It’s been a festival of webinars over here lately, so I’ve got one more recap for you this year! Yesterday, we hosted Jaimie Field, esq. of Marketing Field, who presented on the in-house marketers’ guide to motivating your attorneys to rainmaking success. 

Jaimie kicked off by saying that the short version of her presentation is that you can’t motivate them. It’s not possible to motivate someone else – they have to motivate themselves. But what the in-house marketers or marketing partners CAN do is to provide the attorneys at their firm with the tools they need to help them to motivate themselves to rainmaking success. 

While Jaimie didn’t address specific tactics, she did identify what attorneys need from their in-house marketers in terms of their marketing genius and motivating prowess. 

Often, attorneys lump marketing and rainmaking into one category. But they’re not the same – marketing is communicating what you can do to prospective clients, while rainmaking is converting those people into clients. 

There are two types of marketing – reactive and proactive.  Jaimie shared a slide that offered examples of the tactics that fit into each category. 


  • Advertising
  • Websites
  • Yellow pages
  • Brochures
  • Newsletters
  • Articles
  • Client Surveys
  • Seminars & public speaking
  • Email and email newsletters
  • Direct mail
  • Blogs
  • Social media
  • Interviews
  • Public relations


  • Networking
  • Referral systems
  • Entertaining for business
  • Law firm networks
  • Warm nominators
  • Cold calling
  • Articles
  • Client surveys
  • Seminars & public speaking
  • Email and email newsletters
  • Direct mail
  • Blogs
  • Social media
  • Special events
  • Trade shows
  • Public relations

As you can see, there is a lot of crossover between the two lists. However, the proactive activities are the ones to focus on because proactive marketing equals rainmaking. Proactive marketing allows attorneys to personally connect with potential clients or referral sources, and what makes it "rainmaking" is taking it from this stage of connection to creating relationships with these people. 

As we’ve talked about here before at Zen, people do business with those they know, like and trust, and rainmaking is about creating these kinds of relationships. While many of the activities on the proactive marketing list are things that marketers can either do for their attorneys, or at least start for them, it’s up to the marketers to teach their attorneys how to follow up on each of these to create those relationships, as well as convince them to follow up.  For example, the marketing department may set up a special event for the firm, but the attorneys have to attend the event, talk to the other guests, and follow up with them afterwards. 

Jaimie said that people are motivated by two things – pleasure and pain. Different people will have different motivations, such as more money, more recognition, time off from work, promotions, opportunities for learning, etc. Each of these things represents either an attempt to pursue pleasure or avoid pain. Jaimie used the example of someone who is motivated by money, saying that they are usually a person with a fear of not having enough. 

So when attempting to motivate someone, it’s necessary to identify whether they’re seeking pleasure, or attempting to avoid pain. How to do this? By listening. Jaimie said that marketers need to become both psychic and psychologist – and to do this, they need to ask the right questions and then listen for the answer.  She added that coach Cordell Parvin always says: 

Teaching is about giving the right answers; Coaching is about asking the right questions." 

Listening is an art, so to excel at the art of listening, you need to: 

  1. Turn your body to fully face the attorney with whom you are speaking. 
  2. Listen to their answers. Do not talk at all. Let them talk until they are finished – this can be difficult because we have a tendency to wait for an opportunity to respond, rather than just to listen, but it’s essential to train yourself to do this. 

So what kinds of questions should marketers be asking their attorneys? The first is "What are your goals for your practice?"  If it’s necessary to help them clarify the question, ask them specifically how much money they want to earn, how they want to be perceived by the public, and how they want to be perceived within the firm. 

Use the acronym SMART to help the attorneys set goals that are concrete and specific – this stands for Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, and Time Bound or Time Sensitive (has a deadline). Jaimie illustrated this by using the example of wanting to lose weight. To do so, she would set a SMART goal by making sure it’s…

  • S = Specific: Lose 20 pounds (this is more specific than "I want to lose weight.)
  • M = Measurable?: Yes. 
  • A = Action: Can I take action? Yes – eat less, eat healthier foods, work out. 
  • R = Realistic?: This depends – is it a healthy, reasonable goal for you? 
  • T = Time Bound or Deadline: A reasonable deadline is 2 pounds per week, or 10 weeks. 

Jaimie added another criteria in there, making it a SMARTY goal – the Y stands for YOU. It has to be the goal-setter’s goal, and not someone else’s, to get the commitment of the attorney. The only time that the goal setter can achieve someone else’s goal is when there is enough pain associated with not achieving it – such as a doctor telling their patient that they will end up in the hospital if they don’t lose weight. 

The next question to ask the attorneys is "Why do you want to achieve this goal?" They may be looking for success/achievement, because of anxiety or fear – to avoid failure, to get approval, praise or acceptance, because of curiosity/wanting to be exposed to interesting work, or acquisitiveness, like tangible material benefit. 

Once the marketer knows the "why" behind the attorney’s goal, he or she can ask them whether they’re truly committed to achieving it. And at this point, the marketer can help them to set up their rainmaking plan, which will include their expectations, deadlines and follow up.  Jaimie emphasized that the plan has to be the attorney’s plan, and not the firm’s plan for them. 

