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Not long ago, I was speaking with a client who has built a wonderful book of business. She was very proud of her progress, and rightfully so. Another partner in her firm later remarked, "She's just been flat-out lucky." I was astounded.

Inheriting a sizable book of business due to retirement, death or departure of the previous relationship partner or Finder is "lucky." Even if the inheritor never did much to help his predecessor grow that business, he was likely a key figure in keeping it, i.e., as the Minder. Any apparent free ride is immediately ended as of the transfer date, though. From that day forward, this new relationship partner will have to go flat-out to keep and grow the clients in his inherited portfolio.

This exchange made me realize, however, that many lawyers don't understand or appreciate the time, dedication and energy required to drive business on a consistent basis. While most lawyers speak about rainmakers with respect, many also sense (or hope, perhaps) that the rainmakers are from some "Lucky Gene Pool." After all, if that were true, nobody could expect you to generate business.

Great lawyers aren't born; neither are rainmakers. Both are self-made (with help, of course)

Successful rainmakers understand the criticality of relevance, so they become students of a business sector to establish and sustain their relevance, assuring that they'll remain welcome in the industry conversation. They:

  • Go to the conferences and trade shows that leaders in their selected industry attend, to see, be seen and remain at the cutting edge of their industry. 
  • Read what those business leaders read, discerning patterns and emerging trends to explore with prospects and clients.
  • Speak on relevant topics at the right conferences, and write relevant articles for placement in channels that attract industry leaders. 

They plan out their weeks, months and sometimes years, allocating time each week to make calls, visits, meetings over meals, social events, and other non-billable activities -- the things that keep them in the game for the industry sector they serve. You might be surprised to learn how many hours it actually takes. Here's a simple illustration.

Like professional athletes, musicians and other performers, many rainmakers consult with coaches and mentors who push them to new heights of lawyer business development greatness. 

All of this activity takes time, dedication, commitment and the willingness to keep going, despite the occasional failure. That's how rainmakers keep themselves lucky. 

So, make your own luck. It works. 

Mike O'Horo

Would you like to learn how to make and keep yourself relevant to decision-makers in a valuable business sector? Check out the RainmakerVT course, Define your 'Door Opener': Associate Yourself with Issues That Open Doors for You and Drive Demand