How to be a rainmaker?

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Anonymous User
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How to be a rainmaker?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Oct 13, 2011 2:16 pm

I'm doing 2L summer with a fairly small firm in the Midwest. A few of their attorneys have let me know that they selected me in part because their current "rainmaker" (their words) is getting old and will be retiring in the next five or ten years, and they think I have the potential to do that kind of thing if I'm interested. With it being a small firm, I think everyone brings in at least a decent portion of the work, but they lean on this one guy disproportionately. Several of the attorneys say they have little interest doing that type of thing so they want to bring in a person or two who may want to down the road. What's in it for the rainmaker is that he doesn't really have to...work, at least not in the regular sense of the word. He doesn't practice much law outside of a few long-time clients. He just sort of runs around town, hangs out with people, and then delegates the work he brings in.

Assuming things go well this summer, I will have to decide between this place and a different firm. It might help me make the decision if I had a better idea of whether this path is something I would consider. My knowledge of bringing in business is limited to the sort of stereotype of a lawyer hanging out at the country club talking to the local businessmen and the like. I need a more full understanding of exactly what types of stuff someone like that would do and be expected to do? (Particularly at a small firm in a small city.)

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Cade McNown
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Re: How to be a rainmaker?

Postby Cade McNown » Thu Oct 13, 2011 2:21 pm

Image

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Grizz
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Re: How to be a rainmaker?

Postby Grizz » Thu Oct 13, 2011 2:22 pm

--ImageRemoved--

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Re: How to be a rainmaker?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Oct 13, 2011 2:31 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I'm doing 2L summer with a fairly small firm in the Midwest. A few of their attorneys have let me know that they selected me in part because their current "rainmaker" (their words) is getting old and will be retiring in the next five or ten years, and they think I have the potential to do that kind of thing if I'm interested. With it being a small firm, I think everyone brings in at least a decent portion of the work, but they lean on this one guy disproportionately. Several of the attorneys say they have little interest doing that type of thing so they want to bring in a person or two who may want to down the road. What's in it for the rainmaker is that he doesn't really have to...work, at least not in the regular sense of the word. He doesn't practice much law outside of a few long-time clients. He just sort of runs around town, hangs out with people, and then delegates the work he brings in.

Assuming things go well this summer, I will have to decide between this place and a different firm. It might help me make the decision if I had a better idea of whether this path is something I would consider. My knowledge of bringing in business is limited to the sort of stereotype of a lawyer hanging out at the country club talking to the local businessmen and the like. I need a more full understanding of exactly what types of stuff someone like that would do and be expected to do? (Particularly at a small firm in a small city.)

I am as ignorant as you are of how to be a rainmaker. However, as a new lawyer, I would be very concerned going to a firm that leans so heavily on one person and whose plan for succession is to find someone new to lean on. What if this guy is the son of a local political family and that is how he makes it rain? I don't know you or your personality, but assuming you can't make it rain like him, will the same income prospects remain once he leaves and everyone else starts fighting to stay busy?

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Re: How to be a rainmaker?

Postby bjsesq » Thu Oct 13, 2011 2:37 pm

Image



Ask him.

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Grizz
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Re: How to be a rainmaker?

Postby Grizz » Thu Oct 13, 2011 2:41 pm

bjsesq wrote:Image



Ask him.

Urinate on clients?

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Re: How to be a rainmaker?

Postby bjsesq » Thu Oct 13, 2011 2:43 pm

Grizz wrote:
bjsesq wrote:Image



Ask him.

Urinate on clients?


Urinate on EVERYTHING

MrAnon
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Re: How to be a rainmaker?

Postby MrAnon » Thu Oct 13, 2011 2:44 pm

Biglaw rainmaker examples:

Partner has a friend who is a higher up at a foreign embassy. When that country wants to issue debt to sell in the US then they do it through that Partner on corporate side of the firm.

Partner is long time friends with the head of a hedge fund. That hedge fund work comes to the firm.


It is really a "choice". No one turns down the idea of being a rainmaker. But you can't be one if you have zero connections and don't know how to talk to people.

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Re: How to be a rainmaker?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Oct 13, 2011 2:45 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I'm doing 2L summer with a fairly small firm in the Midwest. A few of their attorneys have let me know that they selected me in part because their current "rainmaker" (their words) is getting old and will be retiring in the next five or ten years, and they think I have the potential to do that kind of thing if I'm interested. With it being a small firm, I think everyone brings in at least a decent portion of the work, but they lean on this one guy disproportionately. Several of the attorneys say they have little interest doing that type of thing so they want to bring in a person or two who may want to down the road. What's in it for the rainmaker is that he doesn't really have to...work, at least not in the regular sense of the word. He doesn't practice much law outside of a few long-time clients. He just sort of runs around town, hangs out with people, and then delegates the work he brings in.

