3 Ways for Corporate Counsel to Overcome Lawyer Stereotypes
It's relatively easy to network within your organization when you work at a law firm. After all, everyone is a lawyer and they have a very good understanding of what you do.
However, when you work as in house counsel at a non-law related business, networking, building connections and making your achievements stand out to a room full of non-lawyers can present its challenges. This is especially true when most people have a negative impression of what lawyers do.
Here are three tips for in house counsel networking that can help you overcome these negative stereotypes, as reported by JD Supra:
- Answer "What do you do?" in a non-legal way. Unfortunately, most peoples' perception of a lawyer is negative. In house counsel are usually the ones that tell the company what they can't do, often throwing a wet towel on the party. Still, you should develop a short introduction of yourself and your work that puts a positive spin on your work, such as helping your company comply with regulations, forming contracts and partnerships, and ensuring that your company has a positive public image.
- Teach people how to use your expertise. As a lawyer, you have a special set of skills that no one else at your company has. Educate your coworkers on when they should call on you and let them know how you can help them and their departments. Many people are scared off by lawyers and in house counsel, so you may have to teach them on when they should come to you.
- Take the initiative. You don't always have to stand back and only react when legal problems arise. Instead, you can take the initiative and help recommend best practices and goals that will not run into legal problems in the first place. Your supervisors may be grateful for your advanced input.
Networking within your organization for in house counsel is as important as networking outside your organization. After all, it is your supervisors who will determine how much of a raise you receive and have the most direct impact on the quality of your work life.