These Associates Say It’s Never Too Early to Start Rainmaking

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Their techniques may differ, but these associates are focused on the same goal: Working on rainmaking early in their careers.

The Recorder interviewed several California associates about their business development efforts and found they actively sought out networking opportunities and sought to develop ties to potential clients.

Connie Merriett said she spends about 20 hours a month on business development and finds that every social event can be a networking opportunity—even her child’s T-ball games. She also hopes to see results from her volunteer work as chair-elect of an ABA committee and as a member of the Hastings College of the Law’s alumni board of governors.

“I may or may not ever get a client out of my volunteer work,” she told the Recorder. “But I’m laying the groundwork now, because it’s extremely difficult as a 10th- or 12th-year attorney to start networking—by then it may be too late.”

Nicholas Movaghar, a business litigation associate at Liner Yankelevitz Sunshine & Regenstreif, is seeking business from a rental car company in which his uncle is a franchisee. Movaghar got to know a lawyer in the general counsel’s office and developed the friendship. About a year later, the lawyer gave Movaghar a small matter that, unfortunately, the firm was unable to handle because of a conflict.

Movaghar felt a sense of accomplishment nonetheless. “It was a very, very good feeling,” he told the newspaper, “because it’s a large client that usually has set law firms they go to, and he was willing to give me an opportunity based on our firm’s accomplishments and the relationship that I had built with him.”

Liner Yankelevitz offers its associates incentives for such efforts in the form of 15 percent of the fees from any business they bring in. Firms such as Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo encourage rainmaking by paying for lawyers to join associations and attend networking events.

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