Kind of law not involving client recruitment?

(On Campus Interviews, Summer Associate positions, Firm Reviews, Tips, ...)
Forum rules
Anonymous Posting

Anonymous posting is only appropriate when you are revealing sensitive employment related information about a firm, job, etc. You may anonymously respond on topic to these threads. Unacceptable uses include: harassing another user, joking around, testing the feature, or other things that are more appropriate in the lounge.

Failure to follow these rules will get you outed, warned, or banned.
Anonymous User
Posts: 273075
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Kind of law not involving client recruitment?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Oct 08, 2009 3:03 pm

I have been warned by people that some private practice involves recruiting clients and you are expected to bring business into the law firm. As my one law professor put it, they might as well teach law school students how to golf and schmooze people on the golf course. That's not really the kind of person I am -- I'm not a schmoozer and not "well connected." I'd rather work for an entity, like a company or governmental body. Or I'd be fine with a typical law firm, but not if my success is determined by my contacts -- I'm not wheeler and dealer, social butterfly type. What does this mean for my legal future? Any specific kind of work I should go into and/or steer clear of?

User avatar
LawandOrder
Posts: 611
Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2009 4:36 pm

Re: Kind of law not involving client recruitment?

Postby LawandOrder » Thu Oct 08, 2009 3:09 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Any specific kind of work I should go into and/or steer clear of?

You should probably steer clear of the legal profession and look into something else.

User avatar
nealric
Posts: 2391
Joined: Fri Sep 25, 2009 9:53 am

Re: Kind of law not involving client recruitment?

Postby nealric » Thu Oct 08, 2009 3:13 pm

Tax law in a large firm where tax is just a support group. You will mostly be advising other attorneys in the firm about the tax implications of their deals.

That said, the best way to develop business will depend on the practice area and does not necessarily involve golf. For example, the firm I'm going to after graduation has an annual bike ride in lieu of a golf tournament as a client recruitment event.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273075
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Kind of law not involving client recruitment?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Oct 08, 2009 3:30 pm

Seriously? You can't just work for a business and handle all the legal issues that come up? I was thinking of intellectual property or media/communication law. What if I worked for a governmental agency, like the FCC, or I worked for a school district or city? You really need to kiss people's asses and ask them about their legal troubles in hopes I finding a client to represent? Really?

raveler
Posts: 20
Joined: Tue Jun 23, 2009 3:22 pm

Re: Kind of law not involving client recruitment?

Postby raveler » Thu Oct 08, 2009 3:47 pm

You absolutely do not need schmoozing skills to survive in most government agencies. You may not ever get promoted if you can't schmooze with the important people within the agency, but you certainly wouldn't need to attract clients.

The problem with the general counsel for a business idea is that usually (but not always) you get that job by working for a firm and hobnobbing with your clients enough that one of them gives you a job because they know you.

Another option would be a DA or PD office -- there's never any short supply of criminals who need to be prosecuted or assigned counsel. However, these positions require almost daily court appearances, and defenders have to be able to build relationships with their clients. Also, to some extent you need to maintain good professional relationships with the attorneys in the opposing office in order to get what you want from them. But those skills are very different from building business contacts -- I personally am attracted to criminal work because I'm an extrovert who nevertheless has a horrible time with schmoozing. If you're more introverted in general, though, it may not be the way to go.

ETA: A further option would be other types of legal aid/public interest. You'd still have clients with whom you'd have substantial interaction, and probably court appearances as well. But the way you get clients is usually very structured (they're referred from social services, you're operating out of a walk-in clinic, etc.).

hank44
Posts: 82
Joined: Mon Aug 24, 2009 9:20 am

Re: Kind of law not involving client recruitment?

Postby hank44 » Thu Oct 08, 2009 3:56 pm

I agree, you don't need schmoozing skills, as you put it, but if you really hate interacting with people, ha, then you probably are headed down the wrong path. There are few legal jobs, hell few jobs period, that are curtailed towards the hermits among us. I think I see what you were getting at though, you dont want schmoozing to be a huge part of your job. Government work is certainly one of the better options, but I would ask yourself, as we all should, why do you want to be a lawyer? If its ONLY to work on complex and/or analytical tasks, with no interest in either helping people, meeting people, or talking to people, then surely there are other ways to be "analytical" and not talk to anyone haha
Last edited by hank44 on Thu Oct 08, 2009 4:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
rayiner
Posts: 6184
Joined: Thu Dec 11, 2008 11:43 am

Re: Kind of law not involving client recruitment?

