I have come home at last! This is my real country! I belong here. This is the land I have been looking for all my life, though I never knew it till now . . . . Come further up, come further in!

C.S. Lewis, Chronicles of Narnia

As I write this column for the Defense Counsel Journal, several IADC members have just returned from an epic, high-altitude hiking adventure in the Peruvian Andes. When they unfurled the IADC flag atop a 16,000-foot summit, they must have marveled that their friendship, tested and strengthened as they climbed up and into the rugged, snow-capped mountains, would not have developed but for their engagement in the IADC.

Their story is not unique. IADC members have traveled the world together, but the connections strike deeper than travel. We have co-counseled cases, collaborated on projects, joined each other's law firms and companies, and attended the weddings of members' children--in at least one instance, children who married each other after meeting at an IADC event. For more than 100 years, we have encouraged and learned from one another, we have faced perilous, uncertain times together, and we have laughed and cried together. Mostly, we have laughed. And in the process, relationships--real relationships--have been forged.

Of course, IADC membership is not inexpensive, and members must justify their involvement to their law firms, companies, and colleagues. Unfortunately, relationships can't be measured on a graph or calculated on a spreadsheet. To address that concern, a cross-section of IADC members recently were asked this question: What one thing could the organization do to increase the value of your membership? The responses were virtually unanimous: increase business referrals.

Armed with that input, the Board of Directors announced two "wildly important goals" for the coming year: (1) increase member satisfaction with business referrals and (2) increase member engagement. The two goals are closely related: engagement leads to relationships, and relationships lead to referrals.

How do referrals flow from relationships? IADC members are the best of the best of the worldwide civil defense bar--advocates who represent business and insurance interests across the globe. Our clients are sophisticated users of legal services. They choose counsel the same way one would choose a surgeon--not from a glossy brochure, slick website, or smooth elevator pitch, but based on a referral from a trusted...

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