THERE'S SPACE FOR EVERYONE IN BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT
The myth that trainees don't have a say in finding and winning work is fast being dispelled, and there is an ever increasing emphasis on the importance of networking (both internal and external) to one's personal and professional development.
Through my involvement in one of HSF's new initiatives, the 'Trainee Business Development Committee', I have come to understand how encouraging active networking among peer groups at the early stages of our careers can lead to important client relationships in the future. For example, say one trainee invites a contact from university, who now works in the banking sector, to an event at HSF. This has advantages both for the firm, and also for the specific trainees who have been able to develop links with the external contact. One day, this contact may be CEO of a major client or potential client, and establishing a familiarity with HSF so early in their career could lead to significant work for the firm. On the other hand, those trainees who were able to develop links with this contact in the early days of their career may now have an established professional relationship with an influential contact.
“The Committee is one example of the range of business development activities in which trainees can get involved, and has been instrumental in furthering my own understanding of the business of law firms.”
The Committee is one example of the range of business development activities in which trainees can get involved, and has been instrumental in furthering my own understanding of the business of law firms. I did not appreciate the significance of the latter until I started my training contract, and realised that we are not only working as lawyers but also as part of a business to which we can contribute. There are many ways of getting involved in business development as a trainee, such as helping out with a pitch or researching key industries/ potential clients, all of which will enhance your understanding of the way in which the firm and the legal industry work.
It's safe to say, though, that one of the key lessons I have learned since embarking on my career, and one which I wasn't expecting, is that it's never too early to start building your own personal network – external as well as internal.