Assuming things go well this summer, I will have to decide between this place and a different firm. It might help me make the decision if I had a better idea of whether this path is something I would consider. My knowledge of bringing in business is limited to the sort of stereotype of a lawyer hanging out at the country club talking to the local businessmen and the like. I need a more full understanding of exactly what types of stuff someone like that would do and be expected to do? (Particularly at a small firm in a small city.)

I am as ignorant as you are of how to be a rainmaker. However, as a new lawyer, I would be very concerned going to a firm that leans so heavily on one person and whose plan for succession is to find someone new to lean on. What if this guy is the son of a local political family and that is how he makes it rain? I don't know you or your personality, but assuming you can't make it rain like him, will the same income prospects remain once he leaves and everyone else starts fighting to stay busy?


OP here. I've thought of this, but the firm is 100 years old and the most prominent in the area in several fields. I don't *think* there will be a major issue with bringing in enough business considering that a few other partners are going to retire as well. If I had to guess, 80% of the business is pretty steady. We're probably talking a certain marginal income amount that the partners would prefer to keep but could do fine without. Still, your point is well-taken.

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Re: How to be a rainmaker?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Oct 13, 2011 2:48 pm

first, if you think you would like a career in that sort of role, thwn i would reach out to that rainmaker partner and ask him to be your mentor (i.e., show you what he does, meet some of the people he networks with, see how he interacts with the clients, etc.).

second, if you don't want that kind of role, though, i would suggest looking elsewhere. i think what one of the above posters said about being leery of a firm that leans so heavily on one partner is very credited advice. even biglaw firms with those sorts of models can be crippled when a rainmaking partner leaves. i would imagine the effects on a smaller-sized firm would be that much more catastrophic.

tlstlstls73
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Re: How to be a rainmaker?

Postby tlstlstls73 » Thu Oct 13, 2011 2:51 pm

Being a partner in a law firm, just like in consulting or really any other ultimate executive position, is all about sales. A. B. C.

lawbanshee
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Re: How to be a rainmaker?

Postby lawbanshee » Thu Oct 13, 2011 3:03 pm

Most small shops rely heavily on referrals from lawyers in other practice areas, or from other professionals. Example: an estate planning shop might have several CPA's that send them clients for wills/trusts, or IRS issue like offers in compromise.

A personal injury shop will have medical clinics, chiros, and doctors who send them clients in return for the firm having their own clients "treat" there (this area is esp. shady though, there are often illegal kickbacks and other side deals done under the table).

A real estate shop will be very friendly with all the local brokers and such so they get closing referrals. I was a realtor prior to becoming a lawyer, and a local firm would give us all $25 Applebees gift cards at Xmas, things like that. In return we sent any buyer w/out a lawyer to them.

things like that.

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Re: How to be a rainmaker?

Postby ketchup » Thu Oct 13, 2011 4:52 pm

.
Last edited by ketchup on Mon Oct 21, 2013 10:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: How to be a rainmaker?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Oct 13, 2011 4:55 pm

ketchup wrote:
lawbanshee wrote: I was a realtor prior to becoming a lawyer, and a local firm would give us all $25 Applebees gift cards at Xmas


This actually worked? Applebees? $25? Really?

People over-estimate how highly trained and prosperous realtors are in many markets. I could easily see a gift like that swaying a 3rd year agent in my rural hometown.

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Re: How to be a rainmaker?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Oct 19, 2011 3:11 pm

OP here. Posts like the below are really helpful. Anyone else have anything to chip in?

lawbanshee wrote:Most small shops rely heavily on referrals from lawyers in other practice areas, or from other professionals. Example: an estate planning shop might have several CPA's that send them clients for wills/trusts, or IRS issue like offers in compromise.

A personal injury shop will have medical clinics, chiros, and doctors who send them clients in return for the firm having their own clients "treat" there (this area is esp. shady though, there are often illegal kickbacks and other side deals done under the table).

A real estate shop will be very friendly with all the local brokers and such so they get closing referrals. I was a realtor prior to becoming a lawyer, and a local firm would give us all $25 Applebees gift cards at Xmas, things like that. In return we sent any buyer w/out a lawyer to them.

things like that.

