Rainmakers and trailblazers

This is my fourth book which was published in February 2014 by Legal Monitor. It’s a practical step-by-step guide to business development for lawyers.


Here are reviews from:

Senior partners at Thomson Snell & Passmore and Rix & Kay (April 2014)

Director of learning and development at Russell-Cooke (April 2014).

Here is a review published in Professional Marketing magazine by a corporate lawyer at DWF (May 2014).

Geoffrey Lander – former head of Real Estate at Nabarro and now Non Executive Chairman at Irwin Mitchell in London – gives his view  (June 2014)

Charles Christian, former barrister and editor of Legal IT Insider, gave a stunning review (June 2014)

Brian Inkster, head of leading Scottish firm Inksters, provided an amazingly detailed review (March 2015)

The cover price is £175 (£9.50 p&p).  Please order Rainmakers & Trailblazers here.

What’s it about and who’s it for?

Whether you work for a national or international law firm, business development is a vital aspect of your role as a partner or aspiring partner. However, it is rarely touched on in law school or post-qualification training, and most books only focus on one of two areas: practical actions and skills for the individual lawyer; or a strategic approach that focuses on the firm’s strategy, planning and its marketing infrastructure.

Rainmakers & Trailblazers: A practical step-by-step guide to effective business development for lawyers showing how their support teams can help bridges both of these key areas, providing step-by-step, pragmatic advice for lawyers as individuals (Part I), while also providing the organisational context (Part II), ensuring effective use is made of the firm’s central marketing and business development resources.

We think it will be useful for:

  • Senior partners who are considering firm wide programmes to increase the effectiveness of business development amongst lawyers
  • Partners who are keen to develop their own portfolios and that of their team through more structured business development
  • Aspiring partners and other senior lawyers who want to generate new business and grow their reputations and client and referrer networks
  • Those in support departments who want to help lawyers in their business development activities

Integrate marketing, selling and client/referrer relationship management

There are books about marketing, selling and relationship management (business development) for lawyers which focus on the practical actions and skills for the individual. There are books which take a more strategic and organisational focus starting with the firm’s business plan, marketing strategy and its marketing infrastructure. There are books which talk about traditional methods of legal marketing and those that concentrate on digital and social methods.

This book bridges all approaches – providing step-by-step pragmatic advice to what an individual lawyer (senior or junior, serving commercial or consumer markets) might do to get started or in specific situations (part one – the lawyer’s perspective).

Combine traditional and digital methods

It offers suggestions for both traditional and digital methods (although you can skip the social media ideas if you want to). And it does this whilst also providing the organisational context (part two – in the context of the market, your firm and department) to ensure that there is strategic, united and focused effort and use is made of the firm’s central marketing/business development and other resources. We don’t want you going off on some tangent or to reinvent the wheel.

Your personal and practical coach

The book is written in a conversational style – to make it feel like a personal coaching session for you. I’ve kept management and marketing jargon to a minimum and mentioned where you might get more information to fill in the gaps. There are pointers to where I have written blogs  or FAQs  on my web to give you more detail if you want it. Not everything in the book will suit everybody reading it, but there should be something for everyone.

Use action and check points on the trail

The book is best used as a workbook. Read each step and take some time out to undertake the suggested actions as they arise. Key steps are highlighted in “Trail Check Points”. That way you will be actually starting your business development programme as you read. That should motivate you.

Marketing and business development folk will find the book a useful tool when coaching their lawyers. There’s a lot of experience in here from the author who has been doing just that for over 20 years.

About the author

Kim Tasso has worked with lawyers since 1989. Yes, that’s nearly a quarter of a century. That was at the very start of law firm marketing – so she is definitely a pioneer and a trailblazer. She’s worked inside some of the largest international firms and also assisted some of the smallest.

Familiar with the needs of a wide variety of lawyers While she is most comfortable working with medium sized, owner manager law firm clients she is more than familiar with the larger corporates and the differences involved in relationships with corporate counsel.

Through the years she has spent a lot of time on the consumer side of things as well – and is well known particularly in the private client, family and personal injury markets. She has worked with organisations in the professional, real estate, media, technology, scientific, not for profit and public sectors – so she often understands the issues that your clients face.

Experienced legal trainer and coach She is one of the most prolific trainers of lawyers in an array of management, marketing (including social media) and selling skills. She has written books on these subjects and thousands of articles and blogs. And through her coaching work, she has worked on a one-to-one basis with hundreds of lawyers in different regions, practice areas and at all levels of seniority (from trainees to senior partners) to help them devise and implement effective business development plans.

Amongst Kim’s ancestors are Native Americans. So she feels a particular connection to the word “Rainmaker”. She also knows that success for them wasn’t about a lone brave out on his or her own, but the careful study of weather patterns, the local environment, the habits of their prey and the trailblazing activities conducted by the entire tribe working together.

See Kim Tasso’s biography.

Book Contents


The lawyer perspective

Marketing fundamentals as they apply to law firm business development

• What type of lawyer marketer are you?

• Knowing your strengths and preferences

• Marketing, selling and relationship management fundamentals

Prepare yourself

• Analyse your information (know your strengths and weaknesses)

• Organise yourself

• Understand your market

• Know what you’re selling – Preparing your messages and proposition

• Agree aims and objectives (financial projections)

• Select targets and critical relationships

• Create a plan

Deepen existing relationships

• Deliver service excellence

• Research clients and referrers

• Understand buying processes (working with procurement)

• Network through organisations

• Manage your referrers

• Manage the account, not just the matters

• Build a team around the client

• Plan for collaboration and growth

Raise your profile

• Create “Brand Me”

• Manage your online profile

• Develop web content and use SEO

• A word about advertising

• Gain external recognition

• Stand in the spotlight – newsletters, media relations, blogs

• Press the flesh – speaking engagements, networking

• Why you need your own campaign

Make connections

• Nurture internal relationships

• Network – on and off line

• Know when to request a meeting

• Productive first meetings

• Follow up

• An overview of selling

• Manage the sales process

Generate new business

• Basic selling skills

• Find the pain/needs

• Pitch at opportunities

• Close the deal

• Build the relationship once on a panel

• Work referrers for more

Get help

• Developing your business development skill set

• Targeting

• Rapport and trust

• Communication (NVC/empathy)

• Writing

• Persuasion

• Speaking and Presenting

• Questions and active listening

• Negotiation

• Motivation

Finalise your plan

In the context of the market, your firm and department

The market

• Why you need an outside-in approach

• Fast review of changes in the business and consumer worlds

• Research on what legal buyers want

• The role of procurement

Your firm’s strategy and plans

• What’s strategic planning?

• Working as a team as part of a sector or practice group

Make friends with finance

• Understanding the numbers

• The difference between forecasting and budgeting

• Information you need vs information they have

• Monitoring investment time

Love your marketing and PR team

• The marketing team is on your side. Yes, really

• Strategy, plans and research

• Systems and information

• Brand and reputation

• Lead generation and client engagement

• Product and service development (and project management)

• Pricing

• Measurement of effectiveness and return on investment

Who’s managing sales and relationship management?

• Managing the sales process and your pipeline

• Surviving large tenders and formal pitches

• Looking after major clients and key accounts

The need for information, research and knowledge management – and technology

• Market knowledge, analysis and commercial insight

• Legal know-how for systems

• Developing buyer profiles

• Client satisfaction surveys and service reviews

Help from human resources

• Working in the right environment – culture matters

• Feedback, fear and development

• The importance of motivation and reward