Adam Katz is a senior associate at Harrison & Held. He concentrates his practice on federal & state tax matters, mergers & acquisitions, entity structure and formation, commercial finance, and non-profit law. Adam can be reached at (312) 753-6110 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Part one. Part two runs tomorrow.
Greetings law blogosphere! Whether you are a fresh energetic law student, young overloaded associate taking a quick breather, or senior-ist of the senior partners scouring the Internet for solid fantasy football advice, I congratulate you on finding my intangible soapbox and hope I can offer at least a little advice, insight, and maybe some chuckles. Additionally, in future posts, I will be touching on current trends and provide practice tips in the tax and corporate arenas. Your sincere/sarcastic/witty/coarse comments in my inbox are always appreciated.
This first one is for those of you in law school or college considering making “The Profession,” your profession. No doubt, it’s not the easiest of periods in history to transform yourself from pastel popped-collar polo big person on campus to super rainmaking attorney extraordinaire, but here are a few pointers about networking to build your business and reputation— something that you can begin doing immediately that might not currently be on your mind.
1. Network Like it’s Your Job
That’s because it IS your job. As an attorney, you need to put food on the table so your brain can have enough energy to process the hundreds upon hundreds of pages of legalese you will confront every month. How do you put food on the table and receive enough of these pages to keep you occupied for 2,000 plus hours a year? By bringing in a client or two… or preferably a baker’s dozen. One of the best ways to acquire new clients in any practice area is through networking.
2. Get Your Priorities Straight
I’ve heard it before. Senior attorneys declaring that junior attorneys should not make business development and networking their fifth, sixth, or even 20th priority. To an extent, I agree. Building your book of business should not be your top priority as a new or junior attorney. First and foremost, your priority is to learn how to practice your area of law and that requires significant blood, sweat, and tears.
However, I contend that networking should be a close second priority and it should begin prior to the first day of law school. Successful attorneys with giant books of business generally built their practice on meeting people and portraying their name and/or firms to the public in a reputable and trustworthy light. Most of these attorneys did not make partner and find a lucrative client book suddenly materialize out of the void. They pounded the pavement from day one. If you gas up the sledgehammer and starting pounding, on day 2,190, you may wake up and may realize, “Wow! I have enough of my own clients to provide me with enough work that I don’t need to seek assignments from other attorneys. I and my book have become a valuable asset to my firm. Now, I can control my own destiny as an attorney.”
And controlling your own destiny is considered by many to be the pinnacle— because while handouts of projects can be great for your career, eventually all handout pools dry up.