Mewburn Ellis LLP is one of Europe's leading intellectual property firms and one of the UK's largest firms of Chartered Patent Attorneys, European Patent Attorneys, European Trade Mark Attorneys and European Design Attorneys.

The firm has experienced terrific growth over the years but there is still a huge focus on business development to maintain this. Many of the staff have science backgrounds and as analysts, are more challenged by the softer skills side of BD.

A series of programmes delivered by CEO Russell Wardrop and Head of Legal Michael Fleming- from keynote presentations at two annual conferences to fast one day BD interventions- aimed at transforming business development skills and behaviours, as well as fostering a culture of Rainmaking throughout all levels in the business.

Our CEO had to go back to the 20th floor office after day three of Rainmaker as he had left his laptop behind. In the lift, the other descending passenger remembered Russell from the conference keynote six months earlier. Russell mentioned he had just completed Rainmaker, “I know, there was no room for me on that one. I want to be on the next one.” 

Creating scarcity is the sweet spot when developing time poor senior people: they need to be keen to be in the room. We worked closely with Mewburn’s Marketing & BD Director to ensure everyone wanted to be there for what is a big time commitment.

Facilitators: 94%

  • very engaging; fast paced and requiring full concentration
  • They were both excellent - completely engaging and knowledgable
  • Engaging, dynamic and insightful


Our work with Mewburn Ellis over the past year has been bookended by two three-hour keynote presentations at their annual conference. CEO Russell Wardrop delivered “Seven Principles Of Relationship Management” in late 2018 and Head of KWC Legal Michael Fleming “Mindfullness and Emotional Intelligence” in 2019.

We delivered Rainmaker to a group of partners in the summer of 2018 and are following this up with a series of Rainmaker Light sessions to lawyers throughout the business in 2019/20.

MAKE THE RAIN, Overall event: 91%

  • Packed full of info but not overwhelming - actually really fun too.
  • I wasn't sure what to expect, but I learned a lot and actually enjoyed it.
  • I was slightly sceptical before the event; either that is wouldn't be tailored to the individuals in the room or to the types of business interaction in our work. Both concerns totally unfounded; the course well exceeded my expectations.

Covid interrupted the delivery of these but we have moves seamlessly to virtual delivery and are now offering monthly Make The Rain Workshops, giving real time assistance to lawyers having client conversations and facilitating strategy sessions.

ZOOM ROOM BD, Facilitator: 96%

  • I found Michael very motivating, easy to understand and inspiring.
  • Really engaging. Good answers to our sometimes difficult questions
  • Credible, persuasive, empowering
  • Michael was clear, warm, and helpful
  • His reflective style suited my way of thinking

the client brief

Maria Hall, Business Development and Marketing Director, was instrumental in both working with us finessing our offering and getting the programmes to the classroom.

MAKE THE RAIN, Usefulness & Relevance: 91%

Not just for the "practitioner" skills but also to assist with strategic planning (who should do what in our practice group)

Really relevant - they knew enough about our business to be totally credible and provide useful ideas

“There is heavy scepticism to overcome when proposing senior people take significant time out of their working week to do personal development. Rainmaker required three days of intensive work with nine senior colleagues.

MAKE THE RAIN, Level Of Interaction: 98%

  • The role playing / acting out was deployed at a really good level - not too much but what we did was punchy and focused (and fun!)
  • Constant interaction over all 3 days - kept it engaging
  • Excellent. the "audience participation" was pitched at just the right level to be challenging but achievable. making things progressively more difficult was good, rather than just jumping in the deep end.

The keynote presentation at our annual conference was the first step in getting people on the bus as it created a real buzz. Thereafter, working on how to develop the proposal and present to the board was something we worked on closely with KWC Global.”

The result was a group ranging from keen and interested to healthily sceptical on day one… and converts by the end of day three. Rainmaker is fast-paced, challenging and tailored to the needs of our partners. Everyone stayed the course, there were no mobiles on the table and even the most sceptical in the room started exhibiting new behaviours immediately.”

It has been hugely gratifying that the virtual version in the Zoom Room works every bit as well as the Classroom version”

getting buy in

It was essential that there was buy in at senior level and Maria Hall was perfectly placed, as BD and Marketing Director, to do the strategic networking required to get it over the line.

The first key decision in getting buy in was the conference presentation. Motivating, educating and entertaining 200 for three hours on relationship management on a Friday afternoon is not easy. This event was a catalyst in the weeks and months after.

Once the principal of business development for senior people is established the devil is in the detail. Working with Maria, who put the proposal to the Board and get sign off, we provided comprehensive narrative and data to show the programme was a good fit for their strategic objective of growing the business.

Feedback is extensive and ongoing on Rainmaker and this established a secure foundation to discuss Rainmaker Light with other areas of the business.

A series of one day programmes for lawyers and associates is being rolled out across the firm. Rather than these programmes being filled by conscripts there is real anticipation and an expectation that the day will be filled with specific tools and techniques that the delegates need to be better at client engagement.

feedback and results

Kirkpatrick levels three and four are where Rainmaker sits: delegates report both gleaning skills that they can immediately use in their day to day business and can show how those skills. Immediate results are gratifying but the ROI is properly assessed over the long term.

We will keep you posted, but here are what delegates thought were the most useful aspects of the programme:

  • Changing mental attitude and getting a better perspective on the purpose [and hardnosed-ness] of BD activity
  • The structure
  • Making me think I can do it - was a 3-day pep talk. Increased confidence
  • Learning practical ways to get the most out of meetings and how to take control when leaving any meeting.
  • That it is not rocket science and not something to be scared of.
  • Realizing that there is no magic, and that there is no substitute for preparation. Be patient and an attentive listener.
  • Adapting style and linking content to approaches to deliver it.
  • Providing structured approaches to all aspects of the BD process.
  • Learning about social styles. The five way for the emotional connection.