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It sometimes feels as though the biggest legal deals are struck not in a stuffy conference room, but instead, on the golf greens or the tennis courts. Attorney and founder A. Harrison Barnes says it’s because the law profession requires aggression and there are times when the dynamics provided via these outlets is conducive for striking those legal goldmines that merge companies, make billions in profits or settle disputes in divorce settlements.

But what about those who have no clue as to what “on par” or “twenty love” means and really have no interest in knowing? Men and women who are in the legal sector know all too well the feelings of being left out when they have no desire to discuss business between the holes on the golf courses. It can be difficult, says Barnes, but with a bit of planning, you don’t have to miss out entirely. When possible, you can sometimes suggest lunch at the country club before a tennis match is even suggested, thereby eliminating the possibility in its entirety, at least for that particular day. This will allow you to be a part of the conversations while also providing that relaxed atmosphere the golf greens offer.

Remember, too, that the environment in the great outdoors offers the perfect networking atmosphere for many and it’s not so much the game itself, but the escape from the office.  Is there a reason you’re not interested in learning golf or tennis? If you’re holding out because you’re making a statement, you might only be limiting yourself in the long run. Of course, no one should feel as though they “have” to do something and certainly when that “something” isn’t part of their job description; but you might be surprised to learn you actually enjoy the game if you give it a fair shot. Ask your husband or wife or even a colleague for a few pointers or better still, enroll in a few classes. Worse case scenario, if you hate it, you’re not obligated to continue.

If you’re certain there’s no place for you on the golf course or tennis court, but you need to be a part of the informal meeting, suggest meeting for a drink later in the afternoon or maybe even an early dinner. This works well if you’re meeting at a member’s only club and the client and your fellow attorneys are able to freshen up first. This way, you can get a quick rundown of anything you might have missed while also presenting your own thoughts or solutions.

Keep in mind, too, that not as much gets done on the greens as many believe, which should serve as a consolation to the non-golfers. Often, it’s nothing more than a quick escape with a fellow golfer. It’s great for breaking the ice and of course, for networking. If you’re an intricate part of the legal team, the founder says that not much will be decided without your input anyway.

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