2018 Winners – Business Development: Coaching/Training/Planning 

First Place


Baker Donelson Business Development App

Allen Matkins-Website.png

Summary: Baker Donelson's broader strategic objective for its business development app was to provide attorneys quick access to "just-in-time" resources that aid them in their in-person client development efforts. In addition, the firm had three key marketing goals: help attorneys execute better quality client visits, capture and track more client visit data, and achieve greater administrative efficiencies.

Read more.

An app was the most cost-effective and innovative solution to achieve these stated goals. Baker Donelson put a strong and steady emphasis on making more and better quality client visits. A quality visit involves preparation and a thoughtful approach, but in-person client development is often spur-of-the-moment. The app provides immediate and consistent information to better arm attorneys for those moments. Baker Donelson's attorneys record visits in a database where the firm tracks and measures the data. Although 2,000 visits were recorded last year, the firm suspects many are not being logged. In an effort to capture more visits, they developed an app function that allows attorneys to log visits efficiently from their phones. The firm also developed functions that improve administrative processes. An attorney can quickly submit a reimbursement request by attaching photos of expense receipts from their mobile device. Accounting receives the requests directly for processing. Attorneys can also request client research on the app.

All employees received the April 3 launch communication. Baker Donelson's email analytics:

  • Open rate: 25 percent
  • Click-through rate: 9 percent
  • Total clicks: 12 percent (all above firm average for internal communications)

The app analytics from April 3 – December 1 (for reference, Baker Donelson has 750 attorneys, and the app is only for iOS users):

  • 93 users visited more than one app page
  • Average of 3-5 active users weekly
  • 1,196 total app page views
  • 125 client visits logged, representing 25.9 percent of all firm visits logged during the same period
  • 100 reimbursements submitted

Sample feedback quote from department chair in an email to the department: "I want to recommend to you the BD App. I was skeptical about using it, but after my first test, I'm sold and now use it exclusively. Not only to submit my real-time, client visit information as soon as the meeting concludes, but I also use it to submit reimbursements. It also seems that reimbursements are processed more quickly through the app."

Honorable Mention

Goulston & Storrs

Collaboration and Revenue-Generation Initiative

Baker Donelson - Website Picture.png


Goulston & Storrs had a goal of increasing sales skills, discipline and commitment to collaboration and revenue generation among attorneys.

Read more.

The department focused on deploying:

  • A group of rainmakers as the Sales Task Force
  • Providing one-on-one coaching and implementing technology to track clients, prospects and referral sources
  • Workshops and group meetings among peers to create collaboration and pursuit teams
  • Outside experts to provide individual coaching to three well-chosen partners who became the personal coaches to other partners

Goulston & Storrs Partner, Chair of the Sales Task Force, Finance Chair, and Rainmaker Phil Herman commented that the Business Development Department has, “...taught attorneys to use the existing culture of collaboration as a powerful tool in the marketplace. The department has also been instrumental in changing the firm’s culture to become more externally focused.” The firm significantly increased the total number of touchpoints with clients, prospects and referral sources through the following:

  • Identifying seasoned partners to help subject-matter experts sell niche legal services, resulting in client conversions
  • Establishing ongoing learning opportunities for attorneys regarding the sales process, including classes and real-life illustrations
  • Getting attorneys to set aside time for sales and relationship building on “Sales Call Wednesdays”
  • Converting leads with brainstorming support from all partners