Which came first, the succcessful Rainmaker or the Happy Lawyer?

Lots of lawyers out there toil away year-after-year doing work they can tolerate but don’t enjoy for clients they can tolerate but don’t actually care about.  They tell themselves that not caring too much about a client keeps them objective and the work is a means to an end.  The end being to make enough money so they will be happy.

My experience in my own career and in my deeper-than-average involvement with the careers of many Rainmakers – and the sideline view I’ve had of many unhappy legal careers – has me convinced that the way to BECOME a successful Rainmaker is to do work we enjoy for clients who we do care about.  And there’s no lawyer out there who can’t build some happiness into his or her career – THAT’S ONE OF THE GREAT THINGS ABOUT BEING A RAINMAKER!!!

You see, one of the main causes for lawyer stress in small firms where no-one is feeding you work is the worrry about where the next case is going to come from.  In most practice areas the life of a case is less than one year, so whatever cases you’re working on now will in all likelihood be out of your active case roster & probably out of your life within 12 months.  That’s stressful if you don’t know where to get more work, but very liberating if you do.  Because if you know how to make it rain you can be deliberate about going after the kinds of cases you would prefer to work on and/or for the kinds of clients whom you can say honestly to yourself that you actually care about.

And before you start to make excuses, let me just add one more point of reassurance…in every practice area you can find ways to get cases you will enjoy and/or serve clients you will care about.  It doesn’t happen overnight & it may never be 100%.  Make your goal perfection & you’ll go nuts.  With progress as your mantra you can always make yourself happy.