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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. You can put your photos anywhere you like... When someone steals it they know it doesn't belong to them. And, a man getting a divorce is automatically not a nice guy...? That's ridiculous. Since when is need of money a conflict of interest? That would mean that no one should have a job unless they are already financially solvent without a job... A photographer is also under no obligation to use a watermark (again, people know when a photo doesn't belong to them) or provide contact information. Hey, he didn't make it easy for me to pay him so I'll just take it! Well heck, might as well walk out of the grocery store with a cart full of food because the lines are too long and you don't find that convenient. "Only in Indiana." Oh, now you're passing judgement on an entire state... What state do you live in? I need to characterize everyone in your state as ignorant and opinionated. And the final bit of ignorance; assuming a photo anyone would want is lucky and then how much does your camera have to cost to make it a good photo, in your obviously relevant opinion?

  2. Seventh Circuit Court Judge Diane Wood has stated in “The Rule of Law in Times of Stress” (2003), “that neither laws nor the procedures used to create or implement them should be secret; and . . . the laws must not be arbitrary.” According to the American Bar Association, Wood’s quote drives home this point: The rule of law also requires that people can expect predictable results from the legal system; this is what Judge Wood implies when she says that “the laws must not be arbitrary.” Predictable results mean that people who act in the same way can expect the law to treat them in the same way. If similar actions do not produce similar legal outcomes, people cannot use the law to guide their actions, and a “rule of law” does not exist.

  3. Linda, I sure hope you are not seeking a law license, for such eighteenth century sentiments could result in your denial in some jurisdictions minting attorneys for our tolerant and inclusive profession.

  4. Mazel Tov to the newlyweds. And to those bakers, photographers, printers, clerks, judges and others who will lose careers and social standing for not saluting the New World (Dis)Order, we can all direct our Two Minutes of Hate as Big Brother asks of us. Progress! Onward!

  5. My daughter was taken from my home at the end of June/2014. I said I would sign the safety plan but my husband would not. My husband said he would leave the house so my daughter could stay with me but the case worker said no her mind is made up she is taking my daughter. My daughter went to a friends and then the friend filed a restraining order which she was told by dcs if she did not then they would take my daughter away from her. The restraining order was not in effect until we were to go to court. Eventually it was dropped but for 2 months DCS refused to allow me to have any contact and was using the restraining order as the reason but it was not in effect. This was Dcs violating my rights. Please help me I don't have the money for an attorney. Can anyone take this case Pro Bono?

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