The dreaded networking event
A common piece of marketing advice is that it is important to
"network." For many attorneys, though, the mere mention of the word
networking sends shivers down their spine. It conjures up bad
memories of feeling isolated and uncomfortable at large parties in
Of course there are some lawyers who thrive on being out and
about and who enjoy meeting new people in large social situations.
And for those lawyers, attending networking functions can certainly
help to build relationships (which can lead to direct business or
But for the rest of us, walking into a big room at a trade
association event is nerve-racking, especially if we are unlikely
to know many people at the event.
The good news is that attending large events is not a must when
you are trying to build your practice. Networking is often more
effective when done at the "retail level."
Going out to lunch with individuals who are potential clients
and referral sources is networking too. So is going out for coffee
or just scheduling a brief meeting at someone's office. In fact,
for most of us, it is probably the best form of networking. Meeting
one on one (or two on two), is a much better way to ensure that you
have the chance to have a real conversation with someone and find
ways to be helpful to them. It is a better way to be strategic in
who you spend your time with and it gives you the chance to be more
prepared (i.e. because you have an opportunity to do some homework
before you meet with the individual).
There are many ways to build a referral network. The important
thing is to choose those activities that you enjoy. If you like
golf, by all means, spend time on the golf course with prospects
you want to cultivate. If you enjoy nonprofit work, get involved
with a board for an organization that interests you. Large events
provide an opportunity to see a lot of people. But don't be afraid
to think beyond these events. In the end, buying coffee for people
on a regular basis might be the kind networking that works best for
Tip courtesy of Stephen Seckler, director
of attorney recruitment and career advancement, Marc Z
Legal Staffing and president, Seckler Legal
Consulting and Coaching.
Published September 26, 2013
To learn more about the Law Practice Management
Section, which is complimentary for all MBA members,
contact LPM Section Chair Cynthia E.
MacCausland or Vice Chair Damian J.