Alumni Leadership Series: Law Firms – Engaging Attorneys Takes Empathy, Innovation & Strategyby Community Admin in Video | Last Edited: 15th September 2019
In this law firm alumni webinar James Sinclair, Principal of EnterpriseAlumni talks to Adrienne Jaroch, Firmwide Alumni Engagement Manager @Kirkland & Ellis and Danya Ray, Alumni Relations Specialist @Greenberg Traurig about the challenges to engage former attorneys and the questions law firms are exploring to drive greater value between former attorneys and the organization.
Some topics explored:
- Exclusive or Open: Debating if alumni programs should be exclusive to ex-attorneys or include operational staff.
- Generational Differences: To deliver value to 5 generations of alumni across all career levels (from interns to retired partners) requires the value proposition for each to be well defined to create a meaningful experience.
- Network Fatigue: You must consistently iterate your engagement strategy as a former employee may be part of multiple Alumni Networks competing for their time.
- Program Innovation: Innovating your offerings, keeping them fresh, and using the platform to showcase your firm as the market leader.
- Competing Priorities (HR vs. Business Development): Many firms compete internally on the value of engaging former attorneys, for example, is it better to rehire or find them a new role at a potential customer.
- Ratings: Leveraging Alumni to ensure you are always ranked highly across all ratings including Acritas and Living Ratings, among others.
- Business Bottom Line: How alumni can impact the bottom line through net new business referrals, knowledge sharing, and access to talent.
Five important takeaways:
(1) Higher education programs can be a rich source of best practice and learning. Whilst terminology varies, the community goals and core tenants of delivering mutual value, being authentic and serving a purpose are shared between business and education alumni programs. A new role vs graduating; referring a colleague or business vs asking for a donation – different semantics, same motivation!
(2) Being exclusive does not always mean being exclusive. Many law firms only allow attorneys to join their platform. This is not intended to devalue the importance of their operational staff but rather to allow them to explicitly focus on this particular audience to deliver reciprocal value.
(3) Data. Data. Data. The importance of being able to view, dissect, cross-analyze and have access to a tool kit to help identify what is working and what is not …. and then double down on what works best vs trying to be good at everything.
(4) Competition is healthy and should be encouraged! An attorney may be a member of multiple Alumni networks, having worked at a variety of prestigious firms. There is no need for programs to battle for their attention but rather, strategy should focus on being authentic and true to the culture of the organization and ensuring this is communicated to former employees.
(5) Having ‘a seat at the table’ matters. From involving Alumni in volunteering days, to inviting them into a lunch, to matching donations for their fundraisers. There are so many opportunities to make Alumni part of the conversation as opposed to an afterthought. How? By graciously inserting yourself into as many conversations and opportunities as possible, with the intention of identifying where value to Alumni might exist.