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IBA: Take the 'Work' out of Networking with the Indy Attorneys Network

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iba-networkBy Liz Shuster and Chuck Schmal, Woodard Emhardt Moriarty & McNett & Henry LLP

Like most attorneys, we always enjoy meeting lawyers from other practice areas and interests, but while it is easy to say “go network,” we found it somewhat a daunting task.

While the IndyBar offers a wealth of opportunities to meet other attorneys, usually meetings tend to focus toward specific areas of law or particular topics of interest, which are not always conducive for networking. We’ve all been to CLEs where most attorneys stick to the schedule, arriving just a few minutes before the presentation begins and leaving promptly when it ends, leaving little to no time for networking.

There are other sections and committees within the IndyBar that provide opportunities to meet other attorneys; but not everyone can join the same committee or actually wants to join all the various sections. While cold calling other attorneys to network is another option, most attorneys we know aren’t comfortable with calling other attorneys out of the blue because it can be somewhat awkward.

To address this problem, we wanted to establish a group that solely focused on networking amongst attorneys. While we thought it was a good idea, we weren’t certain whether other attorneys would agree so we decided to conduct a survey to see if our hunch was right. The survey was used to determine if there was in fact an interest in such a networking group and, more importantly, what activities attorneys would be most interested in for the networking group. The results of our survey showed that there was an overwhelming interest in forming such a networking group, and most expressed an interest in one-on-one type networking meetings rather than large group type meetings.

We felt that the IndyBar would be the perfect fit to establish this group. We presented this idea to the IndyBar board, and they approved the creation of a new section with the sole focus on networking amongst IndyBar members. The newly created section, the “Indy Attorneys Network,” will hopefully build professionalism, promote collegiality, and provide opportunities for networking with other members. It is envisioned the membership will be diverse, including judges, in-house counsel, members of law firms, solo practitioners, law professors, and other law practitioners.

The Indy Attorneys Network is a voluntary group that IndyBar members can choose to join by paying an annual section fee. All members of the IndyBar are eligible and welcome to join; however, only those IndyBar members who join the group will have access to the networking events.

Our initial focus for the group, based on our survey results, has been establishing a program for facilitating one-on-one meetings. As part of joining the Indy Attorneys Network, you will be randomly paired with a different attorney each month. Every month, you will receive an email that introduces you to the member you have been paired and provides you with his or her contact information. Each matched pair then decides when and where to meet. The nice part is that this format of networking will be flexible on time, location, and activity. For example, the pair can arrange to meet over coffee, breakfast, lunch, or however they see fit. These one-on-one meetings remove the discomfort or stigma associated with networking because both of you go to the meeting with the full knowledge that the other is there to network with you as well.

In addition to making networking easier and more fun, the Indy Attorneys Network also allows you to network with someone new on a regular basis. Plus, there’s even greater flexibility to the group—there might be certain months when networking might not fit into your schedule because of holidays, trials, or vacations. If this happens, simply contact a committee member to temporarily remove your name from the pool of participants for that month. An initial committee was formed and we are currently working out the bugs in this one-on-one meeting program by performing test runs with committee members, and our current plan is to role out the program in January 2013.

We are also planning future activities for the group such as social events and CLEs with an emphasis on networking. While some attorneys are natural networkers, we understand that typically networking is a learned skill. In view of that, we are working on creating some exciting programs that will help attorneys hone their networking skills. It is our hope that the Indy Attorneys Network will not only build new friendships but will foster long-lasting relationships within the IndyBar, so the next time you attend a bar event you won’t see a room full of strangers—you’ll see a room full of friends.

The Indy Attorneys Network section can be joined by adding the group on your member profile online at www.indybar.org.

If you have any questions about the Indy Attorneys Network, please feel free to contact us. There may be a few bumps to work out as the group gets off the ground, but we are hopeful that members keep the momentum going and keep networking!•

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  1. I like the concept. Seems like a good idea and really inexpensive to manage.

  2. I don't agree that this is an extreme case. There are more of these people than you realize - people that are vindictive and/or with psychological issues have clogged the system with baseless suits that are costly to the defendant and to taxpayers. Restricting repeat offenders from further abusing the system is not akin to restricting their freedon, but to protecting their victims, and the court system, from allowing them unfettered access. From the Supreme Court opinion "he has burdened the opposing party and the courts of this state at every level with massive, confusing, disorganized, defective, repetitive, and often meritless filings."

