Saturday, June 5, 2010


What Goes Around . . .

Katherine M. White

“With every relationship – personal and professional – there is give and take. Looking for ways to compromise when possible and treating others with respect are attributes that can pay off later, in
how others treat you and whether they want to work with you.”

– Tamika Langley Tremaglio, Huron Consulting

This article is about the power of building relationships.
It is about building a successful book of business and a successful career through writing and speaking.
And it is about why doing great work and going the extra mile can help benefit your organization and you long after you have left one employer and moved on to another.

Two incredible and successful people agreed to be interviewed for this article. Tamika Tremaglio is a JD/MBA as well as the Washington Office Managing Director and co-leader of the global disputes and investigations practice for Huron Consulting Group. Kirk Pasich is a partner heading the insurance coverage practice at Dickstein Shapiro and is also a member of the Executive Committee there.

Relationships Matter

Tamika Tremaglio and I met in 2003 while I was at Morgan Lewis and she at a Big Four accounting firm. We worked together on a joint expert-witness deposition project that was ultimately very successful, giving 10 attorneys the opportunity to practice deposing expert witnesses and 10 consultants practice testifying. After the program was over, Tamika kept in touch with me by inviting me out to lunch and to receptions
 and other events at her firm. Later, when I moved to Dickstein Shapiro and she to Huron Consulting, we convinced our new employers to offer the expert witness training program. The program was a great success once again, benefiting both our firms and the attorneys and consultants who were trained.

I did not think I would ever be in a position to refer business to Tamika, or to reciprocate for all of her personal kindnesses to me. But she continued to reach out and to offer Dickstein, and later Akin Gump,
top-notch, and free-of-charge, accounting and financial training programs for their attorneys. This was a
great way for the firms to obtain training from outside experts, and Tamika’s active networking helped
 Huron gain exposure to the partners at these firms. Again, both Huron and the law firms benefited.

Fast forward to 2009. I was now Chief Attorney Recruiting Officer at Akin Gump. Tamika asked if I would introduce her to one of our litigation partners who is well known in her field. I arranged for the two of them to meet, and Tamika was engaged as an expert in one of the partner’s current cases during their first meeting. Through her work and other networking opportunities, Tamika kept in touch with this partner and began to form a professional relationship. The story came full circle earlier this year when Tamika was instrumental in referring a piece of business to Akin Gump.

Writing Your Way To A Successful Career

“I read the local legal newspaper, and noticed that practitioners would write columns about their field of expertise but that no one was writing a column about entertainment law. So I called the editor.…” - Kirk Pasich, Dickstein Shapiro

Kirk Pasich has built a successful career in the insurance coverage and entertainment law field. For 21 years, since he was a mid-level associate at Paul Hastings, he has written columns for The Los Angeles Daily Journal on entertainment law, courtroom craft, and insurance law. And he continues today to write a monthly column on insurance law.

Kirk saw an opportunity and was willing to put in the extra time to make it work.

Having clients, practitioners, mediators, and judges see his name in print, month after month, on topics of interest has served him well. People contact Kirk with questions. They refer business to him. They send his articles to friends, who contact him about potential business. Kirk keeps in touch with his contacts by sending them articles every month along with quarterly client alerts; he also keeps them informed about developments and trends that affect their business.

In addition to writing, Kirk has built contacts through public speaking and by doing great work for clients that impresses both the client and often opposing counsel (who have referred work to him as a result). Each of these things redounds to Kirk’s reputation as an expert and to his success in developing business.

Associates are often skeptical about how they can emulate Kirk’s success in their own careers. Kirk believes that they, too, can succeed with his model. Publications of all kinds, including industry blogs and magazines,
are eager to find authors to submit articles. Associates should volunteer to speak at bar association meetings, client industry conferences and meetings, in-house training programs, and business development events and conferences. They should work to become experts in their fields and to keep up with the business of their clients.

Four Cornerstones of Successful Networks

Last fall when I left Akin Gump, I turned to the network I had been building during my entire career. Through my contacts, I landed three amazing consulting opportunities that have enabled me to continue working in my field. I have seen firsthand how building relationships and friendships through networking and doing great work helps you when you most need it.
In my experience, these are the four cornerstones of building successful networks:

• Building a great reputation inside your organization by doing great work and being known for your contributions.

• Becoming a resource to colleagues inside and outside of your organization, the person they know can bring people together to achieve a goal.

• Reaching out to clients and colleagues outside of your organization in a consistent and organized manner and maintaining a relationship with your contacts.

• Attending networking events to build your contact list and stay informed about new developments in your field and practice.

Networking 101

Many books and articles have been written about this topic, and no article would be complete without a “how to” list for effective networking.

1. Determine a strategy for your networking goals.

2. Build your contact list via “” or other social networking sites that will maximize the contacts of your friends and colleagues and give you a platform for organizing your contacts.

3. List the people in your network and the people you would like to invite to join your network. Include friends, colleagues from your current and past places of employment, family members, college and law school classmates, and others you meet at business and social occasions.

4. Rank your contacts in order of importance from one to five – one for the contacts you believe can be the most helpful to you, and five the least helpful.

5. Then begin to contact the people in your network who can be the most helpful to you in achieving your goals. For example, you can contact all of the people you ranked #1 first, and see where these contacts lead you, before moving on to others on your list.

6. Make sure you have an agenda for meetings with contacts, so you will be able to make the most of their time with you, and they will come away from the meeting with a clear idea of what you are asking of them. And remember to be on the lookout for what you might be able to do for them.

7. Follow up after meeting with your contacts and be sure to follow through on anything you offered to do for them during your meeting.

So why bother? What can you gain from meeting with contacts, and what can they gain from meeting with you?

 Here are five benefits:

1. You will have the opportunity to get to know people whom you respect as successful in their field. If you are able to make a connection, you will begin to form a relationship that can be useful to both of you for years.

2. If you are on a job search, your contacts can provide information about an industry or specific field that will be helpful. They can provide answers to questions you may have as preparation for a job interview.

3. You can learn insider information about a specific work place and the people who run it. What is it really like to work there? Are people happy? How are employees treated? What kinds of clients or work do they have there?

4. You may get ideas about other people you might contact.

5. You can find much-needed mentoring and support.

There are many ways to approach networking, build a reputation, and develop business. At times the benefit may not be immediate or obvious; but rest assured, when I hear “what goes around comes around,” I no longer think of this as a negative threat. It is true in the best possible way, and I’m the first one to nod my head.

About the author, my friend of over 30 years:

Katie White consults on attorney talent management, career counseling, and business development.
 She has over 20 years of experience in law firm professional development, attorney recruiting, and diversity initiatives. She is based in Washington, DC,

Katie can be reached at

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