Meet The Rainmaker - Jami Wintz McKeon
by Rachelle J. Canter, Ph.D.
Presented by the Women Rainmakers
September, 2005
Name: Jami Wintz McKeon, J.D.
Firm Name: Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP
Location: San Francisco, CA
Practice Area: Litigation
Nominated By: Martha Fay Africa & Rachelle J. Canter
Best Rainmaking Tip & Career Advice?:
Three things:
  • Do excellent work all the time. Make every client feel he or she is your top priority.
  • Your success in rainmaking depends on relationships and making your client look good (rather than focusing on making yourself look good).
  • Do things because they are right, not because they'll advance your career.
Percentage of time devoted to marketing:
A lot, especially if you include the development of relationships, business development, and participation in activities.
Proudest accomplishment:
Watching people I've mentored succeed here and elsewhere
Knowing what you know now, if you were starting out as a lawyer today, what would you do differently
Get involved in building client relationships early - I thought I needed authority and seniority to build relationships, but you can and should do it as a young associate.
Tell me about one rainmaking strategy or tactic that you initially thought would work, but it failed. Why did it fail?
I never saw one that failed. The question is, how successful is it and is it worth the investment? I do lots of things that may or may not be effective rainmaking, but I do them because I like them: I'm on panels, give speeches, teach trial advocacy, participate on community boards and in charitable activities, etc. I don't put a lot of stock in writing articles. Part of what makes your career enjoyable and successful is doing the things you like to do. I ran for the Board of Governors of the Philadelphia Bar as a young lawyer. Did it work as a rainmaking strategy? I don't know. What I do know is that I enjoyed it and I think made a contribution, which was important to me.
What has been your greatest frustration about trying to get new business or new clients?
How to break into an organization when you don't already have a foothold - it's really hard to do.
If you were mentoring a young woman lawyer, what advice would you give her regarding rainmaking?
Develop a personal relationship with your clients and be a good mentor to those around you - you never know where they'll end up, and along the way, you'll get a lot out of the relationships and friendships you develop.
Would you say you ever had a mentor that made a genuine difference in how your career turned out? If yes, please describe.
I've had several, from inside and outside my firm: very early on, an outstanding trial lawyer who taught me how to be a good lawyer; the head of my practice group, who has a fantastic leadership style and is only a couple of years senior to me, but who gave me great opportunities and useful feedback and exemplified how to be an effective leader; and the Chairman of our firm, who has given me opportunities to grow and supported me along the way. Each of them is a superior lawyer, but each is very different. I admire their integrity, intellect, and mentoring skills.
Think about when you started out as a lawyer. Now think about the new female lawyers just starting out. What is different now compared to when you started?
When I graduated from law school, women didn't think they had options other than to practice full-time or not practice at all. Women graduating from law school today accurately perceive a wider array of options: full-time or part-time, as well as different employers, such as firms of different sizes, companies, judiciary, etc.
However, even though women have more opportunities today than they ever had at any time, the profession is still overwhelmingly male-dominated at the leadership levels. The Glass Ceiling is still a big challenge for women.
Women absolutely can succeed and thrive in the legal profession. I know it's not fashionable and some may not think it's credible, but I truly believe you can have it all. You can be yourself and still be a success, and being in a male-dominated profession doesn't mean you have to act like a man or deny that you're a woman, and it doesn't mean that you have to give up your family or outside interests - I think my career shows that. There is no one road map to success; you can and should forge your own path. In my view, apart from the obvious requirement of doing excellent work, success in the profession requires a high level of self-confidence, rather than ego, an ability to forge relationships with other lawyers in the firm, a capacity to learn from tough feedback without getting paralyzed by it, and a bit of intestinal fortitude. It also requires energy and commitment, and a passion to do the best you can do, both in your personal life and in your profession.
List words that best describe you:
Lucky, energetic, tenacious, passionate, family-oriented, optimistic.
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Interview by Rachelle J. Canter, Ph.D.
LPM Women Rainmakers is a national forum enabling women to network and develop business opportunities. By understanding how to develop business, women can exert greater control over their careers and integrate their personal lives successfully with the practice of law. For more information on LPM Women Rainmakers, visit www.womenrainmakers.org .
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