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Baseball and client development for lawyers

Doing a four day four city four game baseball road trip with my three boys this last week reminded me how baseball binds so many people. We covered 2,800 miles seeing two Cubs games and two minor league games spending every waking hour together (and sleeping four to a room).

Reminded me how baseball truly is the ‘one constant’ as described by James Earl Jones in telling Kevin Costner that people will come from all over to Costner’s ‘Field of Dreams.’

The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It’s been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt, and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game, is part of our past, Ray. It reminds us of all that once was good, and that could be again. Oh, people will come, Ray. People will most definitely come.

It took all of about two minutes after tweeting about sitting on the wall at Pinacle Park in Des Moines Monday night for me to get a reply from Des Moine Attorney, LexBlog client, and baseball fan, Rush Nigut.

Rush also immediately responded last year when I tweeted about a rookie catcher from Wrigley Field (where I was with my whole family). Rush shared that the rookie catcher was his family’s favorite player after he caught the opening pitch thrown by his two boys when the catcher was in the minor leagues the year prior. Received new work from Rush the next week. ;)

I tweeted from Wrigley Field this Tuesday night that I didn’t want to say out loud that Chicago Cub’s pitcher Rich Harden was taking a perfect game (no hits, no one on base) into the sixth inning. Knowing baseball tradition is not to mention a pitcher has a no hitter for fear of jinxing him, I must have received a dozen twitter replies, mostly from legal professionals, that I had jinxed Harden and the Cubs. The Cubs did lose in twelve innings.

These twitter exchanges reminded me how Portland IP Attorney Craig Bachman answered an audience member’s question at Lane Powell’s social media seminar last month. Asked who he follows on the Internet via blogs and Twitter for practice and client development, Craig first said he was interested in baseball, cycling, and certain technology matters. Craig continued that it made sense for him to follow people with similar interests. The reason being that he’d likely hit off with those folks.

I’m sitting back in my chair next to Craig thinking that’s the most simple concept in the world. Engage others with similar interests.

But so many lawyers and legal professionals try to force the issue of networking through the Internet for practice and client development. They’re off chasing instant connections with people who they think may be the perfect client. Worse yet, they’re doing it by broadcasting stuff of little value to their target audience via email newsletters, websites, and ill written blogs. Often touting their own virtues.

Craig started following me on the net in large part because of my interest in baseball. Not only did I get an invite to speak at that seminar for Northwest corporate leaders, but Lane Powell is likely to become a client of LexBlog’s (knock on wood).

I love baseball and all the history that comes with it. You love other stuff. It doesn’t matter what it is. Start following and networking with others with similar interests. Just because you’re a lawyer doesn’t mean you have to network through the Internet with the law being the overriding theme. You can relax and have some fun while doing client development.

Caddying at the local country club growing up I saw lots of lawyers. Never heard a lick of law. They just enjoyed playing golf as well as the card and dice games in the grill afterwards. All the while those lawyers were engaging others with a similar interest. Those ‘others’ just happened to be local business people and physicians.

Practicing law in the same town years later my partner was a member of the same country club. He got lots of work from local business people (transactional and litigation) and physicians (real estate and estate plannning) who were fellow members of the club.

This partner seemed to enjoy his client development efforts much more than the rest of us in the firm. And why not? He was just doing what he enjoyed and engaging others with like interests.

People hire and buy from people they like. People like to deal with people they interact with on a regular basis. Non-lawyers like to interact with lawyers on matters other than the law.

Networking through the net can be a lot of fun. Follow those with similar interests. Interact with them on legal and non-legal matters. Work will follow.