Cogburn87
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Re: How to be a rainmaker?

Postby Cogburn87 » Wed Oct 19, 2011 3:48 pm

Get them to sign on the line which is dotted.

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A'nold
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Re: How to be a rainmaker?

Postby A'nold » Wed Oct 19, 2011 3:55 pm

This is actually really hilarious if you think about it. These guys want you to go out and bring in business while they sit back and "do the real work." Basically, they want to hire a salesman to do the hard crap that they don't want to deal with and reap the rewards.

It's funny because if you are bringing in all of the work it basically says that you could do this on your own and these guys wouldn't be taking a huge cut of the profits that YOU are bringing in. The sucky part is that they can do this because you would have 0 reputation and their firm's name is 100 years old. It's a definite win-win for those guys.

SO.....make it rain hard for like 3 years and then threaten to open up your own shop and steal all of their clients if they don't make you a partner.

TheFriendlyBarber
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Re: How to be a rainmaker?

Postby TheFriendlyBarber » Wed Oct 19, 2011 4:06 pm

I bet their Symplicity entry lists the position as "2L Summer Rainmaker"

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Re: How to be a rainmaker?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Oct 19, 2011 4:22 pm

A'nold wrote:This is actually really hilarious if you think about it. These guys want you to go out and bring in business while they sit back and "do the real work." Basically, they want to hire a salesman to do the hard crap that they don't want to deal with and reap the rewards.

It's funny because if you are bringing in all of the work it basically says that you could do this on your own and these guys wouldn't be taking a huge cut of the profits that YOU are bringing in. The sucky part is that they can do this because you would have 0 reputation and their firm's name is 100 years old. It's a definite win-win for those guys.

SO.....make it rain hard for like 3 years and then threaten to open up your own shop and steal all of their clients if they don't make you a partner.


I think this is a simplistic take on it. As mentioned earlier, my guess would be that 80% of their work is static and they have to make some kind of networking investment to get the other 20%. I suppose if you wanted to leave and hope to take a portion of that 20%, you might be able to. But I guess I take issue with the notion that the guy bringing in business is doing the hard work, considering that he's pawning off all the actual legal work to everyone else. It seems to me like he's got it made, as long as he likes doing that sort of thing. You have to keep in mind these guys have no billable requirement, and partner pay determinations are a combination of work done and work brought in. I think there's an argument to be made that the rainmaker might get screwed, but I'm not really seeing this as some kind of scam.

I'm seeing it as most of the attorneys not wanting to do it and figuring if they get someone who does want to do it, they don't have to do as much of it. If anything, that would give the rainmaker tremendous leverage, no?

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A'nold
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Re: How to be a rainmaker?

Postby A'nold » Wed Oct 19, 2011 5:43 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
A'nold wrote:This is actually really hilarious if you think about it. These guys want you to go out and bring in business while they sit back and "do the real work." Basically, they want to hire a salesman to do the hard crap that they don't want to deal with and reap the rewards.

It's funny because if you are bringing in all of the work it basically says that you could do this on your own and these guys wouldn't be taking a huge cut of the profits that YOU are bringing in. The sucky part is that they can do this because you would have 0 reputation and their firm's name is 100 years old. It's a definite win-win for those guys.

SO.....make it rain hard for like 3 years and then threaten to open up your own shop and steal all of their clients if they don't make you a partner.


I think this is a simplistic take on it. As mentioned earlier, my guess would be that 80% of their work is static and they have to make some kind of networking investment to get the other 20%. I suppose if you wanted to leave and hope to take a portion of that 20%, you might be able to. But I guess I take issue with the notion that the guy bringing in business is doing the hard work, considering that he's pawning off all the actual legal work to everyone else. It seems to me like he's got it made, as long as he likes doing that sort of thing. You have to keep in mind these guys have no billable requirement, and partner pay determinations are a combination of work done and work brought in. I think there's an argument to be made that the rainmaker might get screwed, but I'm not really seeing this as some kind of scam.

I'm seeing it as most of the attorneys not wanting to do it and figuring if they get someone who does want to do it, they don't have to do as much of it. If anything, that would give the rainmaker tremendous leverage, no?

I don't understand how you can call my view overly simplistic but end with this paragraph that is basically a summation of everything I said.....

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Re: How to be a rainmaker?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Oct 19, 2011 8:14 pm

A'nold wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
A'nold wrote:This is actually really hilarious if you think about it. These guys want you to go out and bring in business while they sit back and "do the real work." Basically, they want to hire a salesman to do the hard crap that they don't want to deal with and reap the rewards.

