In Washington, D.C., having a law degree doesn’t mean you practice, and being a lawyer doesn’t mean you work for a firm. So, rather than view as traitors the stream of lawyers who cut their teeth at the quintessential Washington firm Shaw Pittman Potts & Trowbridge, only to leave for government and corporate positions, the firm has decided to institutionalize its network of 400 alumni.

Hiring a temp to help locate former firm lawyers whose whereabouts were unknown to the current Shaw Pittman bunch, the firm created a database of alumni contacts.