Susan Sneider literally wrote the book on networking. It’s called A Lawyer’s Guide to Networking. The ABA recently published her updated Second Edition and we are pleased to have Susan as our guest Your Career columnist in this issue of eNews. Susan is my personal career coach, and I recommend her highly.
Networking gets a bad rap. In LawWorld, we often think of it as awkward cocktail party business card exchanges when someone is hunting for business or looking, often desperately, for a new job.
As Susan and the GCs quoted in her column articulate, networking done well is really a daily way of life. It’s about building and maintaining relationships in an unselfish manner focused on helping others.
We function at our best when we surround ourselves with people who also operate with this mindset. A reporter from Law360 recently interviewed me for a piece on how law firm lawyers can best position themselves for in-house positions. All of my answers had to do with people skills. Talk about how you have added value for clients beyond what gets marked down on a time sheet. Don’t ask in the first minute about how quickly you can rise to the general counsel’s job. Prove that you truly understand customer service because that is the culture found within most corporate law departments.
As the GC or hiring manager, selecting your next senior counsel or assistant general counsel is choosing a new relationship. Who “gets” the concept of networking as described by Susan? Who will be loyal and have your back? Who do you want to sit next to on the tarmac during a flight delay? You should be listening for answers to those questions even as you are asking about cases tried or matters handled.
Maintaining relationships as a recruiter is challenging, because months or even years can pass in-between law department engagements. We put out eNews as a way of staying in touch and hopefully adding value for you.
But nothing beats in-person contact—whether it’s pitching in on best practices ideas at your quarterly law department pow-wow, or confidentially discussing your team dynamics over coffee or lunch. Conferences also present nice opportunities to add value and connect. The annual SuperConference for in-house counsel is around the corner on May 9 and 10, and I have the privilege of moderating a panel on hiring the right resources.
If you wish to attend, follow this link for a deep discount code that the conference organizers offered to us without a deadline attached to it. Please let me know if you are attending, and we will make time for a quality conversation. The tag line on all of my emails reads, “How can we help your law department?” Sure, it’s a little corny, but we mean it!