Though many people treat John Crawford like a partner at Texas’ Jackson Walker, there’s no J.D. on his resume. As president of client services, Crawford is one of a growing number of in-house executives who are charged with generating new business for their firms. Call it business development, call it — yes — sales — the bottom line is building relationships. Relationships that will translate, eventually, into business opportunities, says Crawford.

He officially joined the 300-lawyer firm in 2004, but Crawford’s relationship with Jackson Walker dates back to 1998, when he was hired as a consultant to help the firm’s marketing efforts — particularly to raise Jackson Walker’s profile in Texas. By 2004, he was spending about 80 percent of his time with the firm, and management wanted Crawford to be clearly perceived as its representative — so it made sense to join Jackson Walker full time, he says.

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