It's funny because if you are bringing in all of the work it basically says that you could do this on your own and these guys wouldn't be taking a huge cut of the profits that YOU are bringing in. The sucky part is that they can do this because you would have 0 reputation and their firm's name is 100 years old. It's a definite win-win for those guys.

SO.....make it rain hard for like 3 years and then threaten to open up your own shop and steal all of their clients if they don't make you a partner.


I think this is a simplistic take on it. As mentioned earlier, my guess would be that 80% of their work is static and they have to make some kind of networking investment to get the other 20%. I suppose if you wanted to leave and hope to take a portion of that 20%, you might be able to. But I guess I take issue with the notion that the guy bringing in business is doing the hard work, considering that he's pawning off all the actual legal work to everyone else. It seems to me like he's got it made, as long as he likes doing that sort of thing. You have to keep in mind these guys have no billable requirement, and partner pay determinations are a combination of work done and work brought in. I think there's an argument to be made that the rainmaker might get screwed, but I'm not really seeing this as some kind of scam.

I'm seeing it as most of the attorneys not wanting to do it and figuring if they get someone who does want to do it, they don't have to do as much of it. If anything, that would give the rainmaker tremendous leverage, no?

I don't understand how you can call my view overly simplistic but end with this paragraph that is basically a summation of everything I said.....


You said other things, too. I agree with that one part but was (I though obviously) questioning the parts about who is doing the "hard crap" and whether it's a win-win for the firm.

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A'nold
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Re: How to be a rainmaker?

Postby A'nold » Wed Oct 19, 2011 11:52 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
A'nold wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
A'nold wrote:This is actually really hilarious if you think about it. These guys want you to go out and bring in business while they sit back and "do the real work." Basically, they want to hire a salesman to do the hard crap that they don't want to deal with and reap the rewards.

It's funny because if you are bringing in all of the work it basically says that you could do this on your own and these guys wouldn't be taking a huge cut of the profits that YOU are bringing in. The sucky part is that they can do this because you would have 0 reputation and their firm's name is 100 years old. It's a definite win-win for those guys.

SO.....make it rain hard for like 3 years and then threaten to open up your own shop and steal all of their clients if they don't make you a partner.


I think this is a simplistic take on it. As mentioned earlier, my guess would be that 80% of their work is static and they have to make some kind of networking investment to get the other 20%. I suppose if you wanted to leave and hope to take a portion of that 20%, you might be able to. But I guess I take issue with the notion that the guy bringing in business is doing the hard work, considering that he's pawning off all the actual legal work to everyone else. It seems to me like he's got it made, as long as he likes doing that sort of thing. You have to keep in mind these guys have no billable requirement, and partner pay determinations are a combination of work done and work brought in. I think there's an argument to be made that the rainmaker might get screwed, but I'm not really seeing this as some kind of scam.

I'm seeing it as most of the attorneys not wanting to do it and figuring if they get someone who does want to do it, they don't have to do as much of it. If anything, that would give the rainmaker tremendous leverage, no?

I don't understand how you can call my view overly simplistic but end with this paragraph that is basically a summation of everything I said.....


You said other things, too. I agree with that one part but was (I though obviously) questioning the parts about who is doing the "hard crap" and whether it's a win-win for the firm.


Salesman type stuff like this comes naturally to some people, but most of the time lawyer types ARE NOT those people. That's one of the reasons they went into law in the first place.

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Redzo
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Re: How to be a rainmaker?

Postby Redzo » Thu Oct 20, 2011 12:07 am

If you want to be a rainmaker, all you need is my new book, "How To Be A Rainmaker: You Too Can Make It Rain!" by Rainn Machen. Only 3 easy payments of $19.95.

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A'nold
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Re: How to be a rainmaker?

Postby A'nold » Thu Oct 20, 2011 12:02 pm

Redzo wrote:If you want to be a rainmaker, all you need is my new book, "How To Be A Rainmaker: You Too Can Make It Rain!" by Rainn Machen. Only 3 easy payments of $19.95.

Lol.

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holdencaulfield
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Re: How to be a rainmaker?

Postby holdencaulfield » Mon Oct 24, 2011 12:43 am

This really doesn't make much sense. The only logical conclusion is that they want you to start starring in their TV commercials when the current "rainmaker" retires. If you really want to impress them, have a few stage names ready. Go for something like "the Outlaw" or "Captain Justice."




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