The Young Lawyers Section's Networking for Lawyers: Growing Your Practice by Building Relationships Proved a Great Success
by Julie Stromberg
The Young Lawyers Section kicked off the 2012-2013 year with a bang with their first ever networking event: Networking for Lawyers: Growing Your Practice by Building Relationships. A crowd of enthusiastic women lawyers eager to learn skills that will enable them to take their careers to the next level gathered on a rainy Thursday night at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP’s Los Angeles office. The program, moderated by Helen B. Kim, Theodora Oringher PC Senior Attorney and former WLALA President, featured a high-powered panel: The Honorable Holly J. Fujie, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge and former President of the California Bar Association; Lisa H. Harrington, Vice President and Associate General Counsel, NBC Universal Entertainment, Digital Networks and Integrated Media Division; Jennifer S. Romano, Partner, Crowell & Moring LLP and WLALA First Vice President; and Deborah E. Yim, United States Attorney, Department of Justice, Civil Division. The event’s star moderator and panelists helped make Networking for Lawyers a landmark WLALA event.
The inspiring program provided attendees with an educational and enriching foundation to learn and successfully implement invaluable networking tools. As Frances Azizi, Proskauer Civil Justice Fellow at Public Counsel, noted, “Networking for Lawyers was such an informative event. The panelist came from different practices of law, but each shared insightful and practical advice about the challenges lawyers face when building meaningful professional relationships." This unique networking event focused on teaching attendees how to build business relationships beyond the initial contacts. The program featured a highly informative and inspiring panelist discussion covering topics ranging from how, when, and where to start networking, to how to use networking for career advancement in the private and public sectors as well as in-house, to tips on how to use networking in building a book a business. The panelist discussion was followed by an interactive Q&A with the panelists, a speed networking exercise, and further Q&A with the panelists regarding the speed networking exercise and lessons in networking.
The program was specifically designed to appeal to attorneys in various practice areas and at various experience levels. Kunti Dudakia, Kirkland & Ellis Justice Fellow at the Disability Legal Rights Center, said, “I was very happy to see women attorneys from both public and private practice in attendance. The speakers were fantastic, offering helpful tips that attendees were able to implement during a practice breakout session. If you need strategies on how to overcome the awkwardness of meeting new people and maintaining those connections, you should attend this workshop.”
The program’s design distinguished the event from other networking events and enabled a broader appeal. The event topic’s importance was evinced by the number and diversity of attendees. Helen B. Kim, Senior Attorney with Theodora Oringher PC and the event’s moderator, remarked, "So many lawyers are just flummoxed by the notion of networking: where to start, what to say, how to handle common situations. Our panelists provided so many practical tips, sharing their own experiences, positive and negative. The high turnout at this event, the lively Q&A and overwhelmingly positive response of the audience, I think, demonstrates the need to hold more events like this for lawyers at all stages of their career." Ultimately, the success of the event illustrates the emphasis women lawyers are placing on learning the necessary tools to build successful careers as leaders in their industry.
WLALA received overwhelmingly positive feedback from event attendees. Most importantly, the event reinforced WLALA’s mission to further promote the full participation of women lawyers and judges in the legal profession and to provide its members with educational programs to help them effectuate that goal. Based on Networking for Lawyers’ overwhelming success, WLALA will likely host the same or a similar event in the future. This event, however, would not have been possible without the support of Skadden, Arps, Meagher & Flom LLP, which provided the venue and catering for the event, and the event’s sponsor, Compliance, a System One Division. If you missed this exciting event, do not fret! Networking for Lawyers merely planted the initial seeds that will grow into a WLALA core event --- that is how lasting relationships are built, after all.
Julie Stromberg is co-chair of WLALA's Young Lawyers Section.
Panelists: WLALA Board Member Helen B. Kim, WLALA Board Member Hon. Holly J. Fujie, WLALA First Vice President Jennifer S. Romano, WLALA Board Member Lisa H. Harrington, and Deborah E. Yim
WLALA Board Member Hon. Holly Fujie talks with program attendees in the break out session.