April 2014 Dicta
by Meyling Ly, DAYL President

One of the fun things that the president of the DAYL gets to do is come up with themes or special projects that they want to focus on during their year of presidency. One of my projects for this year is to encourage and enable young lawyers to manage their own careers and “make it sprinkle.”

Obviously, “making it sprinkle” lacks the certain je nais se quoi that “make it rain” does, but I’m trying to keep it real. For some of us, we barely got our job and every day is a prayer not to commit malpractice so “making it rain” is as likely as starring in our own personal rap video. I promise you – I get it. But from my personal experience, whenever I’ve brought my head up from the drone of counting my time in six minute increments, I’ve noticed that the lawyers who are calling the shots (and who have the freedom to take real two-week vacations) are usually the ones with a significant book of business. Through the years, I also began noticing some of my colleagues working their you-know-what off – but getting passed up on partnership or some having to transition to other firms altogether…the dreaded horror stories of “up or out.”

This really got me thinking…how can young lawyers ever get “there” if we’re too busy sitting behind our desks with laser-sharp focus on fulfilling our billables? Don’t get me wrong – billables are what they are (and certainly need to be met) – but at some point, this systematic tunnel vision is stunting our professional growth as we focus on the illusive carrot of “guaranteed” partnership and forget to personally manage our careers. Bottomline? You’ve got to make some time to invest in your own career.

Now that you’ve got the “why” of why it’s one of my focuses, here’s the how. Hopefully, you were able to attend the CLE committee’s Lunch and Learn on January 23, where we had a panel of rainmakers discuss their tips for young lawyers. If you missed it, there’s a great recap in the February DICTA. Last month, the Young In-House Counsel committee presented a panel of general counsel who shared how they got their job (want to move in-house anyone?) and how to get and keep their business. Check out the recap in this issue.

If you missed these events, no worries – because we have more programming in the works! Save the date for the Young Partners committee’s panel on May 8, where young partners will share their tips on what it took for them to get where they are and what they wish they knew as young lawyers. We also have a women’s business development event planned for July 10 at Times Ten Cellar, where a panel of women from different size firms and practice areas (and a consultant) will share their tips. After the panel, there will be opportunity to “practice” the tips shared with shopping for a cause. Finally, we will have a speed networking event in October and a final CLE on ethically engaging clients in December. Of course, if you have any ideas for programming on how young lawyers can “make it rain,” I’d love to hear it. In the meantime, I hope that you’ll take advantage of the programming we’re offering this year – and work on making it sprinkle.