If you are a junior associate or in-house counsel, networking in the legal profession is vital in making connections, finding clients, creating collegial collaborations, and building referral relationships. However, networking for lawyers poses a few challenges in the wake of the pandemic. For more than a year, lawyers have not been able to attend industry events, business meetings, and even internal training/conferences. As we are approaching the post-pandemic world, lawyers will be back into the workplace again soon. Therefore, it is essential to consider new ways to build a network during the post-pandemic era.
Although we revert to business as usual, life has changed. Companies and law firms are adapting to the new normal with hybrid work schedules, remote working arrangements, and virtual meeting facilities. With all these changes, old methods of networking may be phased out, so we have collected a few essential considerations.
Events go virtual
Like it or not, companies and law firms have embraced the online world, and more organizations will continue to host virtual conferences, events, and meetups for cost and risk purposes even after the pandemic. You should regularly seek out events online for legal professionals that are relevant to your practice areas, more so now in jurisdictions beyond your own. You shouldn’t limit yourself to the lawyer-only audience, so be creative about where to find the events you need most, for example, networking skills, technology, or sector-specific industries.
Remember that attending an event is not only useful for making connections but is also helpful for publicizing your profile. Nowadays, most events provide digital attendee profiles for networking. Be sure to submit a compelling profile, including bio, photo, company, contact information, and links to any published articles. Also, please review the list of attendees so you can identify any networking targets and perhaps contact them beforehand. One of the great things about attending virtual events is the flexible schedule meaning you can attend and network asynchronously. The flexibility fits particularly well with legal professionals who need to work around busy schedules.
It is always not enough to simply attend an event but to engage and network for maximum impact, whether in-person or virtual. Today, many virtual events employ a wide range of innovative strategies and formats of participating during the process. Among the best channels to engage during the event are Q&A sessions where comments and insights on real-time charts can be shared via the event’s messaging tools, during discussions and breakout sessions.
Be sure to network after the virtual event ends. Here are a few tips:
- Share your attendance on social media.
- Search for other attendants’ sharing of the event on social media and reach out to them.
- Follow up by email or instant message with any new connections you made at the virtual event, and remember to nurture the relationships.
Social media boosts your networking efforts
Lawyers, in general, are resistant to using social media for business purposes. But, in the legal industry, we see many companies use a lot of social media usage, including LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, to promote their companies, products/services, news, and staff. Legal recruiters are used to finding talent and screening candidates on social media platforms. Lawyers can learn more about law firms or in-house legal teams on social media. It can also be a potential referral source.
To stand out, maintain your social media profiles, share information regularly, and perhaps develop your own thought leadership pieces on topics of interest related to your work or practices. But note the differences between social media platforms and remember to separate personal and professional profiles, and the content in each, as necessary.
Networking happens everywhere, all the time. Although the pandemic has added an extra layer of challenges to networking, be sure you are open to the changes and adapt.