Perhaps you’ve just started your firm, and you’re already tiring of those “informational” interviews and “getting to know you lunches” with more experienced attorneys. Of course, you’ve met some jerks, but on the whole, they’re all nice enough, incredibly supportive and genuinely interested in helping you out with advice and war stories. But at the end of the meeting or the lunch, you still come away empty handed, with no referrals, no offers of contract work and no idea of whether you’ve made a lasting impression or not.

Here’s a thought that could make one of these meetings a win-win for both you and the other attorney. Consider this advice by Ari Kaplan, entitled
Summer Associates Can Write Their Way to Success (National Law Journal 6/19/07). Kaplan recommends that summer associates volunteer to co-author an article with a partner to distinguish themselves from the dozens of other eager colleagues. Why an article? Well, as Kaplan describes, it’s tangible and lasts longer than a memo, but more importantly, it provides a huge benefit to the partner.

Though Ari gears his article towards summer associates, there’s no reason why the same advice can’t work for a newbie attorney looking to make a positive impression. For example, let’s say that you’re hoping to get overflow work from an employment law attorney? When you meet with the attorney, why not offer to co-author a quick article for a bar newsletter or local newspaper on a recent Supreme Court case or a list of how-to’s or even a post for the lawyer’s blog or an online publication. I’m not suggesting a scholarly piece that will consume hours of time, but just a quick piece that takes a couple of hours of time.

Of course, you’ll have to do most of the work, with your “co-author” merely editing the piece. Still consider the benefits: the other attorney’s credentials will make it easier to place your article in a more visible publication, you’ll get your name in print and best of all – you’ll be at the top of that attorney’s referral list.

So why are you still reading…get in touch with some prospective co-authors and start writing!