Tips for Lawyers: Becoming a Great Networker

David Schwinger law

Becoming a great networker is essential for any career path, including those pursuing law. Even senior-level lawyers use their networking skills as often as possible so they can maintain and continue to develop long-term relationships with clients and other lawyers. If you’re just starting a career in law, networking is vital for you to succeed. Here are a few steps you can take towards becoming a great networker:

First, recognize the overall, larger benefits associated with networking – building relationships. Networking is not just about finding somebody that can give you a job or that can represent your business. Business happens through establishing strong relationships over time, and these relationships are the most important part of networking.

Next, stop checking your phone every five seconds. You’ll never know who you can meet on any given day; and if you’re on your phone, chances are that you will not talk to anyone behind you on line to get a coffee (and they’ll probably think you’re too busy to approach). According to an article published on Findlaw.com, staying away from your “crackberry” is essential when it comes to networking:

“Your next big client engagement in not going to come in the form of an email while you are waiting for your coffee. The barista’s mother could be the President of a bank. Talk to her and others around you. Networking is about an attitude of engagement not going to a networking event. You network everyday, not once a week,” (Networking Tips for Lawyers).

David Schwinger lawThough the digital age we are living in can have many positive effects on our careers and the way we conduct business, many people are losing the ability to communicate face-to-face with others. Do not be one of them.

Speaking of the digital age, utilize the tools that are readily available to enhance and grow your network. Take LinkedIn for example, one of the most prominent social media platforms for professionals. LinkedIn will help improve your SEO and the way you present yourself online – so make sure your profile is completed in detail and that you have an appropriate photo of yourself so that others can recognize you. We should use technology to our advantage when it comes to networking, not so that it destroys our abilities to interact with others.

Lastly, understand that networking takes time and dedication. If you sign up for a networking event, make sure you do your homework and research companies and leaders who will be there that can help make a difference in your career. Don’t expect to just show up and suddenly be connected with fifteen new people in your field. Get to the event early, look the role, and be friendly to everyone you talk to so that you can grow your network. Remember, networking is not about socializing, so don’t show up to a networking event with your friends. Be bold. And always bring your business cards.

Essential Tips For All Lawyers

David Schwinger DCBeing a successful lawyer does not come easy. You have to know how to be independent and carry-out strong business practices throughout your career in law, regardless of what stage you are currently in. In order to keep both your fellow colleagues motivated, clients satisfied, and practice powerful, follow these essential tips:

First, you should consider running your law practice like any other successful business. According to an article published by CBA.org, a website dedicated to best practices for lawyers:

“You are a service-provider and clients should always get great service from anyone who answers the phone, sends a package, emails an opinion, or duplicates documents. Every member of your firm should be trained to service the client and it’s imperative the firm’s leaders and partners embody this attitude as an example to all,” (Van Dyke, 50 Essential Business Tips for Every Lawyer).

Everyone who is affiliated with your firm should be well-educated in law, and the should have strong client-communication skills. Even if the legal situation is rough, clients who speak with employees that are helpful, smart, and have clear communication throughout their interactions with clients are the most beneficial for any firm.

That being said, another great piece of advice for all lawyers is to surround yourself with the lawyers who keep you on your feet in a positive way. If you are in a position to hire employees to work at a firm, make sure they are highly motivated and bright so that they can shine throughout their career with you. Your law firm should have ongoing training programs for all employees, no matter how long they’ve been working with you. In addition, you should always make sure that the firm recognizes great work and rewards those who show they can do their job exceptionally well. Always reward great employees – you don’t want to lose them!

Furthermore, you should always strive to motivate and empower your team. According to CBA.org, “Every member of your firm can make an important contribution to the firm and its clients. Ensure each person understands his or her role and has the authority to fulfill that responsibility, plus a little bit more,” (Van Dyke, 50 Essential Business Tips for Every Lawyer).

Last, be kind and keep moving forward. People who you work with will always remember how you made them feel, even if the outcome of your case didn’t go as planned. Be a good listener and be understanding to what both clients and fellow employees may need from you. In addition, always keep the practice moving, especially if people seem to be stuck in a rut. Always ask questions like, “What should we do next?” and make affirmative statements like, “Let’s get going!” this way, everyone who surrounds you will feed off of your positive, enforcing energy so that daily tasks can be kept up with and even made in advanced.

Nobody ever said being a lawyer was easy, but there are ways that you can make a difference in your law firm and act as a supporting figure that everyone can look up to. Having passion and showing people you care are what make a lawyer great.