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Why Networking is So Important in the Legal Industry

— March 25, 2020

Connections can uplift your career in the legal profession because you place yourself in the minds of potential employers. It is a way to ensure that your skills, strengths, and accomplishments will not be ignored. 

In order to sustain a successful law practice, there are two main goals that have remained intact over the last decades: maintaining current clients by answering effectively to their concerns and acquiring new clients. Now, these objectives around how to develop a prosperous practice might not have changed, but the means and ways of getting there are a different matter. Here’s where networking comes in.

Networking is…

Networking is the process by which professional contacts are gained by interacting with people at business-related events, exchanging contact details according to common interests, and developing connections within existing networks. Networking is about building and managing relationships with the purpose of developing business and/or acquiring clients, either to your own practice or referring to someone else’s.

This is not about “using others”. It’s not gossiping. It’s not a “show off” move or a bluff. Networking involves an honest and constant effort in helping others, in the hopes that maybe, but not necessarily, you might receive help as well. 

Beyond legal practices and firms, networking is at the basis of any business development activity. Here, we can recognize it each time a lawyer looks for advice on a specific issue and in return offers their aid for any possible future concern that involves his field of expertise. 

This article will take you through the meaningful qualities networking has to offer inside the legal industry and the steps that should be followed to display competent networking skills. 

Networking Effectively, a Step-by-Step handbook

As we mentioned above, networking is about establishing and maintaining fruitful professional relationships and contacts. Imagine you meet someone with a given specialization and, later on, you realize that this person’s knowledge and expertise can help someone else you know from your professional environment. All you need to do is connect both contacts to facilitate opportunities to obtain useful advising. 

Let’s bring this down to actionable items. Here are some footsteps that are suggested when it comes to starting your networking agenda:

  1. Organize it

Make a list of all those people:

  • You used to know (neighbors, friends from college) 
  • You know today (including family members)
  • Who know you (employment connections)
  • You would like to know (prospective clients)

Get in contact with them, to share experience and advice. They might actually suggest people from their network to reach out to. Consulting your university’s careers service is also a smart move (sometimes, you might even find seminars on how to network).

Describe why networking is important to you.

  1. Who am I? 

Identify yourself. What are your goals? What are your areas of interest? Take awareness of where you stand out, where you perform best and the abilities you have to offer. 

  1. Establish new relationships

Defining possible contacts according to your networking purpose will take time and energy. Firms need to be specific about who they’d like to incorporate as new clients and list current and future network contacts.

  1. Go around

Make a strategy to target those you’re interested in meeting. List events that can help you reach those contacts. In college, it’s common for law students to come across some opportunities like conferences, workshops, research projects, and even publishing articles. The effects of this are twofold. First, it helps you improve your skills and knowledge. Second, it pushes you to ‘get out there’ to receive credibility and recognition from people.

Develop a 30-second pitch on yourself, describing who you are and what area of law you’ve specialized in. Check the Twitter feed of law firms for posting events, as well as the national and local law society, and try to attend any events they arrange. 

  1. Be genuine and coherent

At all times, on any event, interview, or presentation, be kind. Complimenting other’s work and being considerate of their concerns is also fundamental for productive networking because it’s based on trust. 

Additionally, it’s important to be an effective communicator. Speak calmly and clearly. Be confident in what you have to offer and listen. A good listener who lets the other person speak makes a good conversation too. Anyone talking to you will know you’re interested in them and will feel comfortable. 

  1. Make sure you can be found

You need to be reachable. The whole point of networking is making sure that you’re accessible to others as a reliable contact. How? There are three elementary tools: blogging, social networking to stay connected (for instance, being active on Linkedin as a professional platform), and participating in internships. If you’re interacting, you’re networking. This includes school committee reunions or participating in nonprofit activities.

Smartphone with “Social” on the screen & various social media icons, sitting on computer keyboard; image by Geralt, via
Smartphone with “Social” on the screen & various social media icons, sitting on computer keyboard; image by Geralt, via

A distinctive habit would be that of having your own blog to regularly upload your understanding and appreciation of legal matters. This will open your network to those who share similar interests.

  1. Maintain effective and ongoing relationships

Plan annual meetings with clients, invite people to semi-annual luncheons or holiday parties, make regular phone calls to prospective clients, maintain one-on-one recognition, exchange business information in breakfast meetings, forward articles of interest and express your interest in learning more about your contacts’s business. 

  1. Keep going 

Doors are always open to finding additional networking opportunities, so keep this search in mind and don’t worry if certain interactions didn’t turn out to be as “productive” as you might’ve expected. Keep going and look for new options. 

The nuances of Networking

Networking has several indisputable benefits that other forms of presentation can’t guarantee. Sure, your Curriculum Vitae will certainly include your experience, the period of time you’ve been committed to a project, the set of skills you’ve obtained, but that’s still not your voice. The impression caused by your personality and the references made about you is what raises awareness of your expertise. 

To most employers, a good recommendation coming from his closest circles of qualified professionals has a very compelling weight since they verify your integrity and competence. Networking is a way of marketing your professional profile.

The importance of networking today focuses on helping professionals in the legal industry to sustain a successful law practice through connections: the more related you get with different specialists, the wider your scope for potential clients gets. Plus, you’ll build your own name. Networking is a tool for differentiating your work from others in the competitive legal market. 

Connections can uplift your career in the legal profession because you place yourself in the minds of potential employers. It is a way to ensure that your skills, strengths, and accomplishments will not be ignored. 

Another reason for networking is that it keeps you updated. In order to build a lasting professional relationship, channels of communication like social media, videoconferencing, even publications in a professional blog, are vital. 

This way, you can also find services you need thanks to networking. A perfect example can be legal interpreting. If you’re in need of this service, knowing lawyers who’ve worked with a legal interpretation team will give you a reference for the qualification of their work, especially if those are contacts whose criteria you can rely on. 

Lastly, if helping others is a big part of your vocation, networking will suit you just fine. As we’ve mentioned before, it’s not all about getting what you need from others. You’ll engage people who have their own searches and needs and you can commit to helping others through a productive network.

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