A young associate asked:
Which extracurricular / community activities would be the most beneficial in my overall client development and how such activities can lead to client development (specific examples and/or stories would be great?
Do something that you are passionate about so that you are motivated to participate and stick with it long enough that you ascend to a position of leadership within the organization.
When I was a young lawyer I was told I had to be in Rotary. I hated every Thursday night when I had to go to the weekly dinner meeting. I also hated the bingo fund raising project, in part because most bingo players smoked. So get involved in a community service activity for which you are passionate.
During my career I taught Sunday School to high school students and Nancy and I were in charge of our church high school youth group. I didn’t do it to get business. I did it because I was passionate about teaching and I wanted to find ways to reach high school students who would rather be somewhere other than church.
I do not recommend that you get involved in community service or charitable organizations to get business. I believe you should get involved because of the joy you feel serving the cause. You may get business because members of the group get to know your character and your leadership skills, but that should not be your motivation.
Neil Carrey, one of my former partners generated lots of legal work from people he met while serving several charities. You can see from his website bio that community service has been an important part of his life. Neil never asked for business or did anything to promote himself. He got the business because business leaders in the charities concluded he was the type of lawyer they respected and trusted.