How to Create a Law Firm Alumni Program
If your alumni relations program isn’t a priority for your marketing, recruiting and business development efforts for 2022, it should be!
Here are some ideas on how to creatively and effectively engage with your alumni beyond just hosting an alumni event or sending out a periodic email.
Law firm alumni are among the most important referral, new business and recruiting sources as well as brand ambassadors.
Law firms of all sizes have alumni – yet many firms are not yet investing in creating an alumni relations program. Here’s why and how you should.
My very first job at a law firm was to lead the Alumni Relations program at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP 20 years ago.
Supervising this program showed me how alumni can be integrated into the community of a company throughout their career lifecycle.
I then ran alumni programs at Sullivan & Cromwell, MoFo and Proskauer, and as technology improved so did alumni relationship management.
A law firm alumni program is more than planning periodic events and building an alumni database and website.
It’s about creating a long-term supportive community throughout the alum quarry life cycle.
It is about supporting their professional development.
Most alumni who have left your firm to move into another area or to go in-house don’t have the luxury of having many pro bono opportunities to choose from, but law firms do. So, extend these opportunities to your alumni – they will greatly appreciate it.
It is also about creating opportunities for alumni to reconnect. You can do this through an online alumni directory as well as events.
Offer alumni a combination of in-person and virtual events that are both social and educational (CLE credit is more difficult to obtain when you are not at a law firm, so provide alumni access to your online CLE library or to the CLE resources you have).
Provide your alumni with the public relations opportunity such as article writing opportunities and if you know that they are an expert in a certain area of law, and you receive a reporter request, why not ask for it. send them (as long as they are not a direct competitor).
Offer alumni the opportunity to express themselves on panels.
Promoting your alumni and their successes should be at the heart of your alumni relations program.
Create an electronic newsletter with a “class notes” section announcing job changes, promotions and other professional achievements of alumni. Alumni want to know more about each other’s successes.
Encourage alumni to send information about themselves, which will help you enter their contact details.
Monitoring alumni and their career development should be at the heart of your alumni relations program.
You can have the best content in the world, but if you don’t reach your alumni, it’s worthless.
If you don’t have the internal resources to manage your alumni data, it’s worth the investment to outsource it. Leopard Solutions does a great job of tracking alumni.
There will be alumni you want to keep close at hand – clients, potential clients, referral sources, judges and in-house lawyers.
Create opportunities for them to help guide the direction of the alumni program – in one company we have created an alumni board that has provided invaluable input on the direction of the program.
Investing in the elders is such a smart investment for everyone involved – so start investing in them and yourself today.
Copyright © 2022, Stefanie M. Marrone. All rights reserved.National Law Review, Volume XII, Number 1