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Four - 5/16/2012

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Simple adjustments in your speech will lead you to succeed. Check out these powerful changes TODAY!

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NETWORKING

By Leslee Cohen

Leslee Cohen About a year and one-half ago, I left a relatively large law firm to start my own firm together with a partner. I had been practicing corporate and securities law for almost 20 years and had rarely generated any of my own new clients during that entire period. In my mind, it was enough to juggle becoming an excellent attorney who kept up with my ever-changing practice area, with being the mother of two little boys. Then, there were the roles of wife, daughter, sister, friend and all others that we women tend to play simultaneously. The thought of adding a new anti-wrinkle product to my bedtime routine seemed daunting, let alone networking in an effort to generate clients! However, along the road to building my firm, I have discovered that networking works and, accordingly, is definitely worthwhile.

I did not learn how incredibly essential it is for women (and men) attorneys to build their own client bases until relatively late in my career, at which point I had no idea where to begin. I was fortunate to service the clients of several equity partners who kept me very busy with challenging work for many years. That was due to the fact that I had received incredible training as a securities lawyer at a Wall Street boutique firm that rendered me extremely marketable in the Chicago law firm arena when I moved back home in 1997. I had been able to work part-time since the birth of my first child, and was usually treated with immense respect by the equity partners whose clients I serviced. What I’ve learned since joining several associations aimed at helping women lawyers, though, is that my experience is rarely the case for other women. Moreover, I’ve learned that the key to attaining respect and workable hours in the context of a law firm is developing your own client base.

As I said, I left the nest of the major law firm world about 18 months ago and decided (whether consciously or not) to build my practice through networking. And, as I said above, it has worked! So, how to fit it into that already busy schedule? For me, it has been “networking coffees.” Rather than commit to long lunches, which I instead tend to eat alone at my desk while working, I try to have a networking coffee at some point in the day at least two to three days each week. There are two caveats. First, my boys are now both in school all day, providing me with the extra time to take on this added task, and I have a sitter two days a week who helps with my weekly errands. Second, sometimes I absolutely have to attend evening and other scheduled events that are far more time consuming. I would guess those occur approximately twice a month. I should also add that my husband, although he works long hours himself, is extremely committed to my career and quest for developing my own clientele and does his best to be home with my boys when I have to be out early in the morning or late at night.

As far as how to go about networking and what to say and do in the process, stay tuned for my next posting!



Chicago Bar Association THE CHICAGO BAR ASSOCIATION ALLIANCE FOR WOMEN

Cordially invites you to its Annual Awards Luncheon honoring

-Wendy Pollack (Founder and Director, Women’s Law and Policy Project at the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, Recipient of the Founder’s Award)

-Julianne M. Hartzell (Partner, Marshall, Gerstein & Borun LLP, Recipient of the Alta May Hulett Award)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

11:45 a.m. Reception/12:15 p.m. Luncheon

The Standard Club • 320 South Plymouth Court

$50 per person

For reservations, contact Tamra Drees at 312-554-2057.

COMMUNITY QUESTIONS

How can I make a good impression at work?

Here are 9 ways to make a good impression at work:

  • Use Proper Office Etiquette: Using good manners will help you make a good impression with your boss and also your co-workers. Office etiquette includes everything from the proper way to use email to knowing when, where, and how to use your cell phone while at work.
  • Face Up to Your Mistakes: When you make a mistake at work, which everyone inevitably does at some point, face up to it. Don't ignore your error or place the blame on others. Take responsibility and come up with a solution to fix your mistake. Your boss may not be too happy about it, but she will at least be impressed with your response.
  • Know When to Call in Sick to Work: Do you think coming to work when you are sick instead of staying at home will impress your boss? Reasonable bosses know that a sick employee not only isn't productive, he or she can spread an illness around the office rendering everyone else unproductive. Call in sick when you need to.
  • Come Through in a Crisis: When the unexpected happens at work, who will make a better impression on the boss -- the employer who wrings his hands and does nothing or the one who springs into action? Of course it's the employee who deals with the crisis quickly and effectively.
  • Know What Topics to Avoid Discussing: Avoiding inappropriate topics may not help you make a good impression at work but it will keep you from making a bad one. Subjects that do not make for good workplace conversation include politics, religion, and health problems and other personal issues.
  • Manage Your Time Effectively: Your ability to complete projects in a timely manner will help you make a good impression on your boss. You should demonstrate that you know how to manage your time effectively by handing in projects when, or even before, your deadline.
  • Dress Appropriately: Make a good impression at work by wearing the right clothes. You should dress the right way for the "role you are playing." If you aspire to be a leader at work, dress like one.
  • Avoid Offending Your Co-Workers: Make a good impression or avoid making a bad one by not doing things that offend your co-workers. Always show respect towards your co-workers. The last thing a boss wants brought to his attention are the uncivil actions of one of his employees.
  • Represent Your Company Well at Business Meetings: When you represent your employer at a business meeting making a good impression on other attendees will in turn help you make a good impression on your boss. Dress appropriately, network on your employer's behalf, and bring back information.
 

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