If “attorney-client networking” conjures up images of bars and baseball games, prepare to give those expectations the boot. The shoe is on the other foot at Bryan Cave:
For the 53 shoppers who attended a “shoe event” sponsored by law firm Bryan Cave LLP on a recent Tuesday evening — all of them female lawyers and their female corporate clients or friends — getting to know one another while browsing designer shoes was a refreshing change from being the lone woman at a client dinner or sports event.
“The shoes were an icebreaker for starting conversations,” says Elizabeth DaSilva, managing director, Global Trust Services, Americas at Bank of New York. She mulled a pair of high-heeled evening pumps but quickly turned her attention to the other shoppers. “It was the first opportunity I’d had to talk to lawyers my firm uses about something other than an immediate work assignment,” adds Ms. DaSilva.
It’d be easy to mock this kind of thing, and we’re not above that. (Firms, embrace the girly! The Pillsbury Winthrop Bake-Off! The Stroock Stitch ‘n’ Bitch! Quilting with Quinn Emanuel!)
But in all seriousness, we’re totally in favor of some girl-on-girl bonding action.
In a perfect world, all of us would enjoy the same androgynous pastimes, but the reality is that men and women often gravitate toward different activities (see, for example, this article positing that 90 percent of golfers are male because the game is “the modern version of Pleistocene hunting on the savanna”). There’s nothing wrong with firms recognizing that business development needn’t always involve liquor and/or ritualized combat.