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Editor’s Note: This is the second installment in a series looking at business development issues and rainmaking methods. The rainmakers who spoke to The Legal for this article couldn’t be more different from one another. They include women and men, litigators and corporate attorneys, large-firm lawyers and small. But they all have the same general ideas when it comes to building a book of business, and they all have little tolerance for excuses. It takes time, effort and interest to become a rainmaker, and all of these rainmakers have paid their dues. “It’s very hard to say, �I’m going to be a rainmaker instead of being a lawyer,’” Ronald Klasko of immigration boutique Klasko Rulon Stock & Seltzer said. “You have to be a rainmaker in addition to being a lawyer, and you have to find the time.” If he asked himself whether he had the time to do everything that’s on his plate, Klasko said the answer would always be “no” so he just does them. “If you’re looking for a 9-to-5 and you have to work on cases [during that time,] then yeah, it’s probably difficult to become a rainmaker,” he said. Rainmaking takes work, a lot of planning and execution, he said. How They Did It Klasko said it could be easier to build a large book of business if one has a niche practice. Not every attorney knows a good immigration lawyer, for example, so getting one’s name out there should result in lots of referrals if an attorney is one of the few in a practice area who is on everyone’s radar screen. Before he joined Dechert in 1988 as a partner, Klasko was a partner at a small firm that had never done any immigration work. He decided it was important for him to develop a niche practice and learned immigration law with the anticipation that it might become 10 percent of his practice. He taught himself the law by “asking a hundred people a hundred questions” and ultimately turned into an expert. Each year, Klasko creates a client development plan for himself that looks at emerging trends in his field, what areas of the law he should learn up on and which clients he should target. Having a plan and getting the work are two different things. Every time there is a new law or regulation relating to immigration, Klasko said he tries to be the first one to write an article on the topic. That could lead to speaking engagements and ultimately recognition of him as an expert on the new law. Klasko is also a big believer in joining organizations � whether it is industry based or bar associations � and becoming active within those groups. Not everyone takes the time, and if a certain attorney is always there, that attorney will quickly rise up the ranks of the organization. One of the best things to remember, he said, is that the best source for new business is existing clients. General counsel and executives talk to one another and refer attorneys they feel did a good job. Klasko started out representing mainly individuals, but through referrals his practice has grown to include mainly organizations. Both Kathleen M. Shay, a corporate partner at Duane Morris, and Nina M. Gussack, head of Pepper Hamilton and its health effects litigation practice, said they were fortunate to have excellent mentors who brought them along to meetings and pitched their skills to clients. That led to stronger resumes, which led to more work, which led to rainmaking. “The more clients you have, the more you get,” Shay said. Read more about it in Monday’s Legal.

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