Sixteen attorneys—selected for their acumen in developing books of business, as well as their expertise as lawyers—share their experiences and personal pathways to success.
Surely it comes as no surprise that it takes more than substantive legal skills to achieve success in today’s leading law firms—it requires demonstrated success in business development. The pressures and demands related to putting together a notable book of business are nonetheless very much on the forefront of lawyers’ concerns.
For Diversity & the Bar’s second annual rainmaker feature, a group of sixteen attorneys share their thoughts on the importance and execution of results-oriented business development. Although the lawyers are quick to point out that they have no magic formula or secret sure-fire strategy to attracting and keeping clients, they all seem to agree on at least a couple of components involved in successful rainmaking: The two key phrases that reappear throughout their reflections are “building relationships” and “client service.” They advise that associates start working on professional relationships early, and assiduously nurture them throughout their legal careers; and that attorneys be there for their clients (24/7 if necessary) in supplying them with the highest quality legal services possible.
This year’s featured rainmakers were selected from a pool of nominees suggested by leading firms from across the country. Each of these minority attorneys boasts a regular book of business reaching or exceeding $2 million a year. In making its selections, MCCA weighed the attorneys’ geographic locations and areas of specialty, as well as their gender and ethnicity, in order to present the most diverse and well-rounded assembly possible.
Our group of attorneys profiled in the following pages contends that, while the stereotypical partner wheeling and dealing on the golf course still exists, the disciplined partner making strides through long hours of preparation and substantive performance is more today’s rainmaker norm. Interestingly, the majority of these attorneys interviewed bristle at the term “rainmaker.” One describes the expression as conjuring up images “too heavy on wining and dining,” while another says the title “simply sounds too over-the-top” for her. Distaste for the idiom aside, these lawyers value the rewards—particularly the autonomy with regard to working on matters that he or she finds personally and intellectually satisfying—that come with ongoing business development at the highest levels.