Rate My Pitch
Rate My Pitch is an associate professional development program that The Chicago Committee offers to its member firms. The program is a benefit of annual dues to The Chicago Committee and there is no additional charge for participation in this program. Rate My Pitch is one of The Chicago Committee’s most popular and successful programs.
Rate My Pitch will take place once a week for three/four weeks, and will provide both instruction for and experiential learning by approximately 20 Chicago Committee member firm associates who have practiced from three to seven years. Partners from member firms with serve as “coaches” throughout the program and will instruct the associates and provide meaningful feedback. The focus of the program is on relationship building competencies with respect to both internal firm relationships and external business relationships.
The learning plan includes five real life scenarios that associates might encounter: (1) taking a partner or practice group leader to lunch with an identified objective, (2) transforming a college or high school friendship into a business relationship, (3) taking advantage of an ad hoc encounter with an existing firm client to market yourself, (4) a “cold call” on a business acquaintance introduced by a mutual friend, and (5) making a formal business pitch as part of a team in response to a RFQ.
The scenarios include an objective against which the coaches will define success. With respect to Scenario 1, taking the partner to lunch, the objective is getting higher associate level work such as supervising more junior associates on a significant matter. For Scenario 2, the question is whether the associate persuades the college friend to consider him or her as potential outside counsel. For Scenario 3, the question is whether the associate is able to make himself or herself more visible in the existing client relationship. With respect to Scenario 4, the “cold call” on a potential client introduced through an acquaintance, the question is whether the associate opens the door for further communication with the potential client. The coaches will indicate for each scenario whether they believe the associate demonstrated the appropriate competencies necessary to be as persuasive as possible.
The program’s overall intended outcome is to facilitate extensive participation by the associates while providing meaningful feedback and learning.
Program Structure and Plan
- 20 participants will be assigned to one of four or five teams with a mix of practice areas and experience levels.
- The first evening session (Session I) will be spent (i) welcoming the participants, (ii) describing the objectives of the initiative, (iii) discussing the various scenarios and competencies necessary for success, (iv) assigning teams/coaches and the scenarios (2 in total per team) that associates will be expected to present within their group and to the entire group during the second session, and (v) providing some time for the team members and coaches to meet each other and discuss the scenarios. We will provide instructional notebooks and other resources during the first session. See Section D, Resources, below.
- The second evening session (Session II) will be divided into two parts. First, the teams and their respective coaches will each go to one of 4-5 assigned rooms. The participants on each team will present to each other the two assigned scenarios. Coaches will then provide feedback to the participants. Then, each team will present to the entire group of 20 the scenario assigned to be presented, with one associate volunteer to play the associate role and the coach for the team playing the partner/client role. The coaches for the other teams as well as the participants from the other teams will provide feedback.
- During the third evening session (Session III), each team will be asked to make its 20 to 25-minute pitch (with Q&A) in response to an RFQ. Each team will present the same scenario, Scenario 5, to the panel of evaluators. Participants will be scored by each panel member in several competency categories and overall. The panel will consider both category and overall score in the final evaluation.
- Program Plan – The program takes place over three, 2-3 hour evening sessions. The team coaches and assistant coaches are volunteers from among partners at Chicago Committee member firms. The panel of judges for the third session is comprised of in-house counsel and perhaps a business person playing the client.
Associates will receive the RFQ during Session I and the teams will have one-half hour to prepare on the evening of Session III. The panel of judges is comprised of lawyers and perhaps a business person in the client role and will provide feedback to all teams at the conclusion of the final presentation. At the end of the feedback, the panel will also recognize several participants as best in category, based on the learned competencies (e.g., established rapport, level of trust of client, met meeting objective etc…). The recognition is an opportunity to have breakfast or lunch with one of the panel members.
The Nominations Process and Expectations
- Process – Participation in Rate My Pitch is limited to 20 diverse associates who are currently in their 3rd year through 7th years of practice. Each associate must be nominated by his or her managing partner via brief correspondence addressed to Jennifer Reddien, Executive Director, and emailed to [email protected] If we receive more than 20 nominations, we will accept participants by random lottery in three categories: the Chicago Committee’s Associate Board Members (5), associates nominated by governing Board members whose firms are not represented on the Associate Board (5); and associates nominated by member firms not represented on either the Board or Associate Board (10).
- Expectations – Associates selected to participate in Rate My Pitch must commit to attend all three sessions. If an associate is selected from your firm, we expect that the firm will also name one experienced partner who is available to assist with coaching and providing feedback during sessions I and II described above.
- Associates will receive a notebook during Session I that will include this cover letter along with copies of the scenarios, the RFQ, descriptive competencies and a variety of background resources.
- Associates will also receive a copy of the book The Trusted Advisor, by David Maister, Charles H. Green, and Robert M. Galford.
All questions should be directed to The Chicago Committee at (312) 578-5410 or [email protected].