Special thanks to co-author Jenn Falls, a Senior Manager in Foley's Dallas office, for her contributions to this article.
Foley’s junior associates missed out on opportunities to make professionally important in-person connections during months or years of remote work. So the firm offered them the unique chance to build and foster relationships with colleagues through an initiative called Foley Bound.
With Foley Bound, new associates who joined the firm as members of the classes of 2020 and 2021 were encouraged to plan a thoughtful visit to another Foley office of their choosing to meet people they have been working with remotely. Generally, it was a two-day, two-night trip, and associates were urged to schedule meetings and lunches with lawyers they have not met before in person. Foley’s professional development team provided trip planning tools, budget guidance, and mentor support to help associates make the most of their Foley Bound trip.
The legal profession is a relationship business, and strong connections with colleagues can not only improve associates’ day-to-day work life but also their overall career trajectory. Raising visibility with colleagues provides new opportunities for interesting projects now, opens up sources of mentor relationships, and may also help with business development efforts later on as co-workers today can be potential clients tomorrow.
Just one of the ways Foley is helping to fully integrate associates who joined the firm during the pandemic, Foley Bound has elicited extremely positive feedback from participants. Here is what some had to say:
“I greatly enjoyed the opportunities for in-person collaboration on ongoing projects and in-person mentoring and networking. I've worked with these attorneys frequently over the last 18 months, and being in the oﬃce allowed me to get to know them better on a personal level and to brainstorm and collaborate on current projects.”
“There is no substitute for showing up in person, and this was the single best thing I could have done with my time and energy to … begin to build meaningful connections with members of the practice group.”
“It was great meeting in person attorneys with whom I'd already worked. There were several people I'd been building relationships with over the past year, so it was valuable to interact with them in a more tangible way.”
“It made me feel much more connected within the ﬁrm, and I feel a lot more conﬁdent reaching out to [the attorneys I met] in the future if our practice areas ever overlap or if I need assistance on anything.”
“[My trip] helped solidify my relationships within the practice group and allowed me more face time. We work so cross collaboratively it was nice to ﬁnally meet everyone.”
“Being able to meet and have face-to-face communication with attorneys I'd only ever communicated with via email [was invaluable]. Getting lunch, dinner, and drinks with these attorneys let me talk to them outside of the deal context and make stronger connections.”
“It was valuable to meet attorneys in person with whom I've been working, and others with whom they work. It was nice to spend time formally and informally with these attorneys. It was convenient to discuss matters and be able to quickly and easily ask questions on assignments, and generally be around.”
Over 60% of eligible associates took a Foley Bound trip over the six-month period it was offered. Associates from all three of the firm’s departments visited 17 different Foley offices and formed countless relationships. Due to the overall success of Foley Bound with the 2020 and 2021 classes, the firm is looking to extend it in the future to associates hired as laterals as well.