Networking is particularly important for new attorneys to build relationships that can provide mentorship, job opportunities, and build their reputation. The following are a few do’s and don’ts of networking.
I earned my Juris Doctor from the University of Illinois College of Law. I also earned by undergraduate Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. I am always looking for ways to give back for the blessings that I have received. Currently, I do this through my work as a member of the Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA) Young Lawyers Division Council. I serve as a co-chair on the New Lawyers Committee. We are developing programming for new attorneys, including practical legal skill and Q&A brown bag lunch seminars. I really enjoy mentoring law students and new attorneys, especially on the topic of networking. Below I have posted a video interview that I did for the University of Illinois College of Law on the importance of networking and an article that I wrote for the ISBA on networking tips.
"Networking is particularly important for new attorneys to build relationships that can provide mentorship, job opportunities, and build their reputation. The following are a few do’s and don’ts of networking."
1. Brand: Develop your personal brand. Think of yourself as a product. What do you want people to think when they hear your name? Determine where your brand is strong and where you can develop yourself further. Take advantage of free in-person CLEs, seminars, and other events tailored to developing yourself in the legal community whether it’s how to dress for success or build up your resume.
2. Non-Legal: Join non-law related organizations or activities, whether you’re volunteering your time to a charitable organization or on a sports league. It is important to attend events and activities you are passionate about because that is when you are able to build lasting personal relationships and expand your book of business. Also, bring your business cards with you everywhere! I have made the mistake of not having one on me and it is quite embarrassing.
3. LinkedIn: LinkedIn is like an electronic Rolodex. When you receive someone’s business card, add him or her on LinkedIn as soon as possible – if you have the mobile app, you can even add the person that same day. Improve your own page so that people within your LinkedIn network looking for an attorney in your industry can consider hiring you.
4. Books and Sports: One of the most daunting tasks when networking is figuring out what to talk about other than the law. The most common topics I have discussed are books and sports. Sports are easy because most of us follow our college teams and can discuss how they are doing in comparison to other college teams. Books are also great conversation starters because even if the other person has not read the book, they’ll ask you to tell them more about it, and they’ll likely think of another book or topic related to what you just described to them. These two topics are sure to get your conversation started.
5. Research: If you can obtain a guest list for a networking event in advance, take some time to research the people you want to meet. Learn about their most recent court victory, their hobbies, or any other interests you are comfortable discussing. I don’t recommend regurgitating everything you read about the person, but do say that you looked forward to meeting them at the event and why.
1. Get Drunk: It’s easy to keep going up to the open bar for a refill, but when you are at a networking event, you want to keep your wits about you to portray the best version of yourself. I highly recommend limiting yourself to two drinks at an event.
2. Negativity: Don’t complain. Stay positive in what you have to say. If you somehow end up talking about a negative experience, say what you learned from it and how it has made you a better person/attorney.
3. They Can’t Help Me: Every opportunity is a networking opportunity. Treat meeting every new person like a potential job or client. Be your best self and leave them with a lasting positive impression.
Link to ISBA Website: Networking Do's and Dont's
The Legal Latina
Original article: The Legal Latina On Networking