How to network with higher ups while on the inside of a company?
February 5, 2012 11:14 AM   Subscribe

I'm starting a contract position at a Fortune 500 company. How can I network my way into a job?

I've been an attorney for the past 7 years, and am looking to transition to an alternative legal career such as compliance. I just got a 3 month contract with a Fortune 500 company doing document review, and would like to work for them past my contract. The contract will end after 90 days no matter what.

How do I go about networking with people or hiring managers who may be able to help me out with getting a more permanent gig?
posted by reenum to Work & Money (2 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Networking is pretty simple, but it may be hard to do if you confine yourself to merely document review. Instead, you need to be helpful to the attorneys (and business people) working the case. You need to spend the next 20-30 days completely understanding every aspect of the case that you are doing document review for. Then, you need to do your best to provide insights that people aren't asking for - to both the attorneys and the business people working the issue.

When you aren't up late at night reading about the case, you should try to have lunch and dinner with your new colleagues. Ask about their families. What other projects are they working on? Is there anything you can do on this case so they can spend more time working on their own?

Finally, if this case is related to some compliance violation, there is often a need to develop some sort of a mitigation plan as part of a settlement agreement with a regulator. If this is the case, get your hands on previous mitigation plans if you can so you can understand them. You may be able to extend your employment to work on the mitigation plan, or better yet get the mitigation plan handled during the 90 days of employment that you have.

In short, you need to make yourself well-known, personable, and valuable to both the attorneys and business people you're working with, and you need to do it by quickly preparing so you can understand as much as possible about the case and the business you're working on/for.

The best in-house counsel are attorneys that don't just offer legal advice, but also understand the business well enough to offer business advice.
posted by Pants! at 12:14 PM on February 5, 2012 [3 favorites]

First, congratulations on landing the job!

Second, I've had a couple of business consultants mention the book Never Eat Alone as a good framework for building the kinds of relationships that you are wanting to build.
posted by gauche at 5:29 AM on February 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

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