Postby rayiner » Thu Oct 08, 2009 4:00 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I have been warned by people that some private practice involves recruiting clients and you are expected to bring business into the law firm. As my one law professor put it, they might as well teach law school students how to golf and schmooze people on the golf course. That's not really the kind of person I am -- I'm not a schmoozer and not "well connected." I'd rather work for an entity, like a company or governmental body. Or I'd be fine with a typical law firm, but not if my success is determined by my contacts -- I'm not wheeler and dealer, social butterfly type. What does this mean for my legal future? Any specific kind of work I should go into and/or steer clear of?


It's really not hard to learn to fake it.

Re: intellectual property, it involves dealing with clients as much as any other practice. Indeed, probably more than a lot of corporate practices, since a lot of the work is pretty specific to the technology the client is working with and interacting with them is the best way to bring the attorney up to speed.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273075
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Kind of law not involving client recruitment?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Oct 08, 2009 4:09 pm

No, it's not that I don't want to deal with people. I don't have any problems getting along with people in general and if I were representing someone in a legal matter, I would have absolutely no problem gaining their trust and making them feel comfortable. In fact, my current job requires a bit of that and getting people to open up to me. I am also fine with trying to buddy up with people I work with and playing the office politics crap.

My issue is trying to befriend people I have no prior relationship with to see if I can squeeze some work out of them. It's transparent as hell and I'm not good at it. It seems like just about every career is helped by connections,the gift of gab and persuading people to do shit for you -- that's fine, but I just need to make sure it's not a requirement to being a lawyer. I just need to know I can practice law and not have to kiss people's asses all the time and feign interest in them as human beings so they will give me work.

Simply put, if my ability to practice law and represent people in legal matters takes a backseat to me scrambling around trying to find people to represent, then that's a problem. I want to be a lawyer, not a smarmy door-to-door salesman. (Also, I don't want to represent criminals, so that's out.)

hank44
Posts: 82
Joined: Mon Aug 24, 2009 9:20 am

Re: Kind of law not involving client recruitment?

Postby hank44 » Thu Oct 08, 2009 4:17 pm

Anonymous User wrote:No, it's not that I don't want to deal with people. I don't have any problems getting along with people in general and if I were representing someone in a legal matter, I would have absolutely no problem gaining their trust and making them feel comfortable. In fact, my current job requires a bit of that and getting people to open up to me. I am also fine with trying to buddy up with people I work with and playing the office politics crap.

My issue is trying to befriend people I have no prior relationship with to see if I can squeeze some work out of them. It's transparent as hell and I'm not good at it. It seems like just about every career is helped by connections,the gift of gab and persuading people to do shit for you -- that's fine, but I just need to make sure it's not a requirement to being a lawyer. I just need to know I can practice law and not have to kiss people's asses all the time and feign interest in them as human beings so they will give me work.

Simply put, if my ability to practice law and represent people in legal matters takes a backseat to me scrambling around trying to find people to represent, then that's a problem. I want to be a lawyer, not a smarmy door-to-door salesman. (Also, I don't want to represent criminals, so that's out.)



Essentially, you need to ask attorneys. Most of the people on here know as much as you do about what it is actually like to BE an attorney. That said, it seems like, to some extent, you may want it both ways - the money, interesting work, prestige, etc. but none of the crap people deal with. I doubt thats often possible. At least from the little I've seen, working with attorneys in the public sector, sure you can get by without having to be a salesman. Definitely.The "politics" of it all though, as you mentioned, is definitely an ingredient. For better or worse, you will have to get used to that in order to get just about any job, short of your own practice. To sum it up, I think you're just worrying too much lol. If you're bright, can get into schools, want to go, and think you'll be as good as the next guy, then whats the problem. Nobody necessarily likes every part of their job. Just have to like the good parts enough to put up with the rest. Take it one step at a time.

raveler
Posts: 20
Joined: Tue Jun 23, 2009 3:22 pm

Re: Kind of law not involving client recruitment?

