Saturday, May 14, 2011

Rainmaking: It’s More Than Developing Relationships

Very early in their careers, lawyers in private practice must attract a group of loyal clients. The standard advice is to join organizations and develop a lot of relationships. This is good advice, as far as it goes. However, there is more. At Beyond Hearsay, attorney Steve Sedberry emphasizes that successful rainmaking requires giving clients more value than they expect:

However, the truth is that a good rainmaker is simply a good lawyer. A good rainmaker delivers value to the client that exceeds the client’s expectations. This, in turn, results in client loyalty and repeat business. As an in-house lawyer, I have engaged many lawyers. There were some that I worked with that I liked a great deal. There were others that I didn’t care for at all. But the common thread among all of the lawyers I continue to engage are the ones that delivered value that was worth the cost.

Certainly, to become a rainmaker, you need relationships with clients and potential clients. But more importantly, you need to develop your craft, your skill as a lawyer. You need to become a trusted advisor and problem-solver to your client.

There are numerous ways to begin to develop relationships- get involved in your community, your church or synagogue, your schools’ alumni association and the like. But having relationships without having a solid foundation as a lawyer will likely lead to short-term success at best. To develop the ability to attract and retain clients, you need to be the very best lawyer you can be.


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