October 31, 2014
The answer is yes, as long as one is capable of distinguishing between a rainmaker and a client service partner. In a thorough two year study by Lawyer Metrics, they reviewed performance and personality assessments of hundreds of partners and 80 plus interviews with both rainmakers and client service partners.
“Rainmakers have a stronger propensity than their peers to take on leadership roles, to exercise power, and to take control to influence the results of a team effort.” This is the key conclusion stated in the survey’s “overview.”
Impact for Managing Partners
In her introduction to the study results, special consultant Patricia K. Gillette from the Orrick firm clearly identified the value for law firms:
- 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.
“ . . . . . characteristics of rainmakers are quantifiable and not bound by gender.”
Some of these characteristics include a high level of confidence, are comfortable exercising power, taking control, are not overwhelmed by project detail, question established methods, build teamwork, and to the surprise of many, have not attended elite colleges or law schools. (The latter is similar to findings for Fortune 500 CEO’s) The study goes on to argue that rainmaking abilities can be developed.
Whether interviewing new attorneys or lateral hires, there are indeed traits that will
assist in determining whether you have a potential rainmaker or a potential client
service partner. Both have great value, but the rainmakers interviewed averaged over $4 million in annual business, approximately six times client service partners.
Future Firm Success
By downloading the complete survey, Law Firm Managing Partners and Hiring Partners will identify those characteristics most important to their firm’s culture and its long range success. And they will also have the ability to design a professional development program which they can use “. . . . .in grooming associates and junior partners to become productive members of their firms.” (Patricia K. Gillette)