At a networking breakfast recently, I was struck by the different approaches taken by the accountants and lawyers attending.

A “board-table” discussion was generated about the prospects for the economy in 2013, how banks and others could help generate growth, and how companies can plan and forecast to put themselves in a better position.

During the informal networking the lawyers and accountants behaved similarly. But in the discussion they were very different. The accountants were fully engaged, talking about the economy and appearing at ease discussing prospects and commercial issues.

The lawyers – who all worked with commercial and corporate clients – made no contribution. Indeed they looked actively disinterested.

I understand the potential lack of comfort, as a lawyer, with a conversation where you don’t necessarily know the “right answer”. But I’ll bet that none of the MDs and other managers of companies there came away with a positive view of their commercialism, ability to be proactive, or generate ideas. In other words some of the key things that businesses are currently looking for.

And isn’t a key point of networking to generate positive perception and contacts with prospective clients and introducers?

Sometimes, senior fee earners need to up their game. 

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