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101: Becoming Sought-After with Kirkland’s Dale Cendali

Expertise and Reputation

A lawyer labeled as ‘commercial’ is a good thing. Commercial lawyers are interested in quickly and cheaply resolving the client’s business problems as emphasized in a recent interview with Kirkland Partner, Dale Cendali.  Dale leads her firm’s Copyright, Trademark, Internet and Advertising practice group.

It’s the age of competition and expertise. Even with the growing addition of professional marketing and business development resources within firms, there’s an expectation that partners manage their business; bringing in new clients; staying current, and important to clients. Being aware and accessible.  Seek out opportunities in your area of expertise.   Having started her career when specialization was less valued, Dale developed her IP expertise over time combing her interest in the arts and her work in intellectual property and fair use in support of artists and artist’s rights she researched and learned about her topic.  Enthusiasm alone will not get new clients you need to make people aware of your expertise.  She wrote article after article; and gave speeches to any group that would have her.

Become sought after. Over time Dale developed an expertise and a reputation in her field. Today she’s invited to pitches because of it.  Being contacted by someone you don’t know; or someone who doesn’t know someone you know; the un-affiliated is a sign that you’ve developed a practice. Today, clients seek the best lawyer for the project there is more competition and less institutional loyalty.  Mentor others, build your practice and continue to develop a presence.    You need success and a successful track record to be successful at pitches.

Business development is both new and old school. Be seen, be trusted, be friendly, and be knowledgeable. Offer a personal touch, and showcase others. When clients evaluate partners they see the team. Are they well operating, friendly, knowledgeable, and team players? A lot of business development is new and a lot is not; the accessibility of people through electronic means has changed the pace of client support; while being a nice person, having favorable results is not.

Just starting out? Get involved in bar association work. Pick a group, participate, go to meetings, get to know people and people will get to know you, you’ll learn and you’ll be seen in your community and in your firm as someone getting involved. It can be daunting to do business development; to add more tasks to your ‘list’.  A career is a marathon take a long-term view.

Dale Cendali is a nationally recognized leader in the field of intellectual property litigation. She’s successfully litigated and tried – numerous high profile cases including having argued before the US Supreme Court.   Dale Cendali Bio