Every time you bring your tribe together – whether for a Monday morning meeting, a Firm retreat, a client event – think about ways to enhance the connections between them. These seven “party mixers” are simple, cost next to nothing, and can offer quick mentoring moments for lawyers and other professionals.
Dancing with the laterals Lateral arrivals are keen to develop connections across the firm. Help them along by creating a “dance card” -- a list of scheduled lunch dates over the next month or two with peers and senior colleagues they may not yet have met. Make sure the first one isn’t until after the orientation hullabaloo.
Boost the power of lunch and learns Create guidelines for internal CLE sessions to help up the
connection culture. Encourage practice groups to appoint a facilitator for each session to introduce new people and make group announcements while the presenter gets their slide pack organized. Start the session by going around the table or room to hear a few words from everyone on a topic of interest – recent wins, biggest challenges, what’s on their desk at the moment, who they need to have coffee or lunch with this week.
Hello, my name is… Hold a schmoozing skills refresher to teach people the niceties of corporate
socializing. It can be a fun warm-up to an important client event, or at a retreat. Invite senior lawyers to join in so you can draw on their expertise – and, just quietly, give them a chance to refresh their skills, too.
Tag teaming At client events, pair up junior and senior lawyers from the same practice area.
Encourage them to arrive together and mingle together for the first 30 minutes. Sell it as a “networking teaching moment”.
Arrange seating Senior lawyers can be just as guilty of hanging out with their friends as often as junior lawyers. We’re all human, after all. Help people get out of their comfort zone by ignoring any protests and eye-rolling, and arranging the seating at Firm events so that practice groups and generations are mixed.
Make conversations easy to start At Firm events involving multiple offices, or practice areas that don’t work together every day, use nametags. Blow past the objections (“we all know one another”; “is this really necessary?”). You are helping newly arrived students and laterals, and the senior lawyers who haven’t been to the 26 th or 27 th floors for a long time. Include full names and practice areas, of course. Add
a different coloured sticker dots for each office, a green dot for people who have joined the Firm in the last 12 months, purple dots for people who participated in the Firm’s United Way campaign last month. You get the idea. It’s a conversation starter that works.