The Brief

We were engaged by this £250m t/over Top 25 UK law firm at the request of the Chief Exec of their Business Legal Services division, initially to run two pilot Rainmaker Programmes.  The firm gained recognised “Superbrand” status in 2019. It has ambitious growth aspirations in various areas of business law in addition to its well-known personal injury practice.  It has set challenging targets for its teams and the CEO recognised that their Partners and other senior lawyers would need to be as skilled as possible in business development and pitching.

Delegate Selection

The Chief Exec asked Heads of Teams and Sectors to nominate appropriate potential delegates and from the resulting pool they hand-picked two small groups - comprising Partners and a few Partner-track high potential Senior Associates.  No-one got a place on the Programme unless they were really up for it and were regarded as a star or potential future star. The firm also recognised the need to involve relevant business development managers in the pilot programmes along with their Head of BD.  They allocated a senior Learning & Development Manager to support the groups and we got underway. 

Embedding the Programme Learning

After delivery of the core Rainmaker initial three day sessions for the two cohorts, we worked with the firm to bespoke a series of Business Growth Workshops and ran those over the course of the next five months combined with some one-to-one mentoring/coaching sessions. All of this was aimed at embedding the learning and tying it back to the delegates using their enhanced skills to help them achieve their business plan objectives. The final session involved a facilitated “feedback, lessons learned and what next” workshop attended by their Chief Executive and Group Chief Executive.  The thing at Irwin Mitchell did really well was having full buy-in from senior Partners on the Board right from the outset. 

the results

The results have been fantastic.  The attitude and behaviour changes in the Partners is clear.  The BDMs are also now more highly regarded by the Partners and are being actively engaged far more by the Partners in front line client facing BD activities.  The fee income attributed by the pilot group delegates to application of skills learned on the Programme is into seven figures.  The firm was delighted.  They booked in another two Programmes with us straight after the initial pilot Programmes.

View from the CEO, Vicky Brackett

An important part of our growth plan is to support our people in developing their confidence and agility within the market; to win new clients and to have the confidence to ask for opportunities.  The Rainmaker programme complemented perfectly our desire to achieve commercial improvement whilst maintaining and enhancing a culture that supports our people focusing on their strengths, and challenging their thinking.

The programme quickly became an integral part of our strategy – incorporated as one of our pillars for growth; recognising that skills and confidence were essential for success. Our initial programme was rolled out to a second cohort and by incorporating mentoring from cohort 1 we built an effective rainmaker team across our business able to ask great questions, keep curious and win great work. 

Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the pace, the challenge and the thrill of winning that the Rainmaker programme allowed them to experience. 

working in tandem with the firm's bd teams

Perspective from Lee Harding, Head of Business Development

I think for me as a delegate the programme is incredibly well structured, thorough, intense but fast-paced (which really helps) with a great balance of anecdotes, practical and theory.

Ultimately implementing the programme was about shifting the mindset to growth, generating confidence and empowering our people, to uncover some hidden gems in the business (rising stars) whilst helping more experienced lawyers fine tune their craft. These people are now displaying behaviours on a consistent basis that are influencing other lawyers at all levels in the business which is creating a halo effect.

I’ve personally seen a big shift in how we now approach BD through the lens of the client’s needs (in bids etc) as well as moving away from ‘I can..’ to ‘we can..’ so supressing self-interest in action!