6 Tips for Business Management: Jim Donovan Goldman Sachs

For any lawyer who is heading into the law or business world, it’s important to have role models and examples to follow. Recently, Jim Donovan, Goldman managing director and UVA Law adjunct professor, offered six key pieces of advice about being effective at management and client relations. Delivered on October 4th, 2013 at UVA Law, the speech was sponsored by the Career Services Office.

  1. Become a strategic adviser to clients. As James Donovan, with Goldman Sachs experience for decades, explained, this means that you want your clients to view you as their go-to person for advice about anything and everything in the business world.
  2. Bring in new clients. Mr. Donovan explained that this idea greatly worried him when he started with Goldman Sachs, as he thought that this was an innate skill. He learned along the way that it wasn’t innate and that every student should find an someone in their firm or company who does it well and from whom they can learn.
  3. Take classes in the business section of the law school. James Donovan explained that not every law school has a business school, and that students at UVA should take advantage of these opportunities.  These classes, he explained, will help students to learn the substance and jargon of business.
  4. Listen and ask open ended questions. Talk less and listen more in your business interactions, Mr. Donovan advised. People love talking about themselves and will open up and feel more comfortable if you interact in this way.
  5. Be creative in your job as a lawyer. Rather than simply saying “no” when you think something can’t be done – try to find a way around the problem and be creative in your problem solving.
  6. Be upbeat. Jim Donovan of Goldman explained that people may not realize how important this is in their business interactions – but others are attracted to those who are upbeat and positive.