In 2016, Winston & Strawn partnered with Practice Pipeline to deliver a long-term business development training initiative intended to develop a learning culture, raise the firm’s profile externally across five key industry verticals, measure and improve lawyer BD productivity, and increase origination activity. Read the case study to learn how Winston achieve these objectives.


Winston & Strawn identified a group of partners with the potential to grow their practices by 25-100%.  The firm engaged The Ackert Advisory for business development coaching and Practice Pipeline technology for performance tracking so as to:

  • Show a measurable increase business development activity among participating partners
  • Drive new revenue to the firm
  • Expand business generation across five target industries

The tech/coaching initiative was a success on all fronts, providing meaningful metrics and significant profit.


Winston used the partner BD coaching initiative to “soft launch” Practice Pipeline and show proof-of concept before expanding the technology more broadly.

Practice Pipeline, a simple relationship management tool, enabled the partners to prioritize key opportunities and make strategic business development decisions. The dedicated mobile app, Outlook integration, regular email alerts and coaching support ensured high adoption rates (90%) among even the busiest litigators.


The coaching engagement provided a more traditional platform to test the idea of pipeline management at the firm. The program included an application process for the lawyers and regular progress reports from the coaches. The firm’s internal BD professionals played a key role in overseeing and supporting lawyer progress throughout the coaching term. The alignment of internal resources, external coaches, and pipeline technology were key factors in the success of this initiative.

The firm has launched a second class of partners for the same coaching program this year.


1. Expanded the firm's profile.

The 22 participating partners tracked approximately 30% increase in business opportunities across five key industries.

2. Increased business development productivity.

Over 20 months, Winston lawyers completed 106 strategic objectives (including the sourcing of new matters).

 3. High Adoption.

Practice Pipeline had over 90% adoption from Winston’s participating lawyers during their coaching engagements.

4. Endorsement and Renewal.

The program was highly profitable, and so widely endorsed by leadership across the firm that Winston launched a second class in 2018.

5. High ROI

The initiative generated an ROI of 33,900% over hard costs invested in the software and coaching.

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