Networking, as a lawyer, is about more than getting your name out there; it’s about building a brand relationship with a potential client so they trust you. You want to assure the client that you’re willing to help for more than a paycheck. At the same time, when networking, you don’t want to come off as insincere. Trying to find the perfect balance between professional and genuine might be tricky, but completely viable.
Helpful Networking Tips for Lawyers
Anyone can stand around at a party, shake hands, and introduce him or herself. The clincher is to have a charismatic presence that makes an impression and leads into a longer conversation. Following these tips will be a helpful stepping stone toward welcoming a new client.
1. Have an Active Social Media Presence
No matter where you go, people are connected to their smartphones. If you have social media accounts you can direct interested clients to, they’ll have all the information they need, just a click away. You won’t need to worry about them forgetting your name if you regularly appear on their newsfeed.
2. Be Honest About Their Situation
If the potential client before you believes they can settle their issue out of court, while your experience has shown otherwise, be upfront and provide them with their options. Likewise, if someone doesn’t need a lawyer and believes they do, turning them down will demonstrate that you’re not simply out for their money.
3. Describe Your Job, Not Your Title
Rather than offering your hand and the words, “I’m a lawyer,” take a different approach. Explain what you do and what you specialize in.
4. Stay Informed About Local Issues
The more aware you are about the legal needs of your city, the more you can cater your practice to what your potential clientele will require. Therefore, you’ll already be prepared for any tirades that begin when you reveal your title.
5. Arrive Early to Events
And not necessarily in the “always arrive fifteen minutes early” sense. Showing up a half hour or more early will give you the first chance to scope out the attendees as they filter in. The extra time will give you a better idea of who you will be talking to, rather than walking in blind.
6. Claim a Good Spot at Events
For more formal events, ask your firm to buy seats at several tables so you can make rounds and introduce yourself to more people. In a casual setting, consider lingering at the refreshments. You know everyone will make their way in that direction.
7. Network Everywhere
Any activity (grocery shopping, stopping for gas, getting coffee) can be used as a networking opportunity. Strike up casual conversation with whoever is nearby and find a way to direct the conversation to your career.
Volunteer and philanthropy work will boost your firm’s reputation without you even needing to promote yourself.
9. Keep in Touch
While your main objective might be to find new clients, don’t snub your current clients. Remind them you’re still around and are interested in their lives and careers. Improve whatever connections you already have, rather than simply increase your amount of connections. Quality over quantity.
10. Ask for Advice
While you might be their legal counsel, you’re human, and you’re not perfect. Asking clients how you can improve your practice for them is a great way to demonstrate humility, so they know you genuinely want to help them to your fullest capabilities.
11. Invest in Great Business Cards
No networking strategy is complete without business cards. At events where you might talk with over a dozen people, your name might slip a few minds by the end of the night. No matter how great your impression, a dinky business card might not be outstanding enough to jog their memory.
Make sure your business card not only reflects you and your practice, but also sparks their interest with a creative design. Give them a card that’s too pretty to toss, and they’ll be more likely to follow up on you.