2010's Leading Law Firm Rainmakers
For a real estate and finance partner like Kathleen Wu, maintaining rainmaker status throughout a challenging economy has been no mean feat. “It’s helped that my practice is very varied,” she explains. “Prior to the [housing] slump I was doing more origination of loan and real estate development work. Now I’ve transitioned more into special servicing work and other areas unique to this part of the economic cycle we now find ourselves in. It’s important to be flexible not only substantively but in terms of understanding and anticipating clients’ needs. Whatever the economic environment, genuine interest in clients and deeply caring about the work product contribute to a winning formula.”
A graduate of Columbia University and George Washington University, Wu fell into the legal profession by default. Her early years as an associate were exceedingly stressful. She worked for several very demanding partners and each transaction that crossed her desk was more complex than the last. Then, in her sixth year, something changed.
“After thousands of hours of work, I all-of-a-sudden became very confident. I recall thinking, ‘OK, this is something I can do. I have a real future here.’”
Wu stresses that “rainmaker” is not a title she can hang her hat on. “You must prove yourself everyday,” she says. “Whether the client or deal at hand is big or small, you must provide an excellent level of service. All the networking in the world cannot replace a reputation for consistent, high-quality work. It’s not easy, but if you approach this in a proactive, thoughtful way, it definitely pays off.” DB
From the November/December 2010 issue of Diversity & The Bar®