What makes rainmakers different? What do they have that other lawyers don’t? The easy answer: They have clients. But, as a developing body of research is showing, they also have tendencies that make business development come as naturally to them as, say, being critical does to their partners.

The latest report comes from Lawyer Metrics, an analytics company founded by William Henderson, the Indiana University law professor. Called simply “The Rainmaking Study,” it’s an effort to identify client-magnet traits. In the modern era this work began roughly a dozen years ago, when Larry Richard, a lawyer turned psychologist and now consultant, published an insightful essay on the personality characteristics found in rainmakers. His work identified three traits—ego drive, empathy and resilience—that were found more often in rainmakers than in service partners.

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