Skip to main content
Please enter a legal issue and/or a location
Begin typing to search, use arrow keys to navigate, use enter to select

Find a Lawyer

More Options

BigLaw 101: What 'Rainmaker' Really Means

By Gabriella Khorasanee, JD on December 19, 2013 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

If you thought law school was really just one big vocabulary lesson, then you're not alone. You don't leave law school with many practical tips, merely the language of law. You can talk the talk, but can't quite walk the walk.

Here's an example: Welcome to the world of BigLaw, where you have corner offices, company cars and rainmakers. Rain what? Rain who? Hold up, you thought you'd be in the legal industry, not forecasting weather trends. Before you run for your umbrellas, read on.

What's a "Rainmaker?"

If you Google the definition of "Rainmaker" it gives you two answers:

1. a person who attempts to cause rain to fall, either by rituals or by a scientific technique such as seeding clouds with crystals.
2. informal a person who generates income for a business or organization by brokering deals or attracting clients or funds.

Crystals and rituals aside, we're here to talk about definition number two: rainmaker as someone who brings in the big bucks for their firm.

So You Wanna Be Partner?

Get in line. But really, if you are serious about becoming partner at your firm, it's going to take more than billing 2000 hours/year for six to eight years -- you're going to have to be a rainmaker. Partners are responsible for bringing in the large clients they serve; they keep the bread buttered, the wheels rolling, and the (insert third cliché of preference here). If you want to make partner, you need to show them the money clients.

Rainmaking Tips

When you think about it, rainmaking really has to do with your contacts. Remember your sorority sisters, or your fellow campus organization members? They've all gone on to do wonderful things with their careers. As you are running on the partner track, some of them will be climbing the corporate ladder. Eventually, many of them will be in a position to hire an attorney. And you know who they will call? Ghostbusters. They will call their dear college friend who they know is one of the best and brightest.

As a summer, or first-year associate, you really don't need to worry about being a rainmaker -- just yet. If you want to set the foundation for the future, the best thing you can do is to keep in contact with your friends and associates from high school, college and law school. Also continue to build your potential client base by networking and attending industry events. Keep in touch with people you meet, and a few years down the line, you'll be a rainmaker yourself.

What's your plan for setting the foundation to be a rainmaker? Share it with us on Facebook at FindLaw for Legal Professionals.

Related Resources:

You Don’t Have To Solve This on Your Own – Get a Lawyer’s Help

Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.

Or contact an attorney near you:
Copied to clipboard