Last month, I was asked to speak at the conference in Moscow at the Law Firm Management Committee of the International Bar Association. My task was to provide the best advice or lesson I've learned having started my own law firm particularly in terms of taking advantage of international networking.
I spoke a lot about my experience in setting up an international network of law firms which really could be an innovative and promising element of strategy, although it may sound paradoxical because networking is as old as the hills. I spoke that in a world in which we’re told to chase more Facebook friends, Twitter followers and LinkedIn connections, it’s easy to lose sight of what the purpose of a professional network really is. The network that is small but consists of people who frequently and meaningfully engage with one another can be much stronger than a big network created by people who hardly know each other. By surrounding ourselves with intelligent and creative people of the same business DNA, we can create something lasting and powerful. This was our case with the creation of the New Circle international network of law firms. New Circle was created by lawyers who used to work for Allen&Overy in various countries. It is a unique network of law firms based on quality of services and common understanding.
While I have been briefing my colleagues back in Warsaw on the Moscow conference, I have realized that I didn’t say probably the most important lesson I’ve learned since I started by own business. I should have said:
Surround yourself with successful people - success breeds success.
In my early business career, I didn't take the right opportunities and often went for the easy choice which might have led to an easy solution, but that didn't ignite the fire I needed to build a higher profile. I found myself surrounded by middle-of-the-road people - that's not to say they weren't great people but they were not necessarily inspiring from an entrepreneurial point of view, and I think the culture was one of accepting mediocrity. It's only in the last few years that I can say I got to know truly successful people. My previous boss from Allen&Overy and my colleagues from the New Circle network being a good example.
It's through meeting other successful people, watching what they do and surrounding yourself with like-minded people that you gain the tools to become successful. No one is truly great on their own – it’s a team effort and if you employ other brilliant people, you will be a success!
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