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The Ultimate Guide: Professional Networking Tips For Lawyers

November 10, 2021

Learn how to network as a lawyer by building relationships with colleagues and business contacts. Find out why networking is so crucial for your brand, reputation, and career growth.

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Use These Ideas To Get The Most Out Of Legal Networking Events

As a lawyer, you are already well on your way to becoming an expert in your field. You know which area of the law you want to specialize in and what it takes to attain your goals. 

But in addition to that particular skill set, you'll need to know how to work a room and build lasting relationships that can further your career. 

Professional networking is a great way to meet new people and uncover opportunities that will have a lasting impact on your legal practice. 

Whether you are fresh out of law school or looking for a way to network with your law firm, networking is a surefire way to build mutually beneficial professional relationships. 

These new connections will help with business development, offer professional development opportunities, and act as essential referral sources when you need them the most. 

Let's look at what legal networking is and how you can network like a pro with other legal professionals to further your career. 

A large group of people in a room with a large screen

Photo by Jakob Dalbjörn on Unsplash

What Is Legal Networking? 

Networking involves interacting with others to build relationships that can support and further your career. 

As you meet new people at networking events, cocktail parties, or bar association meetups, you can trade the contact information that will allow you to follow up and develop strong connections. 

Legal networking involves forging new relationships with others in the law field. If you take the time to build new connections, you'll experience an array of benefits. 

  • Improved Communication Skills: The more you practice interacting with other lawyers and potential clients, the better your communication skills. 
  • Increased Confidence: When you know you have a robust professional network behind you that can lend you a hand and their legal expertise, you can take on new challenges head-on. 
  • Access To New Opportunities: A well-rounded networking group will give you access to opportunities that can aid in your cases or job search. 
  • Keep An Eye On The Competition: Building professional relationships with lawyers in other law firms or practice areas can help you see what methods work for them and apply those ideas to your own business. 
  • Be Inspired To Try New Approaches:  The legal field is constantly changing and adapting. Maintaining professional relationships can help inspire you to try new things and evaluate your approach. 

Now that you know why you should make time for professional networking, let's look at what you need to do to ensure your network game is strong. 

What Questions Should I Ask A Prospect To Generate Legal Leads?

When you dedicate time from your busy schedule for legal networking, you'll want to make sure your precious time is well spent. 

To get the most out of your networking efforts, you'll need to ask the right questions to quickly determine whether or not the person you are interacting with is a robust and qualified lead. 

Here are some questions you can ask to determine if the new client or legal professional has the potential to become part of your professional network. 

Questions To Ask Legal Professionals 

  • What Practice Area Does Your Law Firm Focus On?
  • What Technology Do You Find Most Useful For Legal Research?
  • Which Legal Marketing Technique Works Best For Your Law Firm? 
  • How Long Have You Been In Your Current Role?

Questions To Ask Potential Clients

  • What Do You Do For A Living? 
  • What Projects Are You Working On Right Now? 
  • Where Did You Grow Up? 
  • What Services Are You Looking For? 
  • What Outcomes Do You Hope To Achieve? 

Whether you are networking with a peer or a new client, it's essential to put the relationship first. People-first connections will be more beneficial in the long run for both parties. 

Take the time to get to know the other person. When you follow up via phone call or email, remember to include a small tidbit of information you picked up during the initial conversation, this will show that you are genuine and trustworthy. 

What Are The Best Practices To Network As A Lawyer?

Legal networking is about more than just rubbing elbows with other lawyers. It involves recognizing the connections that are most beneficial for both parties and nurturing them long-term. 

Here are some ways you can recognize relationships with considerable potential. 

  • Benefits For Both People 
  • Mutual Interest In Nurturing The Relationship 
  • Similar Values 
  • Position Or Role Could Offer Valuable Opportunity 

Professional networking takes time to master. Here are some best practices you can implement right now to improve your professional networking skills and attract good connections. 

Design A Digital Business Card 

Business cards are a staple at any networking event. However, it's easy to forget them at home. Not only that, if you need to change your contact information, you'll need to fork over cash to print a whole new set. 

You can avoid this hassle and improve your reputation with a well-designed digital business card. 

Digital business cards allow you to create a shareable file that contains more than just basic contact information and a single photo. 

