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Until he saw Elizabeth in action, John thought he was a rainmaker.
A new partner at a prominent Manhattan law firm, John had carefully prepared a personal business plan--after last year's firm retreat--that tied his career goals to his firm's most important strategic objectives. Since then, he wrote several articles on topics important to his clients and spoke at twice as many events as any other new partner in the firm. The number of networking events he'd attended? He lost count at 15. Moreover, he'd been quoted in several prominent publications, including the Wall Street Journal and his prospective clients' favorite industry rags. As far as he could tell, he was doing all the big things right.
Sure enough, the business was beginning to trickle in.
Elizabeth, also a new partner in the same firm, was known for her technical expertise, but she lacked the gregarious personality of the traditional rainmaker. Like John, she had taken definite although less ambitious steps to build her reputation in the marketplace. Yet here's the kicker: In her first year as a partner, she generated three times as much business as John did!
John wanted to know the secret. Fortuitously, Elizabeth was on a potential client's short list and was just then planning to meet with the in-house attorney responsible for hiring outside counsel. She invited John to accompany her.
Here's what happened.
First, John and Elizabeth met to discuss what they knew about the client and to go over their approach to the upcoming meeting. While John had gathered some useful information, he was impressed by the degree to which Elizabeth had studied the client and its situation. In addition to checking for conflicts, she had gathered a wealth of information in five key areas:
* The client's organization
* The client's business
* The client's legal issues
* The client's competition
* The firm's competition
It was clear that she had scoured all available resources, from …