28 October 2009

The Philadelphia Bar Association is not serious about helping underemployed attorneys

From today's e-mail:
Training Program for Attorneys
Who Need to Develop New Business

Presented by the Training Resource Group and the Philadelphia Bar Association

[ ... ]

Fee: The cost is $795 per participant which includes four training sessions, one individual coaching session and materials.
Holy mother of christ, 800 clams to teach newly laid-off attorneys and new graduates how to hand out business cards, network, and hustle for new clients and gigs?

If the Philadelphia Bar Association were truly interested in reducing un- and underemployment among area lawyers, they would organize job fairs to get firms and attorneys to meet and hire one another. Or put up some kind of online legal services delivery clearinghouse where potential clients could find lawyers and hire them. Or sponsor events where solo practitioners with few or even no clients in their books could meet and explore putting together their own firms or legal services organizations so that underserved constituencies could hire them. Instead, the PBA offers this course, which seeks to
[d]evelop and implement a cost effective training program targeted at introducing business development skills to attorneys. After completing the program, participants will have the mindset, skills, and confidence to create an individual business development plan, successfully network and create strategic partnerships, better cross-sell current clients and build account relationships at a higher level. The program will focus on teaching tactics and techniques that will help participants to develop new opportunities and turn those opportunities into new clients.
Sounds like "how to bill your dwindling client base more and more money, even as you're losing them because they can't afford you any more" and "how to get those clients to refer you, at your increased rates, to more clients" and "how to make other attorneys think these tactics are actually finding you work" to me.
Friday, Dec. 4
Building a Stronger Network
Learn the secrets to participating in, or founding, a successful peer group, accountability group or referral group.
Secrets? It's a $200 secret (one quarter of the course) to toss your pals some e-mail suggesting that you pool your resources and share an office or put a firm together?
Friday, Nov. 20
The Basics of Networking and Building a Memorable 30-Second Commercial
Learn the basics of networking. Develop a plan that will help you choose appropriate events to attend how to approach each event, and tips for turning the events into business contacts.
What's an event where it's appropriate to hand someone a business card? Here, I'll save you another $200. YES: A cocktail party or gallery opening; a summer barbecue; an alumni event for any school you've attended; the holiday party at your partner's work. NO: A funeral; a transaction involving controlled substances; an evening at the Pleasure Garden (NSFW).

It's every lawyer for herself, I think. Best to go out on your own (or find a small group of pals with skills in complementary areas of practice), underbid the firms, and use that Jenkins membership of yours for all the LexisNexis access it can get you.

1 comment:

upyernoz said...

i wonder if part of the high price isn't a problem with the bar association's culture. most of their programs are not paid for by individual members. instead, the member's firm picks up the tab. i wouldn't be surprised if $795 was lower than the fee they charge to a lot of their other events. to the organizers, whose sense of perspective is hopelessly skewed after years of overcharging firms for CLEs, they might see this as a discount rate for unemployed lawyers.

just a guess. but the folks who run the PBA probably have little sense of what being a new unemployed saddled with debt lawyer is like. if they did know, the price of their program wouldn't pass the laugh test