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As your career progresses and you consider more senior Partner designate or Partner appointment positions, more likely than not, you will be asked the value of your client following. Now it goes without saying that no following can be set in stone (unless of course it happens to be your family’s business!), however firm’s tend to use this estimated valuation as a yard stick to evaluate your proven track record of business development and to assess financially the value that you will add to their business and logistically whether they can afford to pay you your anticipated remuneration.
Therefore what the firm really wants to see from you is the extent of your network of contacts. As well as clients that keep giving you repeat business, these could be your college friends who are now in influential positions within potential target companies, so think as broadly as possible when compiling your list of potential contacts. It is important to try and put an estimate on the annual work that could be generated from each client following or contact as your potential future employer will be able to see quite quickly whether you are able to cover your costs from the outset and/or whether there is a viable business case to bring you on board. Make sure you include cross departmental referrals too, it might not be work coming in to your desk for you to handle personally, but it is all fees coming into the business as a whole, so put an estimated value on this type of work too.
If you are an in house lawyer at the moment and your resignation, to put it mildly, is going to cause your present company some difficulties, offer to continue to still handle their work, but from your new employers – that way you will not feel too bad about leaving your present employers potentially in the lurch, and you have secured another client! Bringing a potential following or network of contacts could also help you achieve the level of salary you want, particularly if that salary is slightly higher than the specified amount currently budgeted for by the firm you would be joining.
So, a ‘following’ is much broader than people tend to believe and is only really a list of potential contacts that could generate a certain amount of business if they were to move with you. Be optimistic, but realistic, and don’t promise the moon on a stick and then not deliver. Most firms will reduce the potential following figure provided anyway, so don’t err on the side of caution when providing your forecast, as your future employer will do that for you. Once you start thinking in broad terms about your network of contacts, you could well be pleasantly surprised how quickly your personal list of contacts starts to build up.
So, now that you have discovered that you do in fact have a potential personal following, why not give me, Tracy Harris at BCL Legal, a call in strict confidence to see how best you can utilise it? I place solicitors and legal executives at all levels into private practice across the West and South Midlands (Staffordshire, Shropshire, Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Gloucestershire, Warwickshire) and the Thames Valley (Oxfordshire and Berkshire) in a wide range of disciplines to include commercial property, corporate, employment, commercial litigation, property litigation, construction and family law. I look forward to hearing from you shortly to discuss your following’s potential and how it could secure you that dream job.