Rachel worked as a paralegal for five years before finally achieving an LSAT score high enough for Columbia Law School.
Rachel is viewed as the eye candy of the associates. She is a respected member of the firm and one of the best when it comes to what she does prompting the help of her other co-workers.
Rachel grew up under the shadow of her father, Robert Zane, a skilled lawyer and name partner of Rand, Kaldor & Zane. Despite her family's wealth, she prefers to live on the money that she earns. Despite her own ability, Rachel has never been good with taking tests, so she never gets a high enough LSAT score for Harvard. Unable to get into law school, she decided to begin working as a paralegal at Pearson Hardman. Because of this, Robert began to doubt Rachel's capabilities as a lawyer.
At one point, Rachel dated Colin McCarthy, a first year associate. In the end, Rachel broke up with him and his performance began to drop until, two months later, he was fired. Since then, Rachel has decided not to date someone from the office, until she meets Mike.
When Rachel meets Mike in the "Pilot" she has made it pretty clear that she is uninterested in dating coworkers and that, despite her position as a paralegal, she is most likely better than some of the associates in the firm. The fact that she has her own office proves this.
In "Tricks of the Trade", Rachel feels threatened when a former colleague almost gets an internship at Pearson Hardman. When her friend fails, she is relieved, not wanting to work for someone who was once like her. When she finds out about the genius that had been taking the LSATs for other hopeful law students, she considers it for a while but eventually calls it off. She then figures out that Mike was the genius who took the test for others and becomes spiteful.
Over the course of Mike's first year at Pearson Hardman, she and Mike became very close, even to the point of exchanged flirtations. At one point, though, when Mike finally asked her out, Rachel turned him down, not wanting to ruin their work dynamic. However, when she met Mike's new girlfriend, Jenny Griffith, her feelings for Mike started becoming more intense. During a late night working together, Rachel kissed Mike, a move he later called her out for.
After the awkward yet professional exchanges between Mike and Rachel, Mike, after his breakup with Jenny, finally confirms his feelings for her, and they began secretly seeing each other. When Mike realized that he cannot tell Rachel the truth about himself, he ends things with her, telling her that he is worried that she would do what she did to Colin McCarthy. Initially hurt, Rachel then realized that there is more to the story that Mike is letting on when she sees how much he cares for her.
Despite their rocky relationship, Mike and Rachel remained friends. Mike also constantly tried to help Rachel with her LSAT, which she finally retook in "Meet the New Boss". It is revealed in "Asterisk" that she had achieved a score of 172, high enough to get her into Harvard. Unfortunately, even though she achieved the required score, Harvard still rejected her. Something which was initially blamed on Louis' relationship with Harvard Admissions Tutor Sheila Sazs.
So Rachel decides to take action and write a letter going over Sheila's head, asking Mike to reference it since he "went" to Harvard. He refuses after he talks to Louis.
However it turns out that Louis and Sheila's previous interaction had nothing to do with Rachel's rejection. Sheila apparently liked Rachel, but the rejection pile was full of people with equally impressive resume's, and despite Rachel's intelligence and work ethic, she didn't make the grade.
In the season finale, Rachel confronts Mike about his lies and he admits that he never went to Harvard Law. Initially angered by this, she slaps him. As she storms away, he grabs her arm and they have sex in the filing room.
Rachel grows angry with Mike and ignoring him believing that it is unfair he gets to practice law without going to law school and she has worked harder. However she soon forgives him, and they begin a relationship.
She then has Mike eat dinner with her parents. He becomes close with Robert Zane but worries that he will find out about him.
Their relationship goes well until Rachel gets accepted to Stanford for law school without telling Mike fearing that he'll break up with her. When he finds out he becomes angry, but doesn't want her to give up all she has worked for. Instead of ending her relationship, Rachel goes to Jessica Pearson asking her to make an exception to the Harvard rule for Rachel due to her stellar performance and work ethic.
Rachel and Mike's relationship started off rocky. Rachel disdained Mike for being a show off and also for, according to her, trying to hit on her. But throughout the course of Season 1, their relationship grew to trusted working partners. When Rachel got suspended for wrongful accusation of document leaking, Mike went out of his way to help Rachel get back her job. When Mike and Jenny Griffith started dating, it put a hidden strain on their growing relationship. Rachel kissed Mike in the library to which Louis witnessed. Later on, Rachel accused Mike of toying with her when he kept on flirting with her even though he was officially with Jenny. This argument led them to breaking off their friendship and partnership, causing Mike to have difficulty with some of his cases.
