The term “rainmaker” generally refers to a person that is able to bring in clients, respect, and money to a law firm simply by being associated with the firm. One good example in the fiction world would be the character played by William Shatner on Boston Legal- who can forget the influence of “Denny Crane”? While the character portrayed by Shatner is little more than a laughable imitation of the legal field, the truth is that there are many attorneys who have built a reputation as being an important part of the legal field and who attract clients to their firm due to the reputation they have built as being the best in the field. Naturally, ambitious lawyers everywhere wonder if they have what it takes to become a rainmaker. The answer is yes- if you know the tricks that have helped your predecessors get ahead.
Being a rainmaker means that you have a vastly expanded ability to control your own destiny- you are in demand not only by clients who want your help, you are often able to move professionally to anywhere you desire. The first step toward earning rainmaker status is to begin planning what you want and how you want to get there as soon as possible. Start by deciding on a specific, narrow field that you want to become an expert in- or at least choose a geographic area to master. Becoming an expert in environmental law pertaining to large corporations, for example, is much more achievable than becoming the preeminent personal injury lawyer in the state.
The next step is to come up with an actionable plan to achieve your goal. You need to have a mastery of the subject you plan to become known in, of course, but what can you do to advertise that mastery? Becoming a rainmaker involves a lot of self promotion. Start by offering to hold workshops or seminars for people in your industry. Or, teach a class that offers CLE credit to other lawyers. In today’s world, one of the best ways to become an expert is by getting your information published. While that meant law journals in the past, today it means getting published online. Consider creating a blog that offers specific information to people in your chosen area. Write articles and allow them to be republished on that topic. Create videos about a topic, and post them where potential clients can view them. The goal is to build up your image by becoming known as the “go to” person in a particular field. Start by addressing specific topics that your clients need to know about- when they search for information on different topics and consistently come to information you have created, they will quickly come to consider you an expert.
The bottom line is this- rainmakers are created when they become experts at building relationships with clients. Stay in touch with your clients, and find out what they are looking for from you. Find out what information they need to strengthen their day-to-day operations. Find out how you can help them by providing them with information and point them to your website. Let your clients teach you what you need to know to become an expert. Any good lawyer can become great by simply listening to his or her clients. Find ways to build your reputation as the best in the business, and your clients will quickly follow.