Guest Post:
How an E-mail Turned Into a Six-Figure Fee (Lee Rosen)

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(Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

Today’s guest post was written by Lee Rosen. You can learn more about him at the end of the post.

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She was looking at the alumni news on the law school website. She’d graduated nearly five years ago and hadn’t been in touch with many of her classmates since graduation.

She’d always liked Erin, but they’d never been close. The alumni note said Erin had been appointed chair of the estate-planning section of her state bar association. The snippet included Erin’s e-mail address.

She took 30 seconds and shot off a congratulatory e-mail: just two sentences plus a quick “keep in touch” above the signature. It wasn’t something she would normally do, but she was feeling social as she thought back to law school.

An hour later, she received a reply from Erin. Erin was going to be nearby next month, so they arranged lunch. The met up at Panera and had salads. The lunch was fun. They caught each other up on the classmates they were still talking to and hearing about.

She was glad she’d sent that short e-mail a few weeks earlier.

How Casual Lunches Pay Off

Six weeks went by before she heard from Erin again, and when she did, it wasn’t about gossip. Erin had a client in need of help with a commercial real estate matter. Erin sent the referral, and the case turned into a significant litigation matter. Eighteen months later, when all was said and done, the case ended up in a six-figure fee and a win for the client.

Sure, not every random e-mail is going to turn into a big case and a significant fee. Not every lunch is going to be easy and fun. Sometimes lunch will just be lunch, and sometimes e-mails won’t get any response.

But you can’t win if you don’t play. You can’t be the rainmaker if you don’t even try. Yep, she got lucky. But it didn’t just happen. She made her own luck. She sent the e-mail, had the lunch, and took a risk.

Sometimes an e-mail will turn into some interesting work, a win for a client, and a six-figure fee. Whom are you planning to e-mail today?

Lee Rosen practices family law in North Carolina and writes about law practice marketing, management, and technology at Divorce Discourse.

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