Building your brand in a law firm as a young associate is no easy feat. Not to mention, trying to build a book of business at the same time. Richard Segal, however, has proven in his time at Kluger Kaplan, that he knows how to climb the ladder. Rich’s path has been influenced by the firm’s mentorship program, where founding partners mentor new partners and associates to provide them the tools to build and market their practices—something he hopes to pay forward. So, we asked Rich for his advice on building a successful career trajectory.
- What did you learn early on in your career that helped guide you on your path to success?
I learned early on to give more than I take when it comes to climbing the ladder. Join industry and charitable organizations, and attend networking events. In these organizations and within your firm, lend your time with the goal of obtaining a leadership position. Those around you will be impressed that you devote your time for the benefit of an organization and moreover, will perceive you in an authoritative and professional role. Every fruitful marketing relationship starts off by giving—and the return will inevitably come.
If you happen to find yourself in a networking situation where you know other colleagues in the room, always speak highly of them and praise their accomplishments. Remember, what goes around comes around.
- You now work side by side with veteran litigators, handle major class action suits, counsel high profile clients – what have you learned so far from those experiences?
Walk the walk and talk the talk. It may be easier said than done, but confidence can go a long way. If you doubt yourself, it is easy for others to do the same. Some of the most successful, veteran litigators I’ve worked with have an air of confidence that makes you want to work with them. Be confident, not cocky.
- What can a young associate/lawyer do to promote themselves in and outside of the firm? Why is this important?
Do what comes naturally to you and be authentic with your choices. It’s important to find your strength and stay true to that. If public speaking doesn’t come naturally to you, write articles. If you’ve developed a deep connection to an organization, dive in headfirst. Begin within your personal comfort zone, but don’t be afraid to push your boundaries when opportunity presents itself. Learn to understand your weaknesses and turn them into an active pursuit towards personal growth. When opportunity arises, you want to be ready for it.
- As a young partner yourself, how are you helping the firm’s young associates learn the skills you’ve learned?
I like to encourage associates to do more than just attend charity events or networking events. Take ownership and organize the events yourself. Differentiate yourself. And make yourself seen by demonstrating the qualities of a leader.
- Is there anything you learned the hard way? Any missteps you’ve made that an associate eyeing your success could learn from?
I joined the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce early in my career and quite frankly did not know how to “work a room.” I left many networking events feeling defeated—as if I missed an opportunity to appeal to colleagues and peers more authentically. I eventually realized my story was the key to working a room. My grandparents moved to Miami Beach in 1948, my father was born in Miami Beach, I was born at Mount Sinai, and my son was born at Mount Sinai. Starting to see my connection? While I didn’t know at first how to work the room, if I could do nothing more than just tell people my story, about my roots in Miami Beach, I was connecting. Your authentic story is what will bring you to success.
Richard Ian Segal is a partner and practices in Kluger Kaplan’s commercial litigation and family law groups, assisting clients in a range of business and corporate litigation matters, and matrimonial disputes.