February 25, 2020 2 minutes to read · 500 words

Women in Law: 10 Networking Tips

By Mala Sharma

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In commemoration of the 100th anniversary of women’s right to vote in the United States, GPSolo eReport is presenting a new monthly series, “Women in Law.”

As we remember and honor this centennial anniversary, we are also reminded how far we still have to go. Although women represent the majority of all law students, our numbers drop once you look at attorneys, partners, and equity partners. Why is it that, on a global scale, male equity partners earn 27 percent more than female equity partners? How can we change this inequity? Networking can play a crucial role in fostering new relationships and creating new pathways to success in the law.

To be successful, it is crucial to network. For women, this can be extremely difficult for many reasons. Some include tight schedules due to caring for children and the home. Other barriers are a result of women tending to stay in small networks instead of building larger, strategic networks to help grow their businesses. Here is a list of ten tips to help you build your networking base.

  1. Begin networking! A strong and established group can be highly rewarding. It is important to counsel, support, unite, and help each other on the right path. Such groups are powerful and build careers.
  2. Share your unique story. You don’t need an elevator speech, but you should share facts unique to you and your business.
  3. Ask many questions. Asking questions allows others to share more about their experiences and be engaged. You never know what interesting stories you will hear, and you will possibly discovery many similar or shared experiences. Studies have shown that similar traits or experiences allow you to build bonds of trust quickly.
  4. Speak to as many people as possible. Get to know as many people as possible and try to get as many business cards you can. Don’t just collect them for your office. Send an e-mail the next day thanking the other person for their time and mention at least one thing that you discussed. A good way to ensure you do this on a timely basis is to leave the business cards on your desk as a constant reminder until you reach out.
  5. Give, don’t take. At events, go with the goal of giving, not getting anything. Ask how you can connect others in your network with the people you are meeting. Sharing and helping will be seen by others, and they will remember it.
  6. Follow up. Always follow up with a simple e-mail, call, or text to get to know someone better.
  7. Be persistent. Networking pushes you to go outside your normal circle and meet others you would never have met before if you did not network.
  8. Balance your professional and personal. Be mindful of your time for business affairs and personal matters.
  9. Wear red. Studies have shown that red is a powerful and attractive color.
  10. Be confident! This is the most important tip of all. Your confidence will carry you through the room or event and ensure that you make positive, meaningful connections with everyone you encounter.

Try these tips for a month and see the difference!

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Mala Sharma practices family and personal injury law with her family at the Law Offices of Sharma & Associates, founded in 1997. She has been appointed to leadership roles in the American Bar Association GPSolo and YLD Divisions, is a board member of the Houston Trial Lawyers Association, past president of the Houston Northwest Bar Association, and prior board member of the South Asian Bar Association. She is also a member of the Houston Bar Association. Mala has been named in 2019 and 2020 as a Texas Rising Star by Super Lawyers and included in Texas Monthly's Top Women Attorneys in Texas special section for 2019 and 2020. Mala has also been selected as one of the 10 Best Attorneys by the American Institute of Personal Injury Attorneys for 2018–2020, a Top 40 Under 40 by the National Trial Lawyers for 2018–2020, and a Texas Top 10 Personal Injury Attorney by Attorney and Practice Magazine for 2019-2020. She can be contacted at 281/893-8644 or by e-mail at mala@sharmalaws.net.

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