Juanita Brooks Named a Leading Law Firm Rainmaker

Diversity & the Bar article

After practicing at Federal Defenders, Inc. of San Diego for three years, Juanita Brooks hung out her own shingle in 1980. “I was a young attorney and had to learn about business development quickly,” she remembers. “Almost overnight, I was rainmaker, office manager, head litigator – everything. Essentially, I generated business by getting as much exposure as possible.”

Today, Brooks is a principal in Fish & Richardson’s San Diego office, where she has a nationwide trial practice specializing in complex intellectual property litigation. Over the years her practice has changed, but Brooks attests that, for her, the basic tenets of rainmaking have remained the same: “It’s still important to keep your name out there. [Once,] after a long trial, I noticed my book of business had shrunk considerably. I had to get out there and start over again.

Raised primarily by a single mother near Riverside, California, Brooks was inspired to succeed by her teachers; a professor at San Diego State University encouraged her to apply to law school and “aim high.” Just months prior to being accepted at Yale Law School, she was unclear exactly where it was located. A mere decade later, Brooks would successfully represent John DeLorean in the U.S. government’s cases against him.

“My advice to young women attorneys who aspire to be rainmakers is to ‘toot your own horn’,” shares Brooks. “As girls, we were taught not to push too hard, and as women we assume that people should know our capabilities without our telling them. It doesn’t work that way. Like it or not, we have to sell ourselves.”