Best Practices in Transitioning from Associate to Partner Rainmaker

There is no single success formula for becoming a rainmaker. It takes commitment, diligence, and business development savvy to play the part, and keep it. Successful rainmakers draw on personal strengths to build relationships, market their services, and reign in a pipeline of new business for their firms.

Here are a few key strategies associates can use to take their legal careers to the next level.

Laser-Focused Business Development

Law firm associates who want to make partner must have a laser-focused business development plan. They need to make it a priority, and follow it consistently. Some successful rainmakers create a system in which maybe the first ten minutes of each day involves an opportunity to market the firm. Others may schedule business development on their calendars, just like a meeting or court hearing.

Time management is also a factor in business development. In addition to scheduled business development time, associates should take advantage of networking opportunities throughout the day. Spending a few extra minutes to deepen relationships at the end of conversations with clients may dramatically increase the probability of being hired again.

Cultivate Client Relationships

As rainmakers know, the majority of new business comes from existing or past clients, and referral sources, NOT from people they have never done business with before. In fact, successful rainmakers treat their clients as well as, or BETTER than they would treat a prospect. They recognize that existing clients are the most important people for marketing and building a book of business.

As law firm associates begin to work with clients, they should take the time to nurture their clients by:

  • Providing excellent service.
  • Staying in touch.
  • Asking for feedback.
  • Showing appreciation.

Rainmaking success is borne from hard work and building critical habits; habits that consistently boost confidence, marketing, business development abilities. Ultimately, a successful rainmaker is not only a great business developer, but also someone who is a trusted advisor and skilled under pressure.

Jacqueline Hill, Esq.

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Jacqueline Hill is a partner at Lexacount Search, where she places top senior-level and other legal talent with law firms and corporate legal departments across the United States. She has been writing about careers, lawyers, attorney professional development, and the legal industry for more than a decade. She can be reached at or 215-740-0104, extension 101.

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