INTELLIGENCE, INSIGHTS & TACTICS FOR YOUR LAW PRACTICE
By K. William Gibson
Rainmaking Circles: Emphasizing
the Personal Touch
M ORE AND MORE INFORMATION can be found online and in print to help us build and manage our law practices. The Law Practice
Management Section (LPM) continues to produce great books,
CLE and, of course, magazine articles and columns. Readers
can pick and choose subjects in which they are interested and,
hopefully, pick up a few pointers to improve their practices.
Everything that we need to know, it seems, is available as an app
or somewhere in the cloud. We can read and digest information
in the comfort of our office, while riding on the train or having
coffee in the morning.
The problem is that gathering information, no matter how
valuable it may be, is a solitary pursuit. We get most of it while
we are alone and without any interaction with others in the
process. (Educational programs usually have a Q&A period, but
even there the communication is mostly one way.) This is true
both for lawyers working in large firms and solos working out
of their office or at a local coffee shop. Many lawyers report that
despite having an abundance of information at their fingertips,
they still long for that person-to-person interaction.
John Naisbitt, the well-known author of Megatrends, is credited with coining the term high tech/high touch, arguing in favor
of maintaining human interaction and the personal touch as a
counterbalance to the advance of the technological revolution.
Often, it appears, the solution being proposed for every problem
is more technology.
THE POWER OF THE CIRCLE
That is why I have been following with great interest the recent
efforts of the ABA Women Rainmakers Board’s “rainmaking
circles.” Rainmaking circles use technology, to be sure, but the
central feature is ongoing communication between the eight or
so members of each circle.
According to Susan Letterman
White, chair of the ABA Women
Rainmakers, group members
“discuss in confidence issues
pertaining to personal, career
“Two important networks for
any successful rainmaker are her
support and lead-generation networks.” Rainmaking circles serve as
both networks for many participants.
Members are from all over the U.S.,
and they also function as referral sources
for each other. Experienced circle members
and coaches serve as facilitators and provide
support and advice to others in the circle, operating as sounding boards. Members are assigned to circles
that meet periodically throughout the year, and each circle
decides what issue (or issues) to focus on. Circles have chosen
to share what marketing efforts have been successful for individual circle members, what various members are personally
doing to develop their practices, or in what industry sectors
circle members are identifying growth opportunities for their
businesses. They cover everything from networking to practice
management. Thanks to the efforts of Abby Risner, who reinvigorated and manages the rainmaking circles, they have become
extremely popular over the past two years and a highly sought-after benefit of membership with LPM.
This high touch approach not only involves sharing of information but also allows members to establish relationships within
the circle. These relationships, as with many others forged in
small-group environments, have the potential to last for years.