Networking Strategies to Advance Your Legal Career
In today’s legal industry, networking is crucial to career development. The legal profession is highly competitive, and with the increasing number of law graduates, it can be challenging to stand out from the crowd. According to a survey conducted by the American Bar Association, more than 80% of legal job openings are filled through networking. Therefore, developing a robust network of contacts and legal staffing recruiters significantly impacts your legal career.
1. Build connections with familiar faces
Networking right when you start your law career is a great way to grow professionally. Connecting with classmates at law school, paralegal school, etc. is an easy and effective method to help you expand your circle of connections. It’s quick, simple, but incredibly powerful.
When studying the same area of law, whether corporate, litigation, etc. you and your classmates are able to connect with each other due to a shared legal path. This allows you to form an instant connection with future collogues.
You can go beyond just your current course peers and connect with alumni of your school, thus widening your reach to legal professionals all over the world in different fields. You can also leverage your school’s alumni network to build a strong professional network. Additionally, you may have been out of school for a few years, but it is never too late to reestablish those school connections. Spend a little time to reconnect and it will benefit you for the long-term.
2. Research first
Prior preparation is key when it comes to networking, so be sure to do your homework before heading off to any networking event. This should help you make the most of the event and maximize your results.
You can connect with fellow law peers, professors, or colleagues to get recommendations according to your preferences. Alternatively, follow law firms and related organizations on social media to stay updated regarding any relevant happenings.
Before attending an event, formulate a plan of what you would like to get out of it. Research the attendees and speakers beforehand, so that you identify people to approach and network with. Doing so helps make your experience more successful.
If you’re attending a Q&A or panel session at an event, it’s wise to have some questions prepared beforehand. Don’t forget to make yourself known to the crowd before posing your question. Introduce yourself properly and confidently so that your query will be heard.
3. Put your best foot forward
Stepping out of your comfort zone is key to success at networking opportunities, just as it is with any successful endeavor.
Don’t make the mistake of huddling with your peers during a networking event. While this may be more comfortable, you won’t get much out of the experience and networking is about meeting people. Take advantage of the opportunity and start connecting with other people in attendance.
You never know who you’ll meet and the opportunities that will present themselves when you attend networking events. To make the most of such an event, try to sit next to unfamiliar people during panel talks and keynote lectures. Doing so helps expand your professional connections and opens new possibilities.
During your break times, try to locate to busy areas like the bar or buffet table. This way, you make new connections and exchange business cards or contact info with them.
Attending a networking event is a great opportunity to grow your network and build relationships with new professionals. Following up and continuing the conversations after the event is essential for getting the most out of your new connections.
Whenever feasible, it’s best to take the time to meet contacts in person. Inviting them out for a cup of coffee or lunch is an excellent way to form and develop relationships that are more sincere and meaningful than email correspondence.
Having face-to-face contact with colleagues and clients creates a long-lasting impression. People always appreciate having somebody to attach to a name, rather than just seeing words on a screen. This has a positive effect on your reputation.
Although face-to-face meetings are ideal, a phone call is a great way to make distant connections more personal. It adds an extra level of warmth and connection that emails cannot. After a networking event, send a follow-up email with your CV and reference the job opportunity you discussed to take the conversation further.
Also, mentioning your interest in a company’s job opportunities leads to a successful outcome as well – even if there isn’t an immediate opportunity, reaching out with your CV keeps you in mind for future roles.
5. Use social media effectively
Social media provides a great way to stay in touch with legal professionals all over the globe, as well as connecting with law firms for potential job opportunities. It is an invaluable tool for consistently staying up to date on the latest happenings in the legal industry.
LinkedIn is an invaluable tool for legal professionals. Not only does it help you get noticed by employers and recruiters, but also organizations of your interest to stay informed about upcoming job postings. Having a well-maintained profile drastically increases your chances of finding the perfect job.
Building relationships and staying connected doesn’t end after networking. Utilize the power of LinkedIn to connect with individuals you’ve recently met. Be sure to add them as a connection shortly after the event, so they remember your discussion and are more likely to accept your invitation.
6. Attend CLE Programs
By taking part in Continuing Legal Education (CLE) programs you not only get to brush up on the latest industry trends, but also build valuable connections with other legal professionals. You also gain insights from experts in your field.
Before going to any CLE program, come prepared with questions and be ready to actively participate in discussions. Take advantage of group activities and networking opportunities that help you meet new people.
7. Participate in Pro Bono Work
Volunteering for pro-bono work is an incredibly rewarding way to give back to the community, build your network and create meaningful connections with other legal professionals. Not only does it offer a great way to help those in need, but it is a valuable opportunity for you to develop professionally.
Make the most of this beneficial opportunity by taking the time to research organizations that offer pro bono services and volunteer work. Join professional organizations that focus on providing legal aid, such as the American Bar Association or Pro Bono Net, which are dedicated to helping those in need.
Networking Wrapped Up…
Networking is an essential aspect of career development in the legal industry. Whether attending industry events, joining professional organizations, utilizing social media, attending CLE programs, or participating in pro bono work, there are many effective strategies for building a robust network of contacts. If you take these steps to building your legal network, it increases your chances of finding new opportunities. In today’s competitive legal industry, networking is more important than ever.
By implementing these strategies, you position yourself for career advancement opportunities. So, start building your network today and watch the positive results roll in. If you are currently in search of a legal job and want to know more, don’t hesitate to contact us!
About C&M Legal Search
We provide unique legal recruitment services for law firms, legal service providers, and corporate legal departments at the national level. Our experienced team can recruit a wide range of legal staff including attorneys and other operational personnel. Our goal is to help you achieve success, whether you’re a client or legal talent. We not only listen carefully to your needs but offer practical advice, furthermore, we build relationships of trust with all those we work with. That’s the key to our success!