Successful networking for future trainees and lawyers
By Glen Brown, UK Trainee currently on secondment in Prague
Networking is all about getting to know people and spotting opportunities. In today’s legal market, these are crucial skills for every lawyer. It is about collecting relationships with interesting or influential people irrespective of the immediate benefit of these relationships.
As a trainee, you will be involved in many networking events and it can help you in your quest for a training contract.
Here are some tips on how to get the most out of networking events and law fairs.
- Know your objective
What do you want to get out of each event and conversation? Networking events provide an opportunity to build relationships with key contacts, get unique insights into the legal industry and to gauge the nature of a law firm.
There are a number of different networking events available to prospective lawyers, including law fairs, firm presentations and dinner events. Be clear about what you hope to achieve by attending; this will ensure your networking is effective.
Take some time to think about the people you want to talk to, the topics you would like to learn more about and the questions you should ask. And what information do you have that they need?
Preparing properly will help you ask insightful and engaging questions which make for good conversation and leave a positive impression on the people you meet. You are also much more likely to be remembered.
- Show a genuine interest
Building a rapport and showing genuine interest are the key to successful networking. By asking thoughtful and specific questions, you show your interest in and understanding of the organisation or person. Use open-ended questions to give you a chance to follow up and continue the conversation.
Try not to bombard the person with all of your expertly researched points. Drop them in to the conversation naturally and often, you can connect even better by discussing shared interests and experiences rather than specific legal queries.
- Follow up
A great way to continue your conversation and start to develop a relationship is by following up with the person after the event. Straight after each conversation, write down your impressions and what you discussed with each particular person so you can remember and send a tailored follow-up email. This ensures that your follow-up questions are genuine and relevant.
It may take practise, but effective networking can prove to be rewarding and very valuable for your career.
Find out more about The CMS Academy, our next generation vacation scheme. The Academy offers fantastic opportunities to meet with clients, network with lawyers at every level of the business, work on projects and debate with thought leaders in the legal and industry sectors.