In the Rainmaking Study: How Lawyers’ Personality Traits and Behaviors Drive Successful Client Development, Monique Drake and Evan Parker-Stephen found that there is a greater probability that a partner is a rainmaker if he/she exhibits the following four characteristics.

  1. Engagement ( a desire to be regularly engaged in an activity, usually work related).
  2. Dominance (a tendency to exercise power and influence over others).
  3. Motivates Others (an ability to manage a team through delegation and empowerment).
  4. Risk-taker (a willingness to question established methods).

Engagement and Dominance are the two most important characteristics for rainmaking. Engagement does not necessarily mean higher billable hours. Instead, it means the need to always be busy.

What ultimately distinguishes rainmakers from other partners is their motivation for developing their own clients. Rainmakers want to develop their own clients to avoid being indebted to anyone else for work as opposed to doing it for the glory.

Surprisingly, the authors found that rainmakers were less likely to have graduated from a top-ten law school.