The NALP Newer Professionals’ Forum (NPF), is a two and a half-day conference focused on the development of newer legal recruitment and career services professionals. It is a mega networking and education event. I had the opportunity to attend the 2017 NPF in Houston, TX. I had a wonderful time, learned a lot, and had the opportunity to meet new colleagues and fill my networking spreadsheet. By the way, if you aren’t using the Networking Contacts Spreadsheet available on PSJD, you’re really missing out.
The first night attendees got a brief introduction to NALP and a conference overview. The plenary was followed by a networking reception, where I had the opportunity to speak with members from across the country, who were both legal recruiting professionals and law school career advisers. Somehow, I managed to run into almost all of the attending mid-westerners during the networking event. Since I am a Chicago native, we had a lot to chat about. After networking, we split up and went to dinner in separate locations where I had the opportunity to connect with several recruiting professionals from law firms with offices in the Washington, D.C. area.
The second day was all about learning. For breakfast there were faculty leaders at separate tables facilitating open discussions around various legal topics. Afterward, I attended sessions around management foundations, how career counselors can build relationships with employers and finally a plenary session on recruiting ethics. By the end of the day Saturday, I only had three of my business cards left. I’m an introvert, so I was very impressed with myself.
On Sunday, there was a session on the recruiting numbers, which was extremely eye opening. There have been several calls and initiatives to improve diversity in the legal profession, but the numbers do not show many changes, especially at the partnership and senior associate level. Even looking around the room at the NPF attendees, they were overwhelmingly women. Work-life balance was one of the top advantages cited in the Emerging Legal Careers session for why people pursue JD advantage positions.
Attending NPF was a great experience, and I strongly recommend it for all career counselors, law firm recruiters, and subsequent PSJD Fellows.