Postby raveler » Thu Oct 08, 2009 4:23 pm

rayiner wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I have been warned by people that some private practice involves recruiting clients and you are expected to bring business into the law firm. As my one law professor put it, they might as well teach law school students how to golf and schmooze people on the golf course. That's not really the kind of person I am -- I'm not a schmoozer and not "well connected." I'd rather work for an entity, like a company or governmental body. Or I'd be fine with a typical law firm, but not if my success is determined by my contacts -- I'm not wheeler and dealer, social butterfly type. What does this mean for my legal future? Any specific kind of work I should go into and/or steer clear of?


It's really not hard to learn to fake it.



It may not be hard to learn to actually DO it, sure, but that doesn't make it any less crass.

Anyway, OP, you really should consider government, then. And for the record, the only people who "defend criminals" in my above post are public defenders -- DAs actually have almost no "client" interaction because their "client" is the state (and most defenders in their right minds want to keep their own client the fuck away from the DA). You might have an aversion to criminal work alltogether, but in that case it still might be worth it to consider other public interest options. There are plenty of non-criminal public interest clients who have housing problems, are battered women, are children, are having their social security/disability benefits terminated, etc.

Also, if you're hell bent on private practice, at large firms you really will hardly have any client contact at all until you reach the most senior levels. While it's true that your success as a PARTNER (or at some, but not all firms, the criteria for making partner at all) is determined by your ability to build a book of business, you are really getting ahead of yourself worrying about that at this point. So few people in Biglaw actually make it to that level that at least from a probability standpoint, this will likely never be an issue for you.

User avatar
rayiner
Posts: 6184
Joined: Thu Dec 11, 2008 11:43 am

Re: Kind of law not involving client recruitment?

Postby rayiner » Thu Oct 08, 2009 5:40 pm

It may not be hard to learn to actually DO it, sure, but that doesn't make it any less crass.


There isn't anything crass about it. The underlying interaction is a beneficial and sensical one: they need legal representation and you need a client. You want them to hire you both because it benefits you and because it benefits them (you're a damn good lawyer, after all). We put a little bit of social veneer on top of it, but that's just incidental, and if it doesn't come naturally to you there is nothing wrong with faking it.

Also, this isn't a narrow issue. It's something that extends to professional politics in general. Whether you're talking to a client, customer, your boss, or a coworker, you can do better for yourself by playing the little social game.

User avatar
CE2JD
Posts: 929
Joined: Tue Oct 14, 2008 8:33 pm

Re: Kind of law not involving client recruitment?

Postby CE2JD » Thu Oct 08, 2009 9:54 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I have been warned by people that some private practice involves recruiting clients and you are expected to bring business into the law firm. As my one law professor put it, they might as well teach law school students how to golf and schmooze people on the golf course. That's not really the kind of person I am -- I'm not a schmoozer and not "well connected." I'd rather work for an entity, like a company or governmental body. Or I'd be fine with a typical law firm, but not if my success is determined by my contacts -- I'm not wheeler and dealer, social butterfly type. What does this mean for my legal future? Any specific kind of work I should go into and/or steer clear of?


There are lots of people who will be glad to treat you like their slave for the rest of your life.

I am one of those people. Would you like to work for me?

Anonymous User
Posts: 273075
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Kind of law not involving client recruitment?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Oct 08, 2009 10:20 pm

I think you may be misunderstanding a bit how business development is done in the legal profession (at least at a lot of mid to large firms). You don't go around trying to sell snake oil. It's a gradual process of keeping in contact with people, getting out in your community, doing good work for existing clients, etc.... Every good partner that has their own business I have met isn't some cheesy slimeball.

Generally it is a combination of building your reputation for good work in a specific area of law and keeping in contact with people in your neighborhood, friends, college friends, law school friends and so forth so that once they are in decision-making roles, they will think of you when they have an issue come up or no someone with an issue in your field of expertise. Writing articles, giving speeches, getting to know people in your local Bar are all ways to set the stage for business without being disingenuous, fake or crass.

You don't have to be a salesperson, just make sure the people in your sphere of influence know that you kick a** at what you do. Or pick a firm that has a bunch of partners that will probably die or retire in about ten years from now so that you can inherit their clients just at the time you are a young partner. :)

Tave
Posts: 58
Joined: Mon Mar 09, 2009 7:08 pm

Re: Kind of law not involving client recruitment?

