Advice from Past ’40 under Forty’ Recipients— The 10 Year Refresh T en years ago, several attorneys recognized as “40 Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch” from the Coalition of Women’s Initiatives In Law provided advice to their younger selves. With another decade of legal practice behind them and having survived the end of a recession, a pandemic, unprecedented hiring, the Great Resig- nation and the overturn of Roe v. Wade, we asked this group for their updated advice. Here is what they had to offer:
If I knew then what I know now.
ANGELA ELBERT Partner, Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg LLP Ten years ago, imagining a worldwide crisis that isolated everyone would have been inconceivable. Because we are pro- fessional service providers, the most cru- cial advice we can heed is to continuously connect, reconnect, and re-establish. At- tend virtual conferences or meet online to cultivate neglected relationships. Propose writing or speaking with clients or pros- pects to re-engage with them profoundly. Volunteer in your community and profes- sion to foster your own leadership roles. Try to make up for lost time by investing in yourself and your career as we reemerge from this pandemic.
LESLEE COHEN Partner, All Rise Legal Counsel 10 years into running my own firm, I’ve learned that business development through networking is a must from Day 1 of lawyering and is actually enjoyable! What this really means is keeping in touch with your contacts and continuously mak- ing new ones. Golf and charity dinners are not necessary for a thriving practice—you just need to form close relationships with referral partners. Having your own clients gives you the freedom to chart your own career course, whether succeeding at a larger firm or taking the incredibly fulfill- ing leap as I did.
NICOLE AUERBACK Partner, ElevateNext Law My advice is:
1. Be kind to others (and yourself). So much of what we do can be done effectively without being uncivil to others. 2. Take risks. You are more likely to re- gret inaction than action. Innovation only occurs if people take risks. 3. It’s a journey, not a sprint. Start or- ganizations like the Coalition. The re- wards are immeasurable.
9. There is no such thing as a dumb question. Working remotely makes it harder to ask those quick questions, but make the effort to reach out and find the best way to com- municate with others, so those questions can be answered. 8. Hot Potato is for the playground. Throwing a project into someone else’s lap that does not reflect your best work will not earn you any points.
7. Raise your hand. Don’t forget that participating in organi- zations, getting leadership experience and helping with firm service is still part of your job and is critical for your development. 6. Can you hear me now? Obtain all the resources to work seamless- ly—this means reliable WIFI and phone service, a high powered printer/scanner and an overnight dropbox.
While there was mention of remote work- ing in the comments above, these women also provided us with a separate Top Ten list of basic reminders for attorneys prac- ticing in our “new normal” or hybrid and remote work: 10. Out of sight, Out of Mind. If you would normally attend a meeting in person, you should have your screen on to demonstrate your attention and focus on the topic at hand.
40 Under Forty 2022 CHICAGO LAWYER & CHICAGO DAILY LAW BULLETIN
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