5 Tips for Successful Joining

5 Tips for Successful Joining


Most young lawyers have been told by a gray-haired mentor to “join something” to start their business development efforts. Ever wonder if you’ve joined the right group or club? Here are five basic tenets that underlie successful “joining.”


Most young lawyers have been told by a gray-haired mentor to join something to start their business development efforts. Many lawyers who followed that advice eventually wonder if they joined the right group or club, and how to evaluate the time and effort they put into an organization.
Here are the five basic tenets that underlie successful “joining.” Follow them to make sure you make the most of your own time and your law firm’s marketing dollars.

1. Join a group in which you have a real interest. If you love animals, join the humane society. Dont join the cancer league just because the firm got a letter seeking a lawyer as a board memberunless you have a genuine interest in the disease. If you arent interested in the industry or community issues addressed by the group, or in the cause supported by the non-profit, your lack of genuine motivation will quickly become apparent to those you meet. Non-lawyers use anecdotal qualitiestimeliness, commitment and follow-through to determine your legal acumen and how you would handle their matter. If youre not truly motivated about the group you joined, you will make impressions about your client service and legal abilities that are the opposite of what you intended.

2. Attend group meetings religiously. If you don’t, you will not meet people frequently enough to make a lasting impression. If you miss more than three monthly meetings in one year, you might as well have skipped them all. People who do get to know you will often wait until a meeting they expect you to attend to pass along information or a referral. Miss the meeting and you miss out.

3. Get on a working committee and take a leadership position. This lets you establish credibility with prospects and referral sources as you work on projects. It also can provide contacts within the bounds of solicitation rules. A health care lawyer we know heads a trade group membership committee. Her job is to call all newly-hired hospital and clinic executivesperfect prospects for her serviceson behalf of the trade group to invite them as her personal guest to the next monthly meeting.

4. Evaluate the members and culture of the overall group and your working committee. Confirm that they joined the group to network and that business development is accepted, if not expected. There are groups that openly discourage marketing. Avoid them.

5. After a few years, leave the group and find a new one. Key remaining group members who know you well will represent your business development interests after youre gone. You will feel the point of diminishing returns. Thats when you move to a new group and start the process over again. [1]



  1. Bob Weiss is president of Alyn-Weiss and Associates, Inc., a Denver-based marketing consulting group which has worked with both corporate, transactional and defense firms and contingent fee practices nationwide for more than 20 years.

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