Throughout the summer we have been reminded of how important it is to build relationships throughout the community — someone who truly embodies this statement is Scott Baena. Last week, my fellow summer associates and I had the chance to have lunch with Scott at Seaspice. With a beautiful view of the Miami River and over some delicious seafood, we chatted about Scott’s journey to Miami, the most memorable parts of our summer so far, and the challenges associated with transitioning from law school to practicing attorneys. However, the conversation that resonated with me the most was Scott’s advice regarding professional development.

Scott is actively involved in The Academy. The Academy is a two-week training program for first year associates which focuses on the development of critical professional and intrapersonal skills. Of specific focus is relationship building. Scott explained to us that during the Academy, he emphasizes the importance of building relationships as soon as possible in your legal career. He explained to us that the relationships you build are invaluable. Not only can these relationships lead to potential business, but most importantly, they help keep you grounded. Accordingly, Scott prefers to think of professional development as building meaningful relationships, not as solely generating business.

A way to build these relationships is by joining organizations throughout the community. However, as Scott pointed out, in order to build meaningful relationships, you have to join organizations that you are passionate about/ share in their vision. In addition, Scott differentiated between professional organizations and organizations in which you simply have an interest in.

Because professional development is not something really talked about in law school, my fellow summers and I are very appreciative of Scott’s wisdom and advice. Accordingly, I know that I have began thinking about what organizations I would like to join in the near future as a way to build relationships.