In Season 2, when Mike had finally received Rachel's message about their kiss, he kissed her a second time and said that he wanted them to happen. Because of this, Mike wanted to tell Rachel his secret. Harvey, however, objects to it. After discovering that Harvey had put his job on the line for him, Mike decides to not tell Rachel and also call them off, using her past relationship with Colin as an excuse. This of course hurt Rachel. By the time Edith died, Rachel and Mike had fixed their friendship and had even bonded over choosing an apartment for Edith. While Mike was mourning for Edith, Rachel comforted him until his childhood friend, Tess, showed up. When Rachel refused Mike's advances, he goes to Tess. Rachel later catches them in Mike's apartment. Throughout the second half of Season 2, they eventually rekindle their relationship and in the season finale, Mike reveals to Rachel that he never went to Harvard Law. Rachel responds by slapping him in the face twice. Attempting to slap him a third time, Mike grabs her arm and she walks away, Mike then grabs her arm again and they have angry sex
In Season 4, Rachel kissed Logan Sanders while she was still in a relationship with Mike; not wanting to hurt his feelings she remained silent about it for a week. Eventually, she finally told him after the guilt was building up inside of her. Mike then storms out of the apartment and heads to Logan's condo to beat him up. Logan then tells him that she didn't just like the kiss, she loved it. Mike then ended things with Rachel, but they eventually reconciled.
Following this, Louis rehires Mike back to Pearson Specter, and Rachel attempts to talk to Mike to try to make things up with him, including when she pretended that Harvey assigned her to his case. Mike however, refused to listen and walks away. Rachel then explained to Mike that when he stated he needed to get that image of Logan out of his head, she never got that image of Tess out of her head, but she let it go and forgave him. Mike then ends up forgiving Rachel and gets back together with her. In the season 4 finale, Mike proposes to Rachel and she accepts.
In the Season 5 finale, Mike and Rachel were going to get married, but after seeing the look on her parents faces, Mike decides not go through with it after realizing that it would potentially ruin her chances of becoming a lawyer after graduation and taking away her future.
Rachel looks out after Louis since she finds him devious and dangerous. Although they did work together in a case involving ballet. She is one of the few who respect Louis and although talks behind his back, cares for him. She gave Louis a tennis ball signed by a high school tennis prodigy in the episode "Break Point" when his cat died, but does lecture Louis in caring for his employees, especially associate Harold Gunderson.
In Season 1, Louis wrongfully accused Rachel of leaking confidential documents to a rival firm, because he noticed that Rachel's confidential employee code on it. He then immediately suspends Rachel without pay, and as Rachel was walking in, two guards forced her out of the building. Eventually, it was discovered what really happened: Rachel was framed by a co-worker Jimmy, he used her confidential code to leak the list and he got it by pretending to be Louis. Mike finds this out and demands that Jimmy admits to what he did and clears Rachel's name or else Mike would turn him which would be far more damaging. Jimmy reluctantly agrees and leaves Pearson Hardman afterwards. As soon as Louis realized the truth, her suspension was cancelled and he called her up. When she arrived, he admitted that he unfairly punished her and officially welcomed her back. She made him agree that Rachel would get a 10% raise and that the law firm pays for her tuition for her law education. While Louis agrees to both, Rachel did not realize that the tuition payment required written consent in order to be valid.
In She's Mine, Rachel acts as Louis' lawyer in a simulated trial to decide on the custody of Nigel's cat, Mikado. Louis says to Rachel he needs her to represent him because he needed someone who cares and is not under Nigel's influence. He also uses the argument that he once fought for Rachel's dream (when he confronted Sheila Sazs about Rachel's acceptance in Harvard Law School), and asks her if she would fight for his dream too.
In Season 3, she becomes angry at Louis but is reluctant to approach him because of his heart attack.
Donna and Rachel are very good friends. Their relationship can be seen as sisterly. They have been shown to confide in each other, especially when having troubles with men.
In Season 1, Rachel asked Donna if she "Never, ever..." with Harvey. Donna said "No, because you can never go back." This implied that once, she had feelings for Harvey.
In Season 2, Rachel tells Donna about her leaving a message to Mike about their kiss. Donna shared some wisdom to her about it and also showed that she was looking forward to their relationship.
Either way, both women respect each other when it comes to being friends and coworkers.
- Rachel is a foodie and enjoys experiencing new tastes.
- She speaks fluent Spanish.
- Her father is Robert Zane, a name partner at Rand, Kaldor & Zane and doesn't like people to know this since people tend to treat her differently after finding out.
- In the episode "Rewind" it was said that Rachel was 22 when she got hired, which was in 2007. This puts her birth year as 1985.
- She enjoys ballet.
- She has been arrested, though it is not revealed for what offense.
- Rachel's current office formerly belonged to Monica Eton, who was dismissed after the discovery of her affair with Daniel Hardman.
- Rachel has a drawer full of staplers, showing that she did, in fact, get hit on too many times by associates much to her chagrin.
- While introducing herself to strangers with Donna, she used the name "Michelle Ross" and described herself like Mike.
- Rachel mentioned to Mike that her "first time" was in Greece.
- Rachel's Match.com username was zaneylady212.