Posted: October 11th, 2017
Law school contains fertile networking grounds. That’s where law students may have the opportunity to “network” with: other law students; the alumni; adjunct professors, full time faculty members and the administrative staff, guest lecturers, suppliers to the school, parents of other students and even possibly paying and pro bono clients of the faculty practicing law. But there are numerous other places to network to maximize your growing professional network beyond just law school contacts. These include bar association events, CLE meetings, social events, and more. But why is all this networking so important?
Why Network? Why Bother?
The real payoff from being an exceptional networker and developer of sustainable relationships will impact every aspect of your life including your career, your personal life and your family’s lives. If you do a weak job of developing as a skilled networker, you definitely will limit your professional growth. The more robust your network, the more access you have to other special people and their unique contacts, experiences, knowledge. You leverage your life through your clusters of connections.
Keys to Being a Successful Networker
Being great at networking isn’t hard. We are all capable of excelling at doing it. And in today’s digital/social media age, you don’t necessarily have to be an extrovert to be great at it. Maybe the most important factor in determining how good of a networker you are is simply having a strong, sincere interest in learning about and adding value to other people’s lives. You have to get comfortable talking with everybody, everywhere, all the time, whether it’s via email communication, on the phone, or in person. Practice pays off when it comes to developing strong networking abilities.
Where to Start?
Start slow. Try out your networking skills at your next social gathering whether it’s golf outing, group dinner, or party. Get a feel for working the room, thoughtfully introducing yourself, and ultimately conquering the networking jitters. Then move on to bigger events such as law school events, NCBA Table Talk, or area luncheons and CLEs. After the event, seek feedback from your peers and colleagues on what networking skills you need to brush up on and in time, you’ll be ready to tackle a larger, professional networking event. Soon after, you’ll be expanding your network and adding tremendous value to your career.