Thursday, February 09, 2006

The Maker, the Keeper, and the Cog

On the Law Marketing listserv today a marketer asked for ideas to get everyone at her firm participating in and reporting on a business development program. My fast answer was the expectation (on the part of her MP) that everyone could be motivated to join in was not realistic…. Even as much as we/I dream for the perfect catalyst to make it happen. Another listserv member chipped in with thoughts on the psychological makeup of attorneys and the low occurrence of natural or willing rainmakers. Since I am impatient with (valid and correct) big words and clinical descriptors I came up with my own set of basic attorney personality types, at least as much as it applies to business and client development.

The Maker (Erectusrainmakerus): These are the charismatic attorneys, and the over achievers who derive personal joy and accomplishment by being out there, making friends, creating connections, developing personal status and seeking external reward. This attorney type accounts for about 10%-15% of the law firm population. They can be counted on to participate in new ideas, generate many ideas of their own, become exasperated with slow movement, and seek leadership and recognition often.

The Keeper (Dependusloyalhandlitic): While not comfortable being in the spotlight, this type is excellent at establishing long-term, extremely loyal clients. They will often state that they are not the best person for creating new opportunities, “but if someone can bring them in, I can ensure they stay.” They are good at entertaining existing clients (that they know) and will, in general, participate in client development programs… As long as those programs involve existing clients only. This is a large group making up more than 70% of the law firm population. And, like any bell curve, this group has some that slide more toward “Maker” characteristics, and some that are closer to “Cogs”.

The Cog (Proficientusclosetdwellerot): Definitely not inclined to interface with prospects OR clients at anytime, no how! Their love of the law is in the law. It’s the work that drives them. Like the unseen gear buried within a giant engine they perform a vital, even critical role in creating great legal effort. In no way is this group interested in external effort because, with great satisfaction, their in-basket is always filled with beautiful work that requires exacting attention. Here is the final 10%-20% of the law firm population. This group, I think, might be the glue that keeps law firms sane.

In creating any marketing initiative for a law, at least for me, it feels incredibly important to understand how each group will react to the program, how they will or won’t participate, and what that action will look like.

OK, your turn. How would you define, in common language, the different personality types among attoneys.