Six books that will make you a better rainmaker

Hand with can watering money tree
Anecdotes and tips are useful, but they can’t replace thorough research

By Daniel Waldman

On Thursday December 6th, 2018


Like many mid-career lawyers, I’ve recently turned my mind to business development. At first, I found this transition difficult. There was no IKEA-style guide that could explain, in step-by-step instructions, how to build a roster of clients.

But there are books that break down the fundamental business concepts that every rainmaker has to master. So I started to read. Here are six books that have become my go-to resources on business development.

Originate: Business Development for Lawyers

By Michelle Cotter Richards

Originatebook-iconAs the title suggests, this book is for the big-firm crowd. In this short work, Richards (a former big-firm litigator) begins by explaining that, in the modern legal market, lawyers can’t simply grind out billable hours. They have to dedicate serious time to bringing in clients.

Richards acknowledges that business development is a long-term goal — not an overnight feat. Which means aspiring big-firm rainmakers need to start with a plan. The first step is to establish your own brand and then figure out how to sell it to clients. This book is a great way to start laying the foundation for building a practice.

The Opportunity Maker

By Ari Kaplan


This book is an excellent resource for enterprising junior lawyers. Kaplan, a career coach and former lawyer outlines the principals and strategies that lawyers can use to build their brands and market themselves to clients. Kaplan emphasizes the importance of harnessing human relationships. He is a firm believer in the power of personal connections as a means of building a name for ourselves in the marketplace.


The Rainmaking Mindset for Attorneys: Attracting Clients, Winning Business and Increasing Profits

By Liz Wendling


Are you going to make excuses or are you going to make it rain? That’s the question that Wendling, a practice-development coach, poses in her book, which is both a business-development guide and a pep talk.

Her main argument is that rainmakers are made, not born. If we learn to think the right way and dedicate ourselves to the task, the results will follow.  I would recommend this to book to anyone who has a defeatist attitude toward business development.


Clientelligence: How Superior Client Relationships Fuel Growth and Profits

By Michael B Rynowecer


Anecdotes and tips are always useful, but they can’t replace thorough research. That is exactly what Rynowecer delivers. Based on personal interviews with more than 14,000 C-Level executives, Rynowecer explains how corporate clients think. By absorbing this advice, we can not only learn how to generate business, but we also learn how to nourish client relationships and avoid common blunders that could cost us big files.

The Ultimate Law Firm Associate’s Marketing Checklist

By Ross Fishman


This brisk book cuts right to the chase. Fishman provides a point-form checklist of steps that associates can take as they progress through their careers. These steps include brand development, marketing and network building. Fishman shows lawyers how to enhance their profile by using resources at their disposal, such as social media and your firm’s marketing tools.

Networking Success

By Walter Timoshenko


This short, accessible book is not geared specifically towards lawyers, but it’s full of useful advice on how to approach networking events, make meaningful connections, communicate effectively and work a room in a genuine way.  This book is very helpful for those who are intimidated (or just turned-off) by the thought of networking.

I know that in this business, time is at a premium. We would rather spend our precious free moments watching Netflix or spending time with family and friends. But if you want to start building a practice, it starts with just a few minutes a day of dedicated time. How you spend this time is up to you, but reading these books is a good place to start.


Daniel_Waldman-headshotDaniel Waldman is an associate in the litigation group at Daoust Vukovich LLP. His practice focuses on real estate and debt-collection matters.