  • Social Media Links
  • Downloadable Resources 
  • Links To Your Website 
  • Video And Media Files

Once you're ready to share your digital business card, you can send a URL or display a QR code that allows your new connection to store your contact information on their phone instantly. 

This ensures your networking efforts will not end up forgotten in a pocket or desk drawer. 

Formulate A Plan Of Attack For Every Networking Opportunity 

If you enter a networking opportunity without a clear vision, you run the risk of becoming overwhelmed or spending time on a new contact that ends up having no long-term potential. 

Effective legal networking requires a solid plan. Before each meetup, decide what you want to get out of it. Do you want to expand your law practice with new clients or find new referral sources? Are you looking to expand into a new area of the law? 

Once you identify your long and short-term goals, you'll have a better idea of how to approach each networking scenario. 

Do Your Research 

Whether your networking event occurs in person or during virtual conferences, chances are the guest list is available for you to preview. 

Once you have your networking plan in mind, research event attendees on social media sites like LinkedIn or Facebook. This will allow you to pinpoint potential connections that have what you are looking for. 

Be sure to take a look at their experience, interests, and what their company stands for. This is very helpful, especially when you are trying to approach a potential client or mentor. 

Research also allows you to prepare ice breakers and conversational topics to make approaching new people more straightforward and fluid. 

Use Social Media To Take Social Networking To The Next Level

Social media can amp up your networking efforts. The legal industry sees a surprising social media presence because it provides an additional way for current and potential clients to contact legal professionals. 

Here are some ideas for how you can leverage social media in your networking efforts. 

Facebook For Networking

  • Set Up Your Facebook Business Page. 
  • Follow And Friend Others In Your Industry. 
  • Share Curated Content To Establish Credibility. 
  • Join Facebook Groups For Legal Networking.
  • Use Relevant Hashtags On Your Posts. 

LinkedIn For Networking

  • Optimize Your Profile To Showcase Your Skills. 
  • Follow Legal Firms And Connect With Others Who Interact With Their Profile. 
  • Connect With Networking Event Attendees. 
  • Send Personalized Notes To Establish Rapport. 

Twitter For Networking

  • Set Up A Professional Profile. 
  • Research And Follow Important Hashtags.
  • Use Hashtags In Your Own Posts To Join In On The Conversation. 
  • Create Twitter Search Columns To Be Alerted With New Information. 
  • Follow Other Lawyers And Legal Professionals. 
  • Tag Important Contacts On Relevant Threads. 

If you engage with social media platforms correctly, you'll find yourself participating in interesting conversations that could lead to solid business relationships. 

To target your desired networking group, choose 2-3 groups to help you reach your goals and focus on participating frequently. In time, you'll gain respect and credibility, as well as attract qualified networking leads. 

Look For Networking Opportunities Everywhere 

The biggest networking mistake is thinking you can only network in specific locations. Sure, dedicated networking meetups, conferences, and other significant events in the law industry are great ways to connect with other legal professionals.

But your professional network should contain more than just those with legal professions. You'll want to connect with others in related industries that can offer critical insight and favors when you need them the most. 

Look out for networking opportunities at these everyday gatherings: 

  • Community Events 
  • Sporting Events 
  • Converts 
  • Cocktail Parties 
  • Industry Happy Hours 
  • Fundraisers And Charity Events 

By extending your networking reach beyond the legal field, you'll find essential connections with a lot to offer. 

Further Your Legal Career Through Intelligent Professional Networking 

To succeed in the legal field, you'll need more than an arsenal of knowledge from law school. 

Legal professionals must take the time to forge genuine connections with others and cultivate those relationships for long-term success. Be smart with your interactions and use technology to streamline the networking process. 

Use these tips at your next networking event, and you'll see a sharp increase in the size of your legal network in no time at all. 

FAQs

How Do I Grow My Professional Network? 

Grow your professional network by giving more than you take, attending dedicated networking events, and focusing on building genuine, long-term relationships. 

What Are Some Ways To Make My Business Meetings More Effective? 

Run more effective and proactive business meetings by setting a plan ahead of time, including the right people, and guiding the discussion, so you end on time.

How Long Should A Conversation At A Networking Meetup Last? 

Keep conversations between 5-10 minutes to establish a connection without monopolizing their time. 

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