The Three BD Conversations Every Lawyer Needs to Master

Presentation Review: “Socrates’ Briefcase – The Three BD Conversations Every Lawyer Needs to Master in Today’s Economy” by Steve Hughes, President, Hit Your Stride, LLC

Summary by Ashley Black, Business Development Specialist, Haynes and Boone, LLP

This session focused on helping lawyers turn casual conversation into more meaningful discussions with clients or prospects. The development of these conversations was broken down into three distinct stages: the question, the bridge, and the close.


The dreaded “What do you do?” question. An attorney’s first reaction is to say “I’m a lawyer,” “I’m a litigator,” or “I work for Smith Smith & Smith.” These responses can stop a conversation before it gets started. Lawyers should develop a good “tell me more” statement that helps get the conversation started. The statement should be: short, intriguing, pithy and simple. In developing these statements lawyers should consider the following: reasons why clients come to them, the problems they solve, how they make the world better for their clients, etc. Examples of creative tell me more statements are: “Fraud is my BFF,” “I write prenups for companies,” and “I help power the world.”


The bridge helps turn the small talk into business talk. Figure out what issues and concerns the client is facing. Engage them by using one of the following approaches: clients turn to me when, clients hire us when, clients reach out to me when, or clients look to us when. Remember, the conversation is about them and less about you. Spend the majority of the time in their space.


Lawyers often have a fear of rejection or a lack of confidence when it comes to making a close. The three most common mistakes lawyers make when closing are: 1) never asking, 2) asking too soon, and 3) asking incorrectly. When making a close, lawyers should: be specific, ask a yes or no question, and make it about the client.

This session is not only going to prove to be helpful when coaching lawyers, but I know that I will personally use some of the tactics, especially when trying to explain what I do to individuals outside of the legal marketing industry.

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