LET'S NOT DO LUNCH: Robert Half Legal Survey Shows Lawyers Conducting Fewer Business Lunches

TORONTO, Feb. 9, 2012 /CNW/ - The "power lunch" could be losing some of its luster within the legal profession, a new Robert Half Legal survey suggests. One in two lawyers (50 per cent) interviewed recently said these lunches are less common than they were three years ago. But breaking bread over business, while less common, still happens somewhat regularly. Respondents reported meeting clients or colleagues for a business lunch twice a month, on average.

The survey was developed by Robert Half Legal, a premier legal staffing firm specializing in lawyers, law clerks, paralegals and other highly skilled legal professionals. It was conducted by an independent research firm and includes responses from 150 lawyers at the largest law firms and corporations in Canada.

Lawyers were asked, "In your opinion, are 'power lunches' more or less common than they were three years ago?" Their responses:

    <<
    Much more common..................................................  4%
    Somewhat more common..............................................  7%
    The same.......................................................... 31%
    Somewhat less common.............................................. 28%
    Much less common.................................................. 22%
    Don't know/no answer..............................................  7%
                                                                      ------
                                                                       99%*
    * Responses do not total 100 per cent due to rounding.
    >>

Lawyers also were asked, "How often, if at all, do you meet clients or colleagues for a 'power lunch' in a typical month?" The median response was two times.

"Considering today's hectic work environment, it is becoming more difficult for legal professionals to find the time for a business lunch," said John Ohnjec, a division director of Robert Half Legal in Canada. "This is prompting lawyers to more frequently use email and social media to stay in touch with their contacts, rather than having face-to-face meetings."

In the tightly knit legal community, maintaining and nurturing professional relationships is important for business development and career growth. "An in-person meeting outside the office provides a valuable opportunity to make a more significant connection, as well, can establish great rapport," Ohnjec said.

Robert Half Legal offers the following five tips for holding productive in-person meetings:

    <<
    -  Location, location, location. Choose a restaurant you're familiar
       with, is easy to find and has a varied menu. Make sure your choice
       isn't so noisy it's difficult to hear.

    -  Don't be late. Make every effort to be on time or, ideally, get there
       early. You can then select a table that's conducive to a business
       discussion and greet everyone as they come in.

    -  Cut to the chase. Remember that people have busy schedules and can
       spend only limited time away from the office. While you want to
       include personal topics in the conversation, after all the guests have
       placed their orders, steer the discussion to the business agenda. You
       want to make sure there's ample time to focus on the purpose of the
       meeting.

    -  Turn off electronic devices. Cell phones should be silenced when you
       enter the restaurant. Aside from being rude, answering calls or
       checking email during a lunch meeting wastes everyone's time. As the
       host, devoting full attention to the conversation is your
       responsibility.

    -  Mind your manners. Few things are more uncomfortable than dining with
       someone who is condescending to the wait staff. A courteous and
       respectful attitude puts everyone at ease and sets a relaxed tone for
       the meeting.
    >>

About Robert Half Legal

Robert Half Legal is the legal staffing division of Robert Half International. The company provides law firms and corporate legal departments with highly skilled professionals, including lawyers, law clerks, paralegals and legal support personnel, on a project and full-time basis. Robert Half Legal offers online job search services at www.roberthalflegal.com.

SOURCE Robert Half Legal

For further information: Nadia Santoli, (416) 350-2330, nadia.santoli@rhi.com


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