Critical to the success of most investment advisory practices is the sourcing of new and wealthier clients. And one of the most effective ways to accomplish this goal is to create strategic partnerships with private client lawyers.

And when properly motivated—when the financial advisors are providing the economic glue—private client lawyers validate the expertise of their chosen financial advisors, emphasize a personal fit, and “push” their wealthy clients to take action.

A proven methodology for advisors who want to create strategic partnerships with private client lawyers contains two core components:
1. Advisors must ascertain what the professional “style” of a private client lawyer is.

2. The advisor must then provide the economic glue to bind the partnership.

Professional Styles
Based on our research, we have found that private client lawyers serving wealthy clients use one of three professional styles: they can be “technicians,” “rainmakers” or “entrepreneurs.”

These styles suggest the types of legal services these lawyers will provide, the way they provide them and the way their practices operate.
The styles also dictate the types of affluent clients these lawyers work with and the networks of other professionals they partner with.

Most important, these approaches have a direct bearing on how financially successful private client lawyers can be. The average compensation for some styles is significantly greater than it is for others.

Entrepreneurs tend to be fairly creative. They principally use retainer and project-based fees as opposed to the time-plus-expenses compensation model. They work very hard to be the go-to advisor for legal answers as well as many business answers. In this regard, they act as personal advisors to the ultra-wealthy.

Entrepreneurs are the ones leading the charge to create law firm-based multi-family offices. Thus, they are highly inclined to “team up” with high-quality financial advisors who can do a very good job managing money and add value.

Rainmakers are able fairly consistently to bring in new business from current and new high-net-worth clients. They might not personally have all the technical answers or capabilities, but their job is to bring in wealthy clients, and, if appropriate, their partners and associates can do the work. Rainmakers are very motivated to align with financial advisors who can help them increase law firm revenues.

Technicians, which is what most private client lawyers are, may be legally competent but tend to not be particularly adept at business development. Some of them are more inclined to work with financial advisors. On the other hand, a solid percentage of them tend to get wrapped up in what they do, so they are bad candidates for strategic partnerships with financial advisors.

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