In a profession where who you know, what school you went to and the circle that surrounds you is so important in getting your foot in the door, first-generation lawyers very often fall through the cracks.
I remember hearing time and time again from junior lawyers that it was not necessary to worry about what electives one took or how much one learned or did not learn during those three years of legal education as “the real learning, unless you are planning on pursuing a career in academia, starts once you enter the workplace.”
I recently attended the Hispanic National Bar Association’s 42nd Annual Convention which took place from Sept. 6 – Sept. 9 in Kansas City. This convention did not disappoint, as it was an incredible opportunity to network with law students, community representatives, government officials and legal professionals from the Hispanic and the diversity community from across the U.S. (plus myself and a few colleagues from Latin America). It was made very clear throughout the convention that, despite good intentions and a valiant effort, diversity and inclusiveness within the legal profession remain elusive and the needle has, if at all, only barely moved.
It is essential that in-house counsel remain at all times not just a manager of risk and litigation but rather a strategic partner with the business team.
I have often made reference to the fact that, in my humble opinion, lawyers (both in private practice and inhouse counsel) must become increasingly comfortable with using social media to promote not only their achievements and relevant or interesting best practices or developments in their legal practice area, but also to build and grow their personal brand and networks.
As I sat in my chair at the Canadian General Counsel Awards and looked around the sold out room, beyond the wonderful tuxes and dresses, the smiles and the great food, two important things ran through my mind.
At the end of the month, I will be travelling to Dublin, Ireland. While yes, there will be an element of pleasure travelling around this beautiful country (how can I avoid the temptation), there is a more important reason for my travel.