Postby Tave » Thu Oct 08, 2009 10:33 pm

Those evil clients. All they ever try to do is give you work and money. I'd rather sit in a dirt hole than deal with someone like that.

valley splitter
Posts: 139
Joined: Sat Jun 06, 2009 10:08 pm

Re: Kind of law not involving client recruitment?

Postby valley splitter » Thu Oct 08, 2009 10:54 pm

Here is what it basically comes down to based on having read material on bringing in business as well as talk with friends' parents who are BigLaw partners.

It comes down to this one true fact: if you do not, or cannot, create business for the firm, i.e. bring in clients, then you will NEVER make partner. Unless you plan on being an associate forever, which I highly doubt firms allow, or moving up to counsel, which I also doubt you will be able to do without some kind of book of business, then I do not see a future in the law for you. Bringing in business should not be that difficult and it is something that can easily be learned. You do not have to go out and schmooze people. Hell, if you have any friends then you can have clients. The main thing is selling yourself. Maybe you really have nothing to offer, you might even know this, but as long as you can sell yourself you are golden. McDonald's sells cholesterol as well as high fat and caloric intakes yet they have clients. They know they are not really offering anything people need, but they remain one of the most successful corporations in the world. THINK LIKE MCDONALD'S. BE MCDONALD'S.

User avatar
edcrane
Posts: 322
Joined: Wed Feb 06, 2008 11:28 pm

Re: Kind of law not involving client recruitment?

Postby edcrane » Thu Oct 08, 2009 11:49 pm

valley splitter wrote:Here is what it basically comes down to based on having read material on bringing in business as well as talk with friends' parents who are BigLaw partners.

It comes down to this one true fact: if you do not, or cannot, create business for the firm, i.e. bring in clients, then you will NEVER make partner. Unless you plan on being an associate forever, which I highly doubt firms allow, or moving up to counsel, which I also doubt you will be able to do without some kind of book of business, then I do not see a future in the law for you. Bringing in business should not be that difficult and it is something that can easily be learned. You do not have to go out and schmooze people. Hell, if you have any friends then you can have clients. The main thing is selling yourself. Maybe you really have nothing to offer, you might even know this, but as long as you can sell yourself you are golden. McDonald's sells cholesterol as well as high fat and caloric intakes yet they have clients. They know they are not really offering anything people need, but they remain one of the most successful corporations in the world. THINK LIKE MCDONALD'S. BE MCDONALD'S.


This strikes me as wrong. Support practices like exec comp/eb/tax generally don't permit associates to develop books of business. Indeed, work in these practice areas typically comes in as part of larger corporate transactions. Yet there are plenty of partners in these areas. Even at small "entrepreneurial" firms, partners in these areas are not expected to bring in business.

So while it's probably wise to work on your schmoozing skills, it's not necessarily true that you will have no future in the private practice of law if you can't bring in business.

User avatar
econtutornv
Posts: 20
Joined: Fri Jan 16, 2009 4:17 pm

Re: Kind of law not involving client recruitment?

Postby econtutornv » Fri Oct 09, 2009 12:29 am

I know this probably doesn't help OP if he's looking solely at Biglaw, but...

From my experience small firm plaintiff's work (e.g. personal injury) might fit what you're looking for. The firm I worked for spent a good chunk of change advertising but I never saw a single one of the attorneys schmooz clients for business. They just took whatever cases that walked through the door and sounded promising.

I can't vouch for other practice areas in small law land (or out of the geographic area I worked in) but the volume of calls we got asking if the firm did BK work while I was there made it seem like that area (at least on a small law level) works in much the same way.

HTH

Edited to include that I'd actually worked for a small firm (not as an attorney)!
Last edited by econtutornv on Fri Oct 09, 2009 12:32 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
rayiner
Posts: 6184
Joined: Thu Dec 11, 2008 11:43 am

Re: Kind of law not involving client recruitment?

Postby rayiner » Fri Oct 09, 2009 12:32 am

edcrane wrote:
valley splitter wrote:Here is what it basically comes down to based on having read material on bringing in business as well as talk with friends' parents who are BigLaw partners.

