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Make it Rain: Secrets to building a successful book of business

The highest paid attorneys focus on practice areas that are in demand, year after year. Prodigious rainmakers build a big book of business logging endless billable hours. Corporate attorneys typically do a lot of private equity deals and mergers and acquisitions. These deals feed manyt of lawyers at the firm. Understand that no firm is going to want to lose you if you make it rain, Ultimately that should be reflected in how you are compensated.

Job titles at law firms may not necessarily lead to higher compensation. Law firms reward results, an attorney’s book of business is the most significant factor when considering compensation or adding on a new partner.

“As a legal recruiter, I’ve placed many top producers with prestigious law firms. — Shari Davidson, President On Balance Search Consultants. Going In-House is not the panacea, create your own destiny by building a powerful book of business.”

How to build a successful book of business.

Building a book of business takes time, here are some great tips on how the best make it rain:

Quality not Quantity

Develop several long-term relationships, that you are in personal contact with all the time.  These types of relationships doesn’t happen overnight. The relationships must be mutually beneficial to both parties.  If your clients see you as a trusted advisor they will send you work and give you referrals. Five to ten close relationships are worth much more that 500 LinkedIn connections.

Take Care of Existing Clients

About 80 percent of lawyers’ business comes from their existing client base.  Current clients account for the majority of your business, don’t neglect your  existing relationships. 

Make sure you promptly return calls and emails. Think about your client’s business, what affects them, and how you can help them today and tomorrow. 

Regularly exceed expectations. 

Lawyers are leaving money on the table by not building relationships. A valued and trusted adviser brings in more business from your existing clients.

Improve your Value Proposition

Develop a strategic business plan that highlights your strengths. Bill for value added, not time spent. Clients want to know you care about their business, that they are not just a number. 

Strong relationships last, they bring in more business and strengthen your reputation. Be good to your referral sources, some of whom will be your own law firm. Take special care of clients who were referred to you, future referral sources are based on the success of how well they feel they were served.

Hone your Skill-Set

Professional development never ends — digital marketing is a great resource for gaining new clients. Work with a public relations firm to build trust and authority to establish you and the firm as a leader in the field of law you specialize in. Hone your critical-thinking and problem-solving skills beyond the practice of law.

Attorneys aren’t going to become the best-paid at their firm without working hard for it, that’s not enough. Look for ways to think outside of the box for that next big client. 

Keep your eye on what’s important — focus on being a team player who has the best interests of the law firm. Build your book of business and understand the firm’s corporate culture, just don’t get caught up in the politics.

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About On Balance Search Consultants

On Balance offers great insight and industry intelligence.  Shari Davidson, president of On Balance Search Consultants, advises law firms on how to take a firm to the next level and helps rising talent make the transition to the right law firm.

Contact us today.  Call 516.731.3400 or visit our website at

Please note that the content of this blog does not constitute legal advice and is only intended for the educational purpose of the reader.  Please consult your legal counsel for specifics regarding your specific circumstances and the laws in your states pertaining to social media and any legal restrictions regarding the law.


Ms. Davidson, a highly skilled human resources executive with over 20 years’ experience that specializes in finding top talent in the legal community. Shari has placed lateral partner attorneys, as well as group acquisitions & law firm mergers and has assisted several prominent clients in recruiting lateral associates, paralegals and internal professional administrative positions.