Jackson Walker partner Alfie Meyerson was profiled in November 2016 by Law360 as part of its Rainmaker Q&A Series.
The series asks leaders at top law firms what skills are necessary to be a rainmaker for their firm, including not only how they attract clients, but how they develop the client relationship and how they maintain their status as a rainmaker over time.
According to Alfie, the most important attribute of a rainmaker is, without question, legal skill. The second most important attribute is developing a disciplined approach to business development. For Alfie, this involves setting and meeting goals. “I routinely set goals for myself and then come up with a plan of easy, doable, quantifiable steps toward those goals. I’ve never bought into setting goals that I can’t control — such as getting a certain number of new clients. . . . Instead, I always focus on what I can control — for example, participating in civic activities, writing CLE papers, scheduling a certain number of client lunches each month and, most importantly, planning visits to my clients’ offices and facilities.”
While business development initiatives may take time to bear fruit, a well-prepared client pitch can offer more immediate gratification. The key, according to Alfie, is preparation. Armed with knowledge about the potential client, their industry, and their current legal needs, an attorney is positioned to address those needs. Preparation shows interest and investment and as Alfie notes, “[I]t’s far better to be interested, than interesting.” Sometimes, however, preparation isn’t enough. Signing a particular client may also take years of tenacity and persistence.
Alfie’s advice for aspiring rainmakers is to set out a career plan for developing business. “It starts with maintaining college friendships, developing relationships in law school (just think of all those future general counsels who will become their clients), getting involved in a civic activity (ideally, in an area of their passion that includes members of the business community), taking an active role in the bar and finding a way to learn as much as they can about their clients’ industry.”
As to remaining a rainmaker, the greatest challenge Alfie warns is learning to juggle excellent legal representation with the demands of successful business development. Joining the right firm and working together as a team to implement the firm’s business plan can make a significant difference.
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Alfred M. “Alfie” Meyerson is a partner in Jackson Walker’s Houston office. For over three decades he has practiced real estate law focusing on all aspects of commercial real estate transactions. He is considered “an excellent and gifted real estate attorney who is both innovative and responsive and whose knowledge of all aspects of real estate law is unsurpassed” according to The Best Lawyers in America which this month named him 2017 Real Estate Law ‘Lawyer of the Year’ for Houston. Alfie has received numerous other accolades over the years, including recognition by Chambers USA, The Best Lawyers in America, and Texas Super Lawyers.