Practice Development Counsel

Phyllis weiss haserot
Phyllis weiss haserot

President & Founder

212 593-1549

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Don't You Think The Solution Is To Simply Bring In A Good Rainmaker?

August 2006

It's no secret that many firms' marketing plans are built around one central strategy: acquire individual attorneys and groups with substantial books of business. Some law firms are looking like baseball teams full of free agents switching allegiance with ever greater frequency. Is this good for the fans or the clients?

While large firms, like baseball teams in major media markets may have the big bucks to pay for perceived large talent, the “let's go buy a rainmaker” strategy may be trickier for smaller firms to pull off and absorb. (Not that large firms necessarily manage it so well either, but they are not as dependent on a few individuals.) Of course, the intention going in is not continuous mobility. However, multiple moves do occur if an effective lateral integration plan is not put in place and executed well. (For articles and checklists on lateral integration see

If you think the solution is to bring in a good rainmaker, a seemingly attractive option, ask and answer these questions:

  • What is your plan for attracting and keeping the rainmaker? Rainmakers don't grow on trees, and they can be very mobile. Can your firm accept a culture of free agency?
  • Is the culture of your firm such that it can welcome a “star,” collaborate and avoid resentments?
  • Most important, how will you build on the strengths of the rest of the firm to pull their weight and capitalize on what the rainmaker can do?


There are many potentially sensitive issues that can arise and damage a firm's cohesiveness when bringing in a rainmaker is looked to for salvation. Be sure that it's not like expecting Manny Ramirez to win the World Series by himself. (Especially since he is a quirky person and the Red Sox have lost many of their top players – but I digress.) If they are the “right” people for your firm, will fit in and share the vision of your firm, rainmakers are a tremendous asset, no doubt. One that does not fit in can do more harm than good in terms of internal morale, economics and even client dissatisfaction.

I caution you to think through this decision, plan carefully and do the hard work necessary. There are no magic pills, and the rest of the lawyers in the firm still have to put out their best effort.

Phyllis Weiss Haserot is the president of Practice Development Counsel, a business development and organizational effectiveness consulting and coaching firm with a special focus on inter-generational relations in the workplace. Reach her at 212-593-1549 or

For training, coaching and special programs on maximizing the potential of your organization and your young professionals, call Phyllis for an exploratory talk or complimentary coaching session at 212-593-1549 or e-mail at: See and Ask about our ground-breaking *Next Generation, Next Destination* transitioning planning programs and services for baby boomer senior professionals and their firms.