.
    • Build your personal brand across social media, connect with potential clients, and demonstrate yourself as a leader in your field.
    • Offer value in the form of events, presentations, free legal resources, or other market insights that demonstrate your expertise and add value for clients.