May 2012 Bar Bulletin
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May 2012 Bar Bulletin

Networking Resources for Reluctant Lawyers

By Kris Henderson
Reference Services Librarian


The theme of this month's issue is "Network," which of course brings to mind networking, which in turn suggests rainmaking, marketing and business development. If you want (need) to know about such things, read on to learn about some of the books the Public Law Library has that may interest you.

What better book to start with than Susan R. Sneider's A Lawyer's Guide to Networking (ABA 2006)? The author describes networking as building relationships through thinking of others and how you might help them. In order to help them, you need to find out what they need, which in turn means that you need to be a good listener. There is more to this book, including concrete steps to take, but it is a reminder of how important these social and interpersonal skills are to successful networking.

Then there's social networking. In Social Media for Lawyers: the Next Frontier, by Carolyn Elefant and Nicole Black (2010), the authors remind us that social media sites are tools, not goals in and of themselves. In that vein, they outline the categories of social media platforms, and devote chapters to various goals that social media might further, including networking and building relationships.

LinkedIn is a social networking tool specifically meant for building professional networks. The ABA Law Practice Management Section has just published LinkedIn in One Hour for Lawyers, by Dennis Kennedy and Allison C. Shield (2012). This short guide takes you through the process of setting up an account (free or otherwise), creating a profile, making connections, choosing privacy settings, and using more advanced features and LinkedIn apps.

Do you hate the thought of marketing? We have a book for you: The Reluctant Rainmaker: A Guide for Lawyers Who Hate Selling, by Julie A. Fleming (ABA 2009). At the beginning, the author emphasizes that marketing is not about selling, but is about - surprise! - relationships. The author describes developing a business plan and gives tips for different types of activities that may be part of your plan, such as speaking, writing and blogging. There is a chapter on networking, described as a process of building relationships.

In The Associate as Rainmaker: Building Your Business Brain, by David King Keller (ABA 2011), the author doesn't dance around the idea of business development as selling. In the first chapter is a section on "The Art and Science of Selling," which is really a reminder that one of the jobs of an associate in a law firm is to sell the firm's services. This book is a compendium of useful information, including "attitude adjustments" (the phrase is mine), time management techniques and specific tools such as social networking. If you're shy or an introvert and think you are therefore unsuitable for business development, think again and read Chapter 4, "Business Development for Shy Attorneys."

Also directed at law firm associates is The Law Firm Associate's Guide to Personal Marketing and Selling Skills, by Catherine Alman MacDonagh and Beth Marie Cuzzone (ABA 2007). The authors make the distinction between marketing, which consists of making potential clients aware of you and generally occurs at the firm level, and selling, which involves developing rapport and trust, and generally happens on a personal level. I know lawyers who say they hate selling and others who say they hate marketing; this book suggests that you need to get over it. The authors go on to give steps that associates can take to develop both a personal marketing and a personal selling plan. Included is a chapter on networking as a key part of marketing and selling.

Theda C. Snyder, one of the founders of the Women Rainmakers Interest Group with the ABA Law Practice Management Section, is the author of Women Rainmakers' Best Marketing Tips (3rd ed., ABA 2010). This is a compendium of useful tips organized into chapters such as "Old Advertising/New AdvertisĀ­ing: Websites and More" ("more" includes YouTube videos), and "Networking and Social Media." And, as noted on the back cover, anyone involved in marketing in a firm can benefit from this book - it is not for women only.

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