What is it?

Networking is “the exchange of information and ideas among people with a common profession or special interest” (Investopedia.com). In effect, it involves an honest and constant effort in helping others, in the hopes that maybe, you might receive help as well.  

Why is it important?

Networking helps to build connections and develop relationships with people you may not come across day to day. This is important for a career in law as ultimately a law firm is a business, and networking can lead to new business for your firm or give you new opportunities. The legal profession can be immensely reputation-based and creating ties and broadening your relationships within the business, legal and local community not only raises your personal profile but puts you at the front of your peers’ minds.

Further, networking can really help boost your confidence and interpersonal skills which are critical for dealing with clients. Networking skills are perhaps often overlooked, but can be vital in your legal career because, ultimately, a large part of the job as a legal professional is to have the ability to communicate with clients, colleagues and potential referrers.

How can I get the most out of networking?

  • Put yourself out there! You will not be able to gain any confidence if you do not sign up to events and approach people for conversation. While it may feel unnatural at first, try to relax and imagine you are talking to your colleagues.
  • Be yourself! There is no point trying to put on an act. Instead, be as natural as possible and let your own personality shine through. Networking is all about building relationships and therefore being yourself is extremely important.
  • Listen! The best part about networking is learning from others which is done by listening. By listening carefully you will then be able to explain how your skills or firm may be of benefit, and can also pick up information that might help you to connect to the other person in other ways.
  • Maintain the relationship! Ask the individual for a business card or share your own. Alternatively, suggest that you connect via LinkedIn and follow up with a message thanking them for connecting.

Good luck!

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