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When Greg Lloyd asked attorneys at his firm to write up individual business and marketing plans, one partner there was particularly concise: “I have all the business I need, thank you,” the one-sentence report said. Lloyd has heard it before — “I’m working hard enough; I don’t want more clients,” lawyers tell the director of administration at Cherry Hill, N.J.’s Flaster/Greenberg. As the operations chief of a small outfit with ambitious growth plans, in a part of the state where Philadelphia firms are taking a big chunk of the market, Lloyd has had to force some rethinking among lawyers who tend to liken marketing to selling used cars or vacuum cleaners. “I went to law school to become a professional, not a salesman,” said one. When he assigned partners and associates to examine their own aptitudes and motivations, to write individual and group marketing plans and to share the results with the rest of the firm at a September weekend retreat in Atlantic City, N.J., he encountered resistance. Three or four partners initially refused to take part in the exercises. Some multiplied the number of lawyers by hourly rates to show how much the retreat was costing the firm. He acknowledges that it’s an uphill battle, which is why his mission now is to fight inertia. Set goals for yourselves, he tells his cadres. Take five prospective clients out to lunch in the next month. Hold a seminar and publicize it, even if no one comes. Set up and use a tickler system to follow up on contacts. “The most human thing to do is relax and coast,” Lloyd said. “You can’t coast — you’ll never see anything coast uphill.” As the weekend progressed, resistance wore down, and Lloyd says that many of the original detractors left the retreat pumped up for their new roles as self- and firm promoters. Lawyers at the firm are coming to accept the need for marketing, even if they don’t enjoy it, said managing partner Peter Spirgel, who sends out frequent memos and e-mails to colleagues on the subject of marketing, such as pointing out other firms’ efforts. “All businesses tend to get kind of fat, dumb and happy when times are good,” Spirgel said, “not focus on things like revenue generation and cost control. If you don’t continuously get your name out there, the pipeline is going to empty out.” Lloyd, a Wisconsinite who was hired last May after a nationwide search, has 25 years of management experience with such large law firms as Ruder Ware & Michler in Milwaukee, Raymond & Prokop in Southfield, Mich., and Jenner & Block in Chicago. Though he had trepidation about coming east, he said, he took the job at 35-lawyer Flaster/Greenberg because he liked the firm’s growth strategy, aimed at heading off competition from Philadelphia firms, which calls for doubling in size and becoming a statewide presence. The first step occurred in August, when Flaster/Greenberg acquired Vineland’s four-attorney Riesenburger & Kizner, an environmental boutique. Through a round of lateral transfers in the past year, the firm has made additions to its tax and corporate departments and has expanded its real estate department to seven members. And there are ongoing discussions with firms in Princeton and Philadelphia with an eye toward becoming a regional presence. Having a business plan and marketing strategy helps when interviewing lateral transfer candidates, who often ask about the direction of the firm and who seem impressed when the response is a well-prepared strategy, said Spirgel. Lloyd advises lawyers to sort out what areas of practice they truly enjoy and figure out a way to pursue that work. Some lawyers fall into a particular practice area because their firm needs, for example, a litigator, but don’t enjoy the work. Lawyers who have mastered the career-charting process will become what he calls a “go-to” person in their practice area and will even get calls from headhunters, said Lloyd. “Those who have truly sorted it out realize that as long as I’m not looking for anything that is counter to their best interests, why not,” he said. The attorney who wrote the one-sentence personal business plan, partner Stephen Greenberg, later came around to Lloyd’s way of thinking. Greenberg was asked to make a presentation on marketing plans for the dozen-member corporate tax and estate planning group at the retreat. Greenberg read his colleagues’ writings at home the night before the retreat started. Then, at 3 a.m., he woke up and spent four hours writing his own business plan on his home computer. The next day, it was clear Greenberg’s attitude had shifted 180 degrees. “I said, ‘Stephen, I want to know where the aliens are who sucked your brains out,’ Lloyd said. “He said, ‘I’ve seen the light.’ “ Greenberg said his view changed after he read his colleagues’ plans and they “sort of synthesized” in his mind. “I saw everybody was taking [the planning process] seriously, and that energized me,” Greenberg said. “My feeling was the best marketing plan was to keep my clients happy,” Greenberg said. “You have to take a longer view. Things are good now, but they’re not always going to be good.”

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