As a former practitioner, I understand what it’s like to practically feel the weight of the world on your shoulders. When servicing clients, I can all too vividly recall the sensation of feeling bound to my desk by the demands of a case, or by the partner for whom I was working. The thought of walking outside to network, take clients to lunch or attend business development seminars sounded like a joke. I often functioned under the assumption that I would get around to business development after I had won all my current cases, or after I had met all my month’s deadlines, or after I had succeeded the firm’s current partners. This, my friends, is a very dangerous perspective!
Your desk can be one of the best and worst places for you. It can most certainly be the place where you perform the absolute best work for your clients. It can also be your professional prison. If you spend every hour of every day of every week of every year at your desk, then you will be the attorney who (quite literally) disappears under piles of paper and a full inbox. I made this mistake once, and it took me a considerable amount of time to dig myself out.
Schedule time on your calendar during which you get away from your desk and outside your office. You need face-to-face interaction, not only with your colleagues, but with those who will someday be bringing you your next matter. Attend the socials, attend the luncheons, invite professional friends and contacts to lunch or coffee, and find at least one organization to join that will open the door to opportunities for you to interact with like-minded individuals.