What makes a good law firm rainmaker? The question and the personality type has been examined before, but a recent study of lawyer rainmakers indicates that the key characteristic of a good rainmaker in law firm marketing is risk taking.
averse personalities. But for rainmakers, something different is required according to the report from Lawyer Metrics, who indicate that the data for the study was collated from over300 partners, primarily at AmLaw 100 and AmLaw 200 firms.
These Rainmakers and Client Service Partners completed the Management Development Questionnaire (MDQ) assessment, which is designed to measure 20 separate behaviors that are related to workplace performance. Using this data, Lawyer Metrics developed a statistical model1 that reveals the extent to which each of the MDQ behaviors makes Rainmakers distinctive.
The results indicate that the MDQ measure of “Risk Taking” is one of the strongest factors separating Rainmakers from Client Service Partners. To a far greater degree than their counterparts, Rainmakers expressed a preference for challenging established practices and a willingness to bend the rules to achieve higher performance.
To make this finding concrete, consider two hypothetical partners. Pete plays it as safe as possible by contacting clients only when he “knows” they will be interested in talking with him. He “avoids” failure by taking limited and infrequent action. Accordingly, Pete scores two standard deviations below the mean on Risk Taking. Rachel, in contrast, is constantly engaged in efforts to generate new business for the firm. Always willing to put herself out there, risking repeated rejection, Rachel scores two standard deviations above the mean.
Given their respective Risk Taking scores, Figure 1 reports the probability that Pete and Rachel are Rainmakers. All else equal, Pete’s pensiveness and hesitancy earns him a low probability (0.45), and Rachel’s persistence in the face of initial rejection gives her a high probability (0.84) of being a Rainmaker.2 Thus, the difference between these two partners’ rainmaking probabilities is 0.39. When it comes to developing clients, Rachel is far more likely to do so successfully.
The Lawyer Metrics found four traits associated with rainmakers include:
• Seek dominance
• Become consumed by their work
• Effectively lead teams
• Be willing to take risks.
Check the full report on law firm rainmakers here