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5 Tips To Network Like A Pro Right Out Of Law School | KADO Networks
Learn more about the tips to network like a pro in law school and beyond. These networking tips will help you get your career off on the right foot!Share the article
Throughout law school, you probably saw lots of marketing campaigns for networking events. This is because networking is the best way to break into the legal profession and make your mark.
Networking isn’t about collecting business cards and asking for a shot at a job opening. It’s about meeting people and making genuine, lasting connections.
Sure, you’ll need to collect their information, but you must maintain positive contact with those people and offer your assistance as much as possible.
It’s important to know how to work the room during attorney networking events. Networking allows law students to put themselves out there and demonstrate their character and how they can benefit a law firm. If done right, professional networking can lead to a new job, referral sources, and other tangible benefits.
Let’s take a look at where you can network, the do’s and don’ts of proper networking, and five tips that will have you working the room like a pro right out of law school.
Where Are The Best Places For Young Lawyers To Network?
The concept of networking may seem very overwhelming, especially if you are just starting out on your career path. The good news is that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to networking in and after law school.
Let’s take a look at where you can sharpen your networking skills.
- Alumni & Career Services: Check with your school’s alumni and career services association. They often host networking events on and off campus. You may even have access to an alumni directory you can use to find leads on professional contacts.
- LinkedIn: Use LinkedIn to paint a picture of your accomplishments and goals. It will allow you to connect with your classmates, old professors, former coworkers, and law professionals in your area. Utilize the “groups” function to cast a wider networking net.
- Bar Association: This is a logical place to make industry connections and build your reputation in the law field. Activities like mentor programs, local meetings, and social events offer excellent opportunities to get to know lawyers and put yourself out there.
- CLE: Continuing Legal Education, or CLE, programs will further your education and enforce your degree program while providing seamless opportunities to meet leaders in the legal field.
- Pro Bono Work: Check with your local bar association for pro bono or volunteer opportunities. You can use your legal experience to help the community and meet attorneys in a similar area of law. It also will help build your resume.
Remember that networking is all about building relationships, so when you frequent these events, focus on making connections rather than what the contact can do for your career.
The Dos And Don’ts Of Effective Networking
To effectively network, you’ll want to lose the awkwardness. It’s hard to make new connections when you don’t know anyone at the event.
If you want to ensure you don’t make any missteps, you’ll need to know the dos and don’ts of professional networking.
Here’s what the pros say to do and what to avoid when networking in the legal community.
Use These Five Networking Tips To Help Navigate Your Legal Career Path
Networking is an essential part of any legal career. Some firm’s legal marketing strategies require their legal staff to network to build brand awareness and bring in new business leads.
Having networking experience right out of law school will not only aid your job search but show your potential employers that you are serious about your career.
Here are five tips you can use to network like a pro.
- Follow Common Networking Etiquette Closely
Always follow networking etiquette by introducing yourself and giving relevant information. Make eye contact and ask questions. Always listen to the other person’s response while keeping your eye on the time.
Ask for a business card and offer your own once you receive theirs. Remember that the person to ask for the contact information is the one whose responsibility it is to follow up.
Finally, thank the person for their time and move on to continue making new connections. Never spend more than five minutes with someone if others are waiting to talk to them.
- Be Prepared To Share Contact Information
It’s crucial to be ready to share your contact information, especially since networking opportunities can happen anywhere at any time.
Business cards are standard for legal professionals. Show you are on the cutting edge of networking by being prepared with a digital business card. There are many perks for going virtual with your business cards:
- Easy To Update
- Holds More Contact Information, Like Social Media Account Links
- Never Gets Lost In A Pocket or Drawer
- Won’t Be Forgotten At Home
- Features Like Instant Phone Call Or Helpful Resources Can Be Added
Whether you choose virtual business cards or stay with traditional paper ones, always be ready to share and receive contact information at a moment's notice.
- Prepare Networking Questions
Asking questions is a great way to show the other person you are interested in getting to know them and can facilitate a conversation.
Here are some questions you can pose to experienced lawyers to help any law student get the conversational ball rolling.
- What Is Your Average Work Day Like?
- What Is Your Practice Area, And Why Did You Choose It?
- Can You Recommend Any Professional Law Organizations That Can Help Me Get Started?
- How Did You Find Your Current Law Firm?
- How Can I Make Myself A Solid Candidate For This Area Of Law?
Your questions should focus on gaining expertise and knowledge about the legal industry area you are interested in. Practice active listening and ask more questions as they share their expertise with you.
- Focus On Relationship Building
Any networking group will tell you that networkers need to focus on building solid relationships. Sure, you’re there because you are looking for an opportunity at a specific law practice, but nothing will stop your efforts in their tracks like coming across as desperate.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions about your new connection’s background, interests, and hobbies. Get to know them as a person before asking for favors.
Always be willing to offer a helping hand when you are able. This lets the other person know you are genuine and will open new business developments for you.
- Always Follow Up
Networking doesn’t end when the event does. Always follow up within 24 hours of the networking event.
You can send a brief email that refreshes your contact’s memory about where you met, what you discussed, and some possible next steps, like a coffee meeting or informational interview.
Regular contact, about every 2-3 months, is the most critical part of networking. Reaching out with questions or just to keep the lines of communication open is where the magic happens. You never know when a contact may have an opportunity available, so keep your name fresh in their mind.
Legal Networking Is The Key To Career Success
While professional networking is important, so is being authentic and genuine. Your personality and natural care for other people, as well as building relationships, will be the most significant factor in your legal career networking efforts.
Be sure to focus on your long-term networking goals, treat others with respect, and always present your best self. You’ll be fully prepared to network straight out of law school.
What are the three types of networking events?
Three types of networking events are fundraising events, speed networking, and strategic networking.
What are some common mistakes to avoid when building a professional brand?
Some common mistakes when building a professional brand include omitting brand storytelling, having an unfocused brand purpose, and being inconsistent with your branding.
What is legal networking?
Legal networking involves getting to know people to gain information and valuable contacts in the law industry.