A few months ago, we posted about the growth of law firm alumni networks. Now, there’s another article on that topic this month, Law Firms Leverage Alumni to Drum Up Business (New York Lawyer, 8/4/05). This article discusses some of the the benefits that large firms get from alumni networks, such as contacts with potential clients and positive testimonials from former attorneys. But the benefits cut both ways. Former biglaw attorneys can also gain benefits from alumni networks in the form of potential referrals or contract work.
The only way that attorneys can benefit from an alumni network,
however, is to refrain from burning bridges when they leave. Many
times, when attorneys depart large firms, it’s not under the best of
circumstances and there’s a great temptation to speak one’s mind.
Don’t. You don’t have to go out of your way to express gratitude when
leaving your firm, but at least be polite and cordial. Your future
success (and you will succeed, no matter how things went down at your
law firm) is far better proof of wrong the firm was in the way it
treated you than angry words. And who knows, the firm just might need
you for something sometime in the future.