The Opportunity Maker: Strategies for Inspiring Your Legal Career Through Creative Networking and Business Development [PDF]
Book Review by Marjorie L. Stein Hogan & Hartson LLP, New York, New York

This excellent handbook on lawyer marketing was written by Ari Kaplan, formerly a lawyer and now a principal of Ari Kaplan Advisors, who counsels professionals internationally on the art of getting published and dynamic networking and who has made valuable contributions to this newsletter. This is a great book, a quick read, to hand to your summer associates and your first years to keep and to refer to throughout their legal careers. This book will help ease their anxiety in marketing themselves and provide them with an excellent source of creative avenues through which they can raise their profiles and their firms’ profiles. Kaplan compares this to an investment similar to a 401(k): the small daily amounts of time you input into developing your career should compound over time into along, successful and rewarding career.

Good marketing skills should start in law school but often do not so Kaplan starts off the book with two chapters entitled, “The Most Important Lesson Law School Never Teaches” and “Rainmakers Study for the Knowledge, Not the Grades.” “The best rainmakers-to-be read case briefs about developments in their area of the law, available in most law school and firm libraries, as well as online.” Kaplan recommends as an excellent source of trade magazines and other periodicals which will give further information in these areas.

What do the best rainmakers have in common?
1. They get out of the classroom and learn from mentors.
2. They study the practice and its players.
3. They know at least one area very well.
4. They supplement their knowledge with courses taught by bona fide experts.

In an important chapter on self-promotion, Kaplan advises students to take a class in Marketing and Law Practice Management, to participate in all kinds of organizations (not just those with other lawyers), and especially to get published. A large part of this book is devoted to this subject including how to target articles, how to create your own publication, and how to get involved in other forms of media such as blogging and television. “Become a storyteller.” Kaplan says the best way to stay in people’s memories while at the same time giving them a concrete sense of what types of things you can do is to tell a good story about a case, a client or something that you have done which will reflect that.

Kaplan says above all else is to have fun. “You have the opportunity to take a giant leap forward toward becoming whatever it is that you want. It should start in law school, but it never ends there. Explore, learn and experiment. Meet, discuss and share.” “There are certain qualities that those who have achieved, and continue to achieve success, share: They are interested in others; they relentlessly pursue knowledge and experience; and, they are willing to take risks (at least the calculated kind.)”

I plan to ask my Managing Partner if we should consider giving this book to our summer associates so that marketing becomes as much a part of their education as the practice of law does. Law schools are filled with great law students. But how many of them actually make it through the ranks as a real rainmaker?

This book is available through Thomson West and

Marjorie Stein is a Vice President of the New York City Chapter [of the Association of Legal Administrators] and the editor of New York, New York.