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Old 03-09-2006, 09:58 AM   #350
Caustically Optimistic
baltassoc's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: The City That Reads
Posts: 2,384
local bar

Originally posted by redheaded stepkid
I have been trying to get involved in activities with the local (city) bar in order to lay a networking foundation for the future. Do people find that this process is better accomplished (at an early stage in the career) by joining lots of committees and going to a lot of events or just focusing on a select (but most relevant to your practice area) few?

Also, any real benefit (at an early career stage) in becoming active with the ABA or is that something for more established lawyers?

[and before anyone says ask in your firm, I have, but I am trying to seek an broader array of opinions/experiences-hell, I'll even read what Hank has to say........]

aV is absolutely right. In the short term, unless you are related to someone or get really, really lucky, you have zero chance of bringing in the type of client your big firm wants (if you're BIGLAW, that's likely Fortune 1000, or at least Russell 3000), so emphasis should be on building the skills necessary to bring in that type of client.

To address your questions more directly, however, I think you need to look at your own personality somewhat. If you are good at working a room (I am not), then going for more breadth is probably a good thing. If not, you are probably better off concentrating on one or two committees and becoming known and respected in those committees. I'd suggest whichever committee is closest to what you do, plus the Young Lawyers division/committee/whatever.

That being said, committee networking is often most effective for people in boutiques rather than large firms, because it's networking for referals from other attorneys. Attorneys don't make (many) referals to big firms, because they worry about their client walking off for all their legal matters.

You may be better off getting involved in a trade association related to what you do (for example, a building contractors association, or an advertising association, or a technology association: whatever makes sense for what you do).

So, take a step back and think about what kind of clients your firm is going to want. Then ask yourself how you might get those companies to give you business. The task looks more daunting when you cut down the potential client list that way, but at least you aren't chasing up blind alleys.

One thing is for certain: all of this takes a while. I've seen attorneys work at this for years (including me) with no results, then suddenly BAM, people start calling.
torture is wrong.
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