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Recently and as we finish this year’s newly qualified season I spent a good amount of time meeting both FELT and MTSG representatives discussing the calendar of events that we would like to sponsor over the coming year. Being involved in the various solicitor groups in our regional such as the MTSG, YSG and FELT is exceptionally important to us for a variety of reasons. As recruitment consultants we get to meet aspiring and current lawyers, build our network and give back to our local legal community but how important is networking for junior lawyers? Quick answer – its very important and here’s my top 5 reasons why the adage “its not what you know, its who you know” still rings true.
1 – Generate new business
This is probably the most obvious benefit to investing time in networking activities and joining/participating in networking groups. The relationships that you develop through networking can often lead to referrals that are high quality and very warm. You have to remember that building a network is now a fundamental part of being a lawyer so begin early on in your career and reap the rewards later on.
There are always lots of opportunities that come from networking, not all lead directly to new business. Opportunities can arise such as business partnerships, speaking and writing opportunities and career opportunities. Rewards aren’t always immediate, all opportunities to meet peers should valued.
Networking is a great way to tap into advice and expertise that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to get hold of. There is often nothing more valuable than advice from a like minded soul who moves in the same circles and is on a similar track. Its often hard to find a truly objective opinion, a professional that you trust can offer a great ear.
4. Raising your profile
Being visible and getting noticed is a big benefit of networking. Getting face time with other professionals, peers or senior lawyers can be a way to increase credibility and ensure that when opportunities arise you are the person that comes to mind. It can also lead to real career opportunities; if you’re looking for an external promotion being known as a dedicated networker and potential having meant interviewers can be a real benefit.
5. Increased self confidence
Attending and thriving at networking/marketing events will really increase your self confidence. Feeling that you are able to hold your own, exchange ideas and learn from those around you boost your confidence act as a valuable experience. The first time you walk into an event is always nerve wracking; walking out the other side with invaluable contacts will really make you proud of yourself!
Being a successful lawyer in the modern legal market takes a range of skills. The ability to attract and retain lasting relationships is important one so start developing it now.