by Angela Davis Pallozzi ’05
When I decided to become a lawyer it was to practice law, not marketing. But the reality of the current private legal market is that everyone has to be in business development. When I started at my firm, I was strongly encouraged to build a network of people who were not lawyers. The problem was that, after three years of law school and two years of clerking, everyone I knew, aside from my family, was a lawyer. How was I going to meet non-lawyers?
One colleague recommended I get involved in something, anything non-lawyer related that I cared about. I thought a lot about this and realized I cared about education and promoting higher education. So I went to an alumni event at Stevenson University. Not knowing anyone, my introverted side kept me circling the room not talking to anyone. Fortunately, I met a very kind woman who chatted with me and introduced me to a few other people. Since then, I have become very involved with the alumni board and have held several positions. I know everyone on the board and never go to an event without knowing someone. Everyone is super nice and has the same goal—to make SU great and get more alumni involved.
Over the years, I learned that building real relationships with people is how I prefer to “develop business.” I intentionally use quotes because I don’t want to just build a network relationship, I want to actually get to know people. Once I trust you and your work product, I will absolutely refer work to you. I don’t just want to hear about your success at work. I want to learn about what you like, what you do with your spare time, what brought you to Maryland. The professional stuff comes into play, but it is not the forefront.
I also prefer to get involved in causes I care about and want to devote my time to. Having a common goal with others is a great way to get to know each other and really see what the person is about. I cannot say that my plan for business development is going to work for you. But to those who are wallflowers at networking events, I encourage you to find something you care about and get involved. Maybe you’ll find those opportunities right here at your alma mater, and make new friends as well as business connections.
Angela Davis Pallozzi, Esq. is counsel at Offit Kurman P.A. in Baltimore.