More Lawyers Should Attend Law School Alumni Events
Yesterday, I attended Georgetown Law's annual alumni luncheon in New York City. The event is always a highlight of my January social calendar. I am the type of person who can appreciate an open bar in the middle of the day, and the event always has a solid speaker who is usually someone who is involved in legal issues that are on people's minds. In addition, it is always good to see that the same dean of Georgetown Law who was the dean when I was a law student, since this somehow makes me feel younger than I probably should. However, after speaking with some of my colleagues, it appears as if not too many people attend law school alumni events. Of course, some attorneys might not have fond memories of law school, but there are many reasons why people should attend law school alumni events.
Every lawyer who works at a firm should be thinking about business development. For self-employed lawyers, business development is essential to keep the lights on. For attorneys who work at bigger shops, business development is an important factor in compensation and promotion decisions. Some people may believe that lawyers are not a good source of business development since lawyers typically wish to keep business for themselves and that business development is best directed to industry insiders. However, lawyers frequently have matters they wish to refer to other lawyers due to conflicts or expertise, and this can be a good source of business development.
Alumni events can be a great way to cultivate your contacts for business development purposes. People have a natural affinity for folks they knew in law school since many people view law school as a happier time in their youth than the plod of actually practicing law. Moreover, even if you connect with a fellow alumni who you don't know from the past, the common school connection can be important to forging a relationship that can be important to business development. People can definitely justify the time and expense of attending alumni events because of business development opportunities, and I have made numerous helpful business development connections during alumni events.
Developments In The Law
It is important for all lawyers to stay apprised on developments in the law. This task is supposedly one of the purposes of continuing legal education, but many lawyers just satisfy run-of-the-mill CLE courses that may or may not cover developments in the law. Understanding developments in the law is not only helpful in serving current clients but can help position lawyers so that they can generate new legal business by anticipating the legal needs of prospective clients.
Alumni events can often be a great way to learn developments in the law. At many of the alumni events I attended, solid speakers talked about developments in the law, and this information was extremely helpful in my own practice. For instance, cannabis law and legal developments involving blockchain technology have been two of the biggest developments in the law in the past decade, and I first learned about both of these from alumni events. Good lawyers do not remain static, and it is important to attend alumni events so that lawyers can learn information which can be helpful in their own legal practice.
Alumni Events Are Fun
Granted, some people would rather not see people with whom they went to law school, I get it. However, from my personal experiences, law school alumni events can be a really fun time. It is usually great to catch up with people you may not have seen for a long time, and lawyers always love swapping war stories and other anecdotes among each other. Moreover, it can be difficult for people with busy lives to let loose and have a social activity outside of the events they usually attend. Every alumni network is different, and some alumni events can be extremely boring depending on the people who attend and the activities that are scheduled. However, alumni events can be a great time in the right circumstances.
All told, people have differing views of their law school alma maters, and every alumni network is different. However, there are numerous benefits to attending law school alumni events, and more lawyers should cultivate their alumni networks for a variety of reasons.
Jordan Rothman is a partner of The Rothman Law Firm, a full-service New York and New Jersey law firm. He is also the founder of Student Debt Diaries, a website discussing how he paid off his student loans. You can reach Jordan through email at email@example.com.