Posts Tagged professional development

We’re Hosting a Free Webinar on Maximizing Your Summer Experience! Come One, Come All!

On Wednesday, May 23 at 3:00 PM EDT, NALP is presenting “Summer Success: Getting the Most from Your Summer Public Interest Experience.”

During this free webinar, you’ll learn practical tips on how to develop professionally and personally while interning at a public interest office this summer. Also, you’ll get insider advice from public interest attorneys and community leaders.

Deb Ellis, the Assistant Dean of Public Service at NYU Law School, and Lindsay M. Harris, Tahirih Justice Center’s Equal Justice Works Fellow and Immigration Staff Attorney, will be leading the webinar.

Don’t delay, register today!

Register here:

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Be Bold…In Your Job Search & For Your Professional Development

by Kristen Pavón

One of my favorite inspirational quotes is “Be bold and mighty forces will come to your aid” — although, I’m pretty sure that that’s a paraphrased version of the actual quote…

Regardless (or irregardless if you’re from Miami — have you seen this youtube video?! I won’t link to it here because, well, it’s not appropriate — but google it, it’s hi-larious!), it’s a quote that, in this economic climate, should really be put to use.

In an article on National Law Journal by Ari Kaplan, author of Reinventing Professional Services: Building Your Business in the Digital Marketplace, explains that he was given the advice to “be bold” by Richard Susskind when he asked how he could expand his career opportunities in 2012. Here’s a snippet of what Kaplan wrote:

I have spent much of the past two months considering the meaning of boldness, both personally and professionally. The idea intimidates me, but also reminds me of trying to meet Secretary of State Warren Christopher in 1996 while working in the Office of Foreign Missions during my second summer of law school.

I simply walked into his office suite and asked his assistant whether he was free. Our conversation went something like this:

“Hi, I’m Ari Kaplan, is the secretary available?”

Confused pause.

“Who are you?”

Signature smile [a cross between Seinfeld’s Kramer and Jim Carrey’s Ace Ventura].

“Yes, I’m Ari Kaplan, I work here.” [Badge connected to the traditional Washington silver ball chain hanging from my neck swings proudly.]

“Who?” [a common repeat question in the sitcom that is my life].

Less confidently, “Ari Kaplan.”

She stands with authority.

“Excuse me.”

She walks away.

I can’t believe this is going to work. What a great story. Why are these people watching me?

She returns. “I’m sorry the secretary is busy.”

Undeterred. “I just want to introduce myself; I work here.”

Unpersuaded. “I’m sorry.”

Dejected. I walk away.

The nearby guard enjoying the dialogue asks: “Where are you from?”

“Brooklyn,” I respond.

He laughs. “You’ve got chutzpah, kid.”

Sure, trying to get in an impromptu meeting with Secretary Warren Christopher didn’t work out for Kaplan, but so what? His story resonated with me because nothing bad happened to him after trying his luck. A piano didn’t drop from the ceiling onto his head because he took a bold step that didn’t work out the way he hoped it would.

So, I guess I’m saying — take a leap. Make bold moves for the sake of your career because you never know what will come of it.

Yesterday, my colleague and I went to a discussion on legal pipeline programs. One of the speakers, Veta Richardson, shared a story with us about how a risky choice paid off early in her career.

During her second year of law school, she came across a paid internship with Sunoco. By the time she applied, the 5 spots were already filled. Regardless, Richardson wrote a letter to Sunoco’s general counsel and told him that she would work in the legal department for the summer for free if he would just give her a shot. Well, he did. And at the end of the summer, she was one of the two interns who were offered permanent positions.

Thoughts? How have you been bold lately?

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Networking is a Must-Do… Even for Introverts!

by Kristen Pavón

Introversion has been on my mind lately. A student, whose grad school personal statement I’m helping with, recently told me that she is an introvert and that as an introvert, she had a tough time adjusting to college life. It took her a while to find her niche and ways to cope with her introversion.

I haven’t taken the Myers-Briggs test in years and I can’t remember if I’m an EFNP, INFP or what, but in any case, I can understand how networking can pose a challenge to introverts.

Well, today, I came across a blog post on Harvard Business Review by Lisa Petrilli titled An Introvert’s Guide to Networking. Could there have been better timing? I think not.

You can read her entire blog here or you can purchase her book, An Introvert’s Guide here.

Here are my takeaways about turning your introversion into a career advantage from Lisa’s post and another post from Forbes.

1. Use social media to reach out.

This pre-introduction leads to a more relaxed and productive in-person connection. By reaching out, you open the door to potentially rewarding business collaborations, and you do so on your own terms.

2. Prepare before attending networking events.

Check guest lists if you can, think about what you want to learn from the attendees, come up with some things about yourself that you want to share, and have a mental list of general questions to start conversations rolling.

3. Set goals, or use Melinda Emerson’s Rule of Five

When you have set goals, it can be easier to forget how uncomfortable you are. As my husband says, Focus on the mission at hand! A good plan for networking events is using the Rule of Five:

Your target should be to secure five quality contacts at any networking event. Aiming for any more and you’ll struggle to make a real connection. Don’t be the chicken with their head cut off doing drive-by networking. Spend the time to have a real conversation, even if the person really isn’t a good contact.

4. Focus on one-on-one conversations.

Generally speaking, business events — and particularly networking events that require engaging with groups — are demanding for introverts. An antidote to this, I learned, is to seek out conversations with one individual at a time. When I approach events this way I have more productive conversations and form better business relationships — and I’m less drained by the experience.

5. Allow for re-energizing.

As I’ve learned, having to engage with groups or even a few people can leave introverts quite drained. Lisa Petrilli suggests allowing yourself 30 minutes in between commitments to recharge.

Any other tips  you’d add?

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Legal Services Corp President: A Strong Pro Bono Program is a Pillar of Great Law Firms

by Kristen Pavón

Last week, NALP and ALI-ABA hosted the 2011 Professional Development Institute here in D.C.

The conference was full of programs on best practices for new lawyers, business skills for lawyers, using personality tests and assessments for professional development, social networking and pro bono programs.

On Friday morning, Jim Sandman, LSC president, and Caren Ulrich Stacy, president of Lawyer Metrics, spoke to attendees about how and why professional development and pro bono need each other.

They focused on four main reasons why strong pro bono programs should be implemented and maintained in law firms: 1) filling a growing need, 2) attorney satisfaction and retention, 3) skill development and 4) client relations.

Here are a few of the highlights:

  • Lawyers value real work on real cases the most for professional development, according to a NALP Foundation survey. And pro bono cases can provide this “real work.”
  • Lawyers have more control with pro bono cases  than on the commercial side.
  • Pro bono work also helps with client relations because attorneys gain trial experience, which boosts their creditability with potential clients.
  • Real world example of how pro bono can boost client relations: DLA Piper allows in-house counsel at Verizon (its client) to join its pro bono structure. This way, DLA attorneys work side by side with in-house counsel, learn from each other and improve client relations.
  • Law firms need to put their money where their mouth is when it comes to pro bono programs. Attorneys need to have meaningful billable hour credit for pro bono work.


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