Marketers have the ability to teach their attorneys how to correctly use the various tactics Jaimie mentioned earlier – this training is important, since law school doesn’t teach attorneys how to be business people, and the fear of failure keeps many attorneys from trying. But if attorneys don’t start rainmaking, they won’t have a book of business. Attorneys are trained to "find the win," though, so marketers can teach them the winning strategies. 

Along with educating them, marketers need to seek their attorneys’ input regularly to find out how they feel about how they’re doing, and what is or isn’t working for them.  For example, the marketer may find out that an attorney committed to attending networking events hasn’t been going. It’s important to identify why that might be. In some cases, the attorneys will be shy, but Jaimie said that even if they’re extremely shy, it’s possible to teach them how to network. Suggest to them that they look for where the food  or bar is, and identify the other shy person in the room who is likely on the edges of the room, and seek them out.

She also suggested touching on these points when soliciting input and feedback: 

  • Why do you think this isn’t working for you? 
  • Are you afraid to use one of the tactics? 
  • Do you need more knowledge on how to do something? 
  • Seek their input to develop ideas that work for them. Empower the attorneys to come up with their own ideas. 

The other component necessary to effectively motivating attorneys is to provide immediate and personal feedback. As an example, if an attorney attends a networking event, talk to them the following day about how it went, and give them an "atta boy." Help them to follow up with all of the business cards they received, rather than just leaving them on a corner of their desk. This kind of feedback will help them to feel good about themselves.

Jaimie shared a quote from Mary Kay Ash of Mary Kay cosmetics to illustrate this point: 

Pretend that every single person you meet has a sign around his or her neck that says: ‘Make me feel important.’ Not only will you success in sales [rainmaking], you will success in life."

People inherently want to feel important and valued, so if you can make them feel appreciated, this will validate your relationship with them. Jaimie cautioned that it’s important to be genuine with this feedback though, and these will have a domino effect. She further suggested that attorneys similarly give positive feedback to their clients. 

As part of this, build a culture of acknowledgement within the firm – it may be necessary to get buy-in from the managing partner or management committee. Some of Jaimie’s suggestions for how to do this include: 

  • Emailing the firm when an attorney has written a blog post. 
  • Praise the attorneys in social media for their accomplishments and ask others in the firm to share your post with their followers/connections. 
  • Share "wins" within the firm, especially with management or practice leaders. 

When someone feels good about something, they will keep doing it.  So if an attorney is not acknowledged for writing blog posts, they may wonder what the point is of doing them.  Building this culture of acknowledgement will reinforce the activities of the attorneys, and these activities will also secondarily have the effect of boosting the marketer’s profile as well. 

While it may sound corny, Jaimie admitted, it’s also essential to say "thank you." She noted that these two words will do more to increase productivity than any others in the English language. 

Jaimie then went back to the motivators of pleasure versus pain, saying that once the marketer determines how their attorneys are motivated, they can put together a list of the costs if they don’t do the activity or the benefits if they do (depending on their motivation). 

But even with all of this motivation, marketers will still find that, as Adrian Dayton says, SWSWSW – "Some Will, Some Won’t, So What." There will be attorneys who will never be interested in being rainmakers, so marketers should spend their time on those who are! 

Thanks to Jaimie for a great session! 

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Photo of Lindsay Griffiths Lindsay Griffiths

Lindsay Griffiths is the International Lawyers Network’s Executive Director. She is a dynamic, influential international executive and marketing thought leader with a passion for relationship development and authoring impactful content. Griffiths is a driven, strategic leader who implements creative initiatives to achieve the…

Lindsay Griffiths is the International Lawyers Network’s Executive Director. She is a dynamic, influential international executive and marketing thought leader with a passion for relationship development and authoring impactful content. Griffiths is a driven, strategic leader who implements creative initiatives to achieve the goals of a global professional services network. She manages all major aspects of the Network, including recruitment, member retention, and providing exceptional client service to an international membership base.

In her role as Executive Director, Griffiths manages a mix of international programs, engages a diverse global community, and develops an international membership base. She leads the development and successful implementation of major organizational initiatives, manages interpersonal relationships, and possesses executive presence with audiences of internal and external stakeholders. Griffiths excels at project management, organization, and planning, writes and speaks with influence and authority, and works independently while demonstrating flexibility in thinking, especially in challenging situations. She also adapts to diverse and dynamic environments with constant assessment and recalibration.

JD Supra Readers Choice Top Author 2019

In 2021, the ILN was honored as Global Law Firm Network of the Year by The Lawyer European Awards, and in 2016, 2017, and 2022, they were shortlisted as Global Law Firm Network of the Year. Since 2011, the Network has been listed as a Chambers & Partners Leading Law Firm Network, recently increasing this ranking to be included in the top two percent of law firm networks globally, as well as adding two regional rankings. She was awarded “Thought Leader of the Year” by the Legal Marketing Association’s New York chapter in 2014 for her substantive contributions to the industry and was included in Clio’s list of “34 People in Legal You Should Follow on Twitter.” She was also chosen for the American Bar Association Journal’s inaugural Web 100‘s Best Law Blogs, where judge Ivy Grey said “This blog is outstanding, thoughtful, and useful.” Ms. Griffiths was chosen as a Top Author by JD Supra in their 2019 Readers’ Choice Awards, for the level of engagement and visibility she attained with readers on the topic of marketing & business development. She has been the author of Zen & the Art of Legal Networking since February 2009.