  3. So, if you cry wolf one too many times courts may "restrict" your ability to pursue legal action? Also, why is document production equated with wealth? Anyone can "produce probably tens of thousands of pages of filings" if they have a public library card. I understand this is an extreme case, but our Supreme Court really got this one wrong.

  4. He called our nation a nation of cowards because we didn't want to talk about race. That was a cheap shot coming from the top cop. The man who decides who gets the federal government indicts. Wow. Not a gentleman if that is the measure. More importantly, this insult delivered as we all understand, to white people-- without him or anybody needing to explain that is precisely what he meant-- but this is an insult to timid white persons who fear the government and don't want to say anything about race for fear of being accused a racist. With all the legal heat that can come down on somebody if they say something which can be construed by a prosecutor like Mr Holder as racist, is it any wonder white people-- that's who he meant obviously-- is there any surprise that white people don't want to talk about race? And as lawyers we have even less freedom lest our remarks be considered violations of the rules. Mr Holder also demonstrated his bias by publically visiting with the family of the young man who was killed by a police offering in the line of duty, which was a very strong indicator of bias agains the offer who is under investigation, and was a failure to lead properly by letting his investigators do their job without him predetermining the proper outcome. He also has potentially biased the jury pool. All in all this worsens race relations by feeding into the perception shared by whites as well as blacks that justice will not be impartial. I will say this much, I do not blame Obama for all of HOlder's missteps. Obama has done a lot of things to stay above the fray and try and be a leader for all Americans. Maybe he should have reigned Holder in some but Obama's got his hands full with other problelms. Oh did I mention HOlder is a bank crony who will probably get a job in a silkstocking law firm working for millions of bucks a year defending bankers whom he didn't have the integrity or courage to hold to account for their acts of fraud on the United States, other financial institutions, and the people. His tenure will be regarded by history as a failure of leadership at one of the most important jobs in our nation. Finally and most importantly besides him insulting the public and letting off the big financial cheats, he has been at the forefront of over-prosecuting the secrecy laws to punish whistleblowers and chill free speech. What has Holder done to vindicate the rights of privacy of the American public against the illegal snooping of the NSA? He could have charged NSA personnel with violations of law for their warrantless wiretapping which has been done millions of times and instead he did not persecute a single soul. That is a defalcation of historical proportions and it signals to the public that the government DOJ under him was not willing to do a damn thing to protect the public against the rapid growth of the illegal surveillance state. Who else could have done this? Nobody. And for that omission Obama deserves the blame too. Here were are sliding into a police state and Eric Holder made it go all the faster.

  5. JOE CLAYPOOL candidate for Superior Court in Harrison County - Indiana This candidate is misleading voters to think he is a Judge by putting Elect Judge Joe Claypool on his campaign literature. paragraphs 2 and 9 below clearly indicate this injustice to voting public to gain employment. What can we do? Indiana Code - Section 35-43-5-3: Deception (a) A person who: (1) being an officer, manager, or other person participating in the direction of a credit institution, knowingly or intentionally receives or permits the receipt of a deposit or other investment, knowing that the institution is insolvent; (2) knowingly or intentionally makes a false or misleading written statement with intent to obtain property, employment, or an educational opportunity; (3) misapplies entrusted property, property of a governmental entity, or property of a credit institution in a manner that the person knows is unlawful or that the person knows involves substantial risk of loss or detriment to either the owner of the property or to a person for whose benefit the property was entrusted; (4) knowingly or intentionally, in the regular course of business, either: (A) uses or possesses for use a false weight or measure or other device for falsely determining or recording the quality or quantity of any commodity; or (B) sells, offers, or displays for sale or delivers less than the represented quality or quantity of any commodity; (5) with intent to defraud another person furnishing electricity, gas, water, telecommunication, or any other utility service, avoids a lawful charge for that service by scheme or device or by tampering with facilities or equipment of the person furnishing the service; (6) with intent to defraud, misrepresents the identity of the person or another person or the identity or quality of property; (7) with intent to defraud an owner of a coin machine, deposits a slug in that machine; (8) with intent to enable the person or another person to deposit a slug in a coin machine, makes, possesses, or disposes of a slug; (9) disseminates to the public an advertisement that the person knows is false, misleading, or deceptive, with intent to promote the purchase or sale of property or the acceptance of employment;

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