Goal IX Newsletter

Summer 2005, Volume 11, Number 3

Minority Counsel Program - Value in the Valley by: Carl G. Cooper

A dear friend of mine, Iyanla Vanzant, wrote a book entitled “The Value in the Valley” and she graciously commented on her law school professor, who was at the time also her lawyer, for helping her “keep her foot out of her mouth and her butt out of the valley.” I am that lawyer/former professor she was referring to and the book was aimed at helping African-American women specifically and women generally find value in their valley’s so that when they’ve reached their peaks, they could appreciate the struggle.

Carl Cooper

The Minority Counsel Program helps lawyers meet the General Counsel’s from Fortune 500 and 1000 Corporations. Most of these lawyers are from majority and minority law firms. Coming together to network with potential future clients is essential if these large law firm lawyers and smaller minority law firm lawyers are to be successful. For most of these lawyers, they have languished in the Valley without corporate clients to help build, let alone sustain their practices at their firms. Without this networking potential, they would flounder and ultimately leave their large firms or dissolve their small minority firms, which is happening at an epidemic pace. The value in this Valley is that partners can get to know over a short period of time a substantial number of corporate general counsels and vice versa. These periods in the Valley create time to perfect your 8 minute interviews or “elevator presentation”. The programs are designed to allow for fun events, and informational and educational exchanges. Equally as important the Valley presents opportunities for these lawyers to talk among themselves and to talk candidly and honestly about their value to the corporate client and reflect on their value to their firms that send them and help fund the program. While antidotes are present, critical analysis of the problems and opportunities for solutions are nurtured in this environment.

More corporate time by the representatives who attend would enhance the program and increase attendance by firm lawyers and a greater variety of firms should get the opportunity to sponsor and participate in this program.

The Value in the Valley is that we all are in it together and we will succeed or fail together as we aim for and strive for the peak.

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