Client Origination Credit Essentials: How to Incent Business Development in Law Firms

October 29

With increased competition among law firms, business development has become a top priority. How can law firms incent business development?

The presentation below focuses on how law firm compensation models can encourage business development by rewarding those who bring in the most business. Of particular focus will be the impact and issues involving origination credit.





The presentation breaks down the key issue of client origination credit among the typical client account organization in a law firm:  Originating Attorney, the Billing Attorney and Working Attorneys.  It focuses on an issue that I frequently encounter: 

How much origination credit, if any, a Billing Attorney should receive for his or her role in a client account that he or she did not originate? 


6 Fundamentals to Consider:

  1. Money is only one component of incenting business development.
  2. Sharing origination credit in lieu of actual business development has limited value;
  3. Oversharing of client credit may mask weaknesses and crowd out potentially more talented lawyers;
  4. Awarding credit to those who truly add value to the client relationship will spur growth;
  5. Sharing origination credit is one concept for compensation and another for partnership and promotion;
  6. It’s better to distinguish between sharing profit for a job well done and rewarding for origination.


Client relationships do not last forever. Attorneys with proven business development skills will be more successful in almost all cases.  Since law firms must continue to compete for new business on a constant basis, policies and practices that incent the development of business generation skills are necessary.




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