Jenner & Block

Nationally Recognized Author Says Fine Art of Small Talk Creates Big Opportunities

Jenner & Block’s Women’s Forum on Tuesday evening hosted a talk and training session with prominent author and speaker Debra Fine entitled, “The Fine Art of Small Talk.”  Women attorneys of the Firm were reminded of several networking fundamentals and were presented with strategies to ensure that, “every conversation is an opportunity.”

According to Ms. Fine, one approach to master nearly any networking event is to “assume you are the host of every event.”  By adopting this posture, she noted, one is more apt to be a part of more substantial and inclusive conversations.  “Real networking is when you include those around you,” she said, and is not creating a string of isolated conversations that don’t engender lasting relationships.

She also led the attorneys in several interactive breakout groups, where Partners and Associates practiced newly learned strategies for such key – but often neglected – networking fundamentals as remembering names, “breaking the ice,” and listening skills that help facilitate great conversations.

Ms. Fine has led similar seminars on how professionals can develop their conversation skills and techniques for clients such as Lockheed Martin, IBM, Cisco Systems, and The American Bar Association.  More information about Ms. Fine and her work can be found at her website,

The Women's Forum is a Firm-sponsored initiative to foster opportunities for professional, social and personal growth for all of its women attorneys, to communicate the Firm's commitment to the success of its women attorneys and to enhance the visibility and recognition of Jenner & Block's leadership in support of women in the legal profession.

Pictured: (top) is Ms. Fine (second from right) with Women’s Forum Steering Committee members (from left) Gail H. Morse; E. Lynn Grayson; Debbie L. Berman; Susan C. Levy, and Linda L. Listrom.  Also pictured (middle, from left) is Steering Committee member Barbara S. Steiner (left) with Ms. Fine.  The Women’s Forum Steering Committee also includes Partner Stephanie A. Scharf, who is President-elect of the National Association of Women Lawyers.  Pictured (bottom) are several Women’s Forum attorneys practicing conversational techniques during one of Ms. Fine’s interactive sessions