In layman's terms a "rainmaker" is a legal case that brings in a huge sum of money for the lawyer and the lawyer's client. John Grisham uses this term in The Rainmaker to mark the highest point in the main character's previously troubled life. The word "rainmaker" characterizes the success of Rudy Baylor's rollercoaster ride through the legal profession. Along this bumpy road Rudy, the main character, grows as an individual. Rudy adheres to his beliefs and morals, which relates to the statement that a lawyer must create his own legal style and persona in order to become successful. Because he lives by his beliefs, Rudy Baylor has strong personality traits that make him unique as a person and a lawyer.
Rudy Baylor's compassion towards his clients and people in general separates him from the sharks in his profession. Through a class called Legal Problems of the Elderly, Rudy meets and befriends a little, old lady named Miss Birdie. He realizes that she is incredibly lonely, so he often goes out of his way to keep her company. Rudy also meets Dot and Buddy Black, another couple from this class, and discovers that they have a son, Donny Ray, suffering from leukemia. When the Blacks tell him their insurance company did not cover his treatment, Rudy begins to loathe the Great Benefit Insurance Company because of Donny Ray's deteriorating condition and appearance. He vows to bring the insurance company down for what it is doing to Donny Ray and his family. Rudy also shows his compassion towards others when he tries his best to help a young woman, Kelly Riker, deal with the pain of being abused by her husband. Because he cares for Kelly, Rudy puts his own well being in jeopardy when he saves her from her husband's next assault.
Another trait that distinguishes Rudy from the rest in his field is courage. When looking for a job, Rudy is continually turned down from one firm after another, but he someh