Too many law firms sacrifice too many opportunities and too much human capital as they worship before the idol of the rainmaker. 

Despite the cult-like fascination with rainmaking that has been an article of faith in many law firms, there is nothing magical about it. "Rainmaking" consists of a set of basic business and human relations skills that anyone can learn. Some of these are basic sales and client relations skills. Other skills involve areas of emotional intelligence, such as empathy. Every skill and behavior that produces good business development results can be measured and improved.

Because of our different personalities, backgrounds, and experience, some of us are better at some of the skills than others. However, anyone can be a rainmaker.

The five biggest mistakes that law firms make are (not necessarily in order of importance or severity):

  • Acceptance of the "finder-minder-grinder" myth of the role of partners. Modern law firms need each partner to develop advanced skills in all three areas: business development, client relations, and efficient, profitable, high-quality legal work. 
  • Failure to invest in the development of business development skills for all lawyers.
  • The assumption that there is only one way to be a successful business developer, and supporting and rewarding only those activities.
  • Over-reliance on a small number of rainmakers to develop substantially all of the business.
  • Failure to provide adequate organizational and operational support to business development efforts. 

Do you want to lead your law firm away from the cult of the rainmaker and toward better performance by all of your colleagues? A relatively small investment of time and resources in all of your lawyers can produce huge returns on investment in terms of more new clients, more powerful cross-marketing, better profitability, and stronger morale. Click here for more information about in-house professional development programs by Walker Clark LLC.

Norman Clark