By Kevin O'Keefe

Law firms need to identify their online rainmakers


The majority of law firms treat all lawyers as equals when it comes to their ability to develop business through online networking.

Networking online through blogging and the use of other social media, including LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook, is all about building relationships and word of mouth. The same as business development offline. Ideally, they’re done hand in hand.

If you’re working with a non-rainmaker, what makes you think they’ll make rain online?

Key for law firms, per business development executive, Alan Colman (@closersgroup), is distinguishing between a potential rainmaker and a “client service partner.” That way you can work to grow your rainmakers.

Fortunately, Colman reports that, per a two year study by Lawyer Metrics (pdf) reviewing the personalities and performance of hundreds of lawyers, there are traits that distinguish the rainmakers.

  • High level of confidence
  • Comfortable exercising power and taking control
  • Not overwhelmed by project detail
  • Question established methods
  • Build teamwork
  • Have not attended elite colleges or law schools (similar to Fortune 500 CEO’s)

Attorney Patricia Gillette of Orrick, in addressing the study, identified the clear the value for firms in identifying and working with the rainmakers.

  • Success in preparing associates and junior partners for developing new business.
  • Assist in the selection of new attorneys by providing the characteristics most likely leading to hiring future rainmakers.
  • Utilize firm investments in a more focused approach.

Get it right and you win big. Rainmakers interviewed in the survey averaged over $4 million in annual business, approximately six times client service partners.

When developing the blog and social media strategies in your firm, look for the rainmakers. Look for those exhibiting the rainmaker traits and work with them to develop their online networking skills.

All of your lawyers who are blogging and using other social networking will not be rainmakers. But if you can get potential rainmakers involved, you’ll be far ahead.

Image courtesy of Flickr by

Kevin O'Keefe
About the Author

Trial lawyer turned legal tech entrepreneur, I am the founder and CEO of LexBlog, a legal blog community of over 30,000 blog publishers, worldwide. LexBlog’s publishing platform is used on a subscription basis by over 18,000 legal professionals, including the largest law firm in each India, China and the United States.

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