Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Grinder's and Drone's; Rainmaking is Not the Only Thing

Is it realistic or reasonable to expect that every lawyer in a law firm is a rainmaker? Some would argue, yes. It has even been suggested that personality tests should be conducted prior to hiring and lawyers that test as "non-rainmakers" should always be passed over... Hmmm.

For the good of the client and the sustainability of the firm; I would argue; No.

Without delving into multiple psychological studies I believe we can agree that the personality characteristics of rainmakers are excellent for bringing business through the door and are not always the best at keeping the work.

In the same way corporations divide the task of selling from the task of customer service. One part of an organization has to hire and equip people to sell, and another has to focus on keeping what is secured. If every lawyer in a firm has the psychological profile of a salesperson, who will take care of the clients after they are sold?

It has been my experience that the number of rainmakers in a firm usually equal the need to develop clients (most of the time but not always).

What a firm DOES need, in addition to rainmaker personalities, is lawyers that can do the work. Lawyers that are happy as (in the words of another author) "grinders and drones." Production is definitely as important as any part of the client development and retention process.

A successful firm is defined by the ability to bring in new business AND the capability to sustain the work.
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