In the Mind of the Rainmaker

At Pinsent Masons we are very keen to ensure that each of our offices becomes something of a hub for businesses in the local area; this is why we regularly run a variety of events that clients, potential clients and other intermediaries (including competitors) can attend in order to make connections and broaden their professional knowledge.

Last week the Leeds office invited a guest speaker to talk on the subject of what makes some people better at creating new business opportunities than others – colloquially these people are often referred to as ‘rainmakers’.  The talk was thought-provoking and we were all asked to consider which of the following common business generation mistakes we have been/are still guilty of:

 

  1. Being too passive and reactive and waiting for the work to come in
  2. Doing the same marketing and BD as your competitors
  3. Not leveraging existing relationships
  4. Not spending enough time building internal relationships
  5. Trying to do too many things at once
  6. Not following up after making new contacts
  7. Not maintaining frequent enough contact with existing connections
  8. Expecting results too quickly (and giving up too soon)
  9. Not prioritising the opportunities most likely to generate a positive return
  10. Devoting too little time to day to day business generation activity

 

Looking back over this list it struck me just how similar these pitfalls are to those that candidates frequently fall into when applying for a training contract or a gap year at the firm.  Below you can find my own take on what these common mistakes are:

 

  1. Being too passive and waiting for opportunities to be presented to you eg if the firm you are interested in doesn’t appear to be visiting your law fair investigate whether they offer an office insight evening instead
  2. Talking about the same things as others candidates on application forms or at interview; instead try to focus on the (relevant) things that make you stand out and suggest you are a good match for the firm
  3. Not leveraging existing relationships eg if you have a mentor at a law firm make sure you make full use of this relationship
  4. Not spending enough time building internal relationships eg consider how your university tutors, careers service or student law society be able to help you create opportunities to advance your career
  5. Trying to apply to too many firms at once and compromising the quality of your applications as a result
  6. Not following up after making new contacts eg following a law fair or campus event
  7. Not maintaining frequent enough contact with existing connections eg having completed work experience at a firm while at school make sure you don’t lose contact with the firm if you want to apply to them in future
  8. Expecting results too quickly (and giving up too soon) eg being rejected for a vacation placement at a firm doesn’t necessarily mean you cannot successfully apply for a training contract the following year, providing you can improve yourself as  a candidate
  9. Not prioritising the opportunities most likely to generate a positive return eg focus more time on applying to the firms you really want to work for and that you have made a relationship with already through attending events rather than those you understand less well
  10. Devoting too little time to day to day business generation activity eg don’t try to develop your commercial awareness/knowledge of the legal market the week before submitting an application/attending an interview devote 15 minutes a day to it every day instead.

 

Ask yourself which (if any) of the above you have been guilty of in the past and work hard to improve in these areas in the future; not only will it improve your applications but it should also help develop good habits for the future, that you can utilize when you start to get involved in business development as a trainee solicitor.

The Graduate Team