It comes down to this one true fact: if you do not, or cannot, create business for the firm, i.e. bring in clients, then you will NEVER make partner. Unless you plan on being an associate forever, which I highly doubt firms allow, or moving up to counsel, which I also doubt you will be able to do without some kind of book of business, then I do not see a future in the law for you. Bringing in business should not be that difficult and it is something that can easily be learned. You do not have to go out and schmooze people. Hell, if you have any friends then you can have clients. The main thing is selling yourself. Maybe you really have nothing to offer, you might even know this, but as long as you can sell yourself you are golden. McDonald's sells cholesterol as well as high fat and caloric intakes yet they have clients. They know they are not really offering anything people need, but they remain one of the most successful corporations in the world. THINK LIKE MCDONALD'S. BE MCDONALD'S.


This strikes me as wrong. Support practices like exec comp/eb/tax generally don't permit associates to develop books of business. Indeed, work in these practice areas typically comes in as part of larger corporate transactions. Yet there are plenty of partners in these areas. Even at small "entrepreneurial" firms, partners in these areas are not expected to bring in business.

So while it's probably wise to work on your schmoozing skills, it's not necessarily true that you will have no future in the private practice of law if you can't bring in business.


Even in situations where associates aren't expected to bring in business, "schmoozing" can be helpful to an associate in getting valuable work from partners.

"Schmoozing" is unavoidable in the business world. Learning to deal with it is a lot better than taking some sort of "high road" and limiting your career options.

legends159
Posts: 1090
Joined: Thu Jul 12, 2007 4:12 pm

Re: Kind of law not involving client recruitment?

Postby legends159 » Fri Oct 09, 2009 12:43 am

life's not a movie. Firms don't expect you to bump into fortune 500 CEOs at social events and get a retainer. Nor will most people be lucky enough to bring in business that way. Firms will send you out after training you on how to sell the firm to give talks at conferences to try and recruit business. You're selling yourself but mostly the firm.

hank44
Posts: 82
Joined: Mon Aug 24, 2009 9:20 am

Re: Kind of law not involving client recruitment?

Postby hank44 » Fri Oct 09, 2009 9:39 am

valley splitter wrote:Here is what it basically comes down to based on having read material on bringing in business as well as talk with friends' parents who are BigLaw partners.

It comes down to this one true fact: if you do not, or cannot, create business for the firm, i.e. bring in clients, then you will NEVER make partner. Unless you plan on being an associate forever, which I highly doubt firms allow, or moving up to counsel, which I also doubt you will be able to do without some kind of book of business, then I do not see a future in the law for you. Bringing in business should not be that difficult and it is something that can easily be learned. You do not have to go out and schmooze people. Hell, if you have any friends then you can have clients. The main thing is selling yourself. Maybe you really have nothing to offer, you might even know this, but as long as you can sell yourself you are golden. McDonald's sells cholesterol as well as high fat and caloric intakes yet they have clients. They know they are not really offering anything people need, but they remain one of the most successful corporations in the world. THINK LIKE MCDONALD'S. BE MCDONALD'S.



If we're still talking about big law, and not the towns local firm, having friends won't really help too much lol...unless theyre the kind of friends that have enough money to be a client, which, I doubt applies to most of us

bigben
Posts: 703
Joined: Sat Sep 29, 2007 2:44 pm

Re: Kind of law not involving client recruitment?

Postby bigben » Sat Oct 10, 2009 12:00 am

Anonymous User wrote:I have been warned by people that some private practice involves recruiting clients and you are expected to bring business into the law firm. As my one law professor put it, they might as well teach law school students how to golf and schmooze people on the golf course. That's not really the kind of person I am -- I'm not a schmoozer and not "well connected." I'd rather work for an entity, like a company or governmental body. Or I'd be fine with a typical law firm, but not if my success is determined by my contacts -- I'm not wheeler and dealer, social butterfly type. What does this mean for my legal future? Any specific kind of work I should go into and/or steer clear of?


Your prof is bitter or ignorant or both. Interpersonal skills are relevant to success in pretty much any line of work, however, bringing in clients is not about being a smooth-talking salesman. The main way to attract clients is to build a reputation of expertise through doing excellent work.

At any rate, you won't have to worry about this for quite a few years, especially at larger firms. So you'll have plenty of time to be shut-in.

P.S. Some areas of law ARE more like salesman-type gigs...like personal injury or something.




Return to “Legal Employment”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.