Michelle Rogers Profiled in Law360's Rainmaker Q&A Series
Law360Michelle L. Rogers
Michelle Rogers was profiled by Law360 in a "Rainmaker Q&A" where she spoke about client service and delivering results on Tuesday, November 22, 2016.
Q: What skill was most important for you in becoming a rainmaker?
A: Listening — to clients, colleagues and myself.
First and foremost, this job is about client service. It’s so important to understand your client’s goals, to explain the risks of the decisions and issues at hand, and to help them achieve a result that balances their concerns with their desired outcome. The same facts with the same decision points might mean completely different things for different clients, so you have to learn about what is important to them, learn their business and understand their culture. You also need to solicit their feedback on how things are going, what’s working, and what isn’t. I think client feedback has made me a better lawyer and a better business partner.
I also learn so much from soliciting feedback from my colleagues. I have been incredibly fortunate in my career to have wonderful mentors who have helped to guide me, both professionally and personally, and colleagues who help me to enjoy the job that I do. Being able to solicit feedback from them on substantive legal issues and business development items helps to ensure I am giving my clients the best and most current advice possible.
Lastly, I had to get comfortable with listening to myself, which I think comes with time. Many of the issues I deal with aren’t found in case law or neat fact patterns. You have to trust your instincts and your own expertise to address new issues as they emerge — but just as importantly, you need to be comfortable with saying “I don’t know, but I’ll find out.”
Q: How do you prepare a pitch for a potential new client?
A: I think a lot of preparation happens as you go, by making sure you continue to stay on top of emerging issues and trends in your field. If you aren’t disciplined in doing this regularly, you really won’t be able to learn it all just for any one pitch. Much of what I do is nonpublic, so my ability to advise clients on issues that matter to them depends on my staying informed about what is happening in the industry.
In addition to staying on top of the trends that may matter to a client, I try to learn everything I can about a client. I ask as many questions as I can before the pitch so that I can align my message with the client’s expectations and concerns. Finally, I try to make sure any pitch is as much a conversation as it is a presentation. Asking questions throughout can provide you with the opportunity to identify new issues and demonstrate your expertise in other ways.
Originally published in Law360; reprinted with permission.