The practice of law relies on more than knowledge of the black letter law. An attorney can only
“lawyer” if hired by a client. Clients hire lawyers that they have confidence in. Legal practice,
therefore, is as much about generating trust and confidence from clients, as it is in delivering
excellent legal analysis and solutions.
This is why law firms of all sizes need lawyers who also understand the business of law.
Lawyers need to be able to bring in business—they need to be rainmakers.
But I’m not naturally outgoing or extroverted…
A common misconception is that rainmakers have to be Type A, larger-than- life extroverts.
Certainly, there are colorful rainmakers out there; but I have worked with many partners over the
years that were basically the antithesis of that stereotype—and they are fantastic rainmakers.
The key, again, is to create a sense of confidence and to generate trust that you and your team
are capable of making the client’s life easier. This means that whether you are an introvert or an
extrovert, you have to focus on your client and demonstrate that you can add value to their
work. The ability to anticipate the legal needs of a client is not exclusive to certain personality
types. You can convey that information whether you are quiet, or the life of the party.
But I just started working. Surely after a few years in, my body of work can speak for itself?
Your results and successes will be important; but you can’t rely on them alone. At the early
stages of your career, you should focus on mastering your practice—but be sure to start
learning how to develop business.
The day you show up at a firm, you become a part of its engine. You don’t wake up one day and
become a black-belt at business development—to be successful at it, you have to put in the
time, energy, and effort from the very beginning.
So what are some simplest steps I can take?
As you can imagine, there’s no magic formula or one-size- fits-all approach. Start first by
focusing and listening to your clients. Adopt a servant’s mindset and think about what you can
do to make your client’s life easier. Eventually, you’ll be able to do that for several clients, and
engage in a high volume of business development activity.
Clients today demand a lot more today than they used to. Technology is changing how we
interact with each other, so stay on top of new platforms of communication and opportunities.
Attorney-client relationships are becoming more symbiotic. Deliver just as much value as you
hope to receive.