Find a Way to Connect
Finding a way to connect is at the heart of networking. I did not like talking about myself or my practice. Instead, I talked about my cases. This technique proved to be the ultimate equalizer, despite my age or newness to the profession. I also learned lawyers pride themselves on being direct, which makes networking daunting. Prior to networking events, I would prep by reviewing my active cases, the novel issues I recently came across, and interesting facts I had learned.
Share Your Experiences
Eventually, I stopped viewing networking as a means to generate business and focused on learning as much as possible from those around me. I was shocked at how much experience my fellow attorneys had and how willing they were to share it. After the initial contact, I often received attorneys’ calls weeks later, on topics ranging from novel legal issues to the scoop on a certain judge. I suspect my openness about my own experiences encouraged frankness in others. I was also becoming a resource. Cases started to flow into the firm, citing me as the generating source.
Just as I was getting the hang of things, my practice changed to employment-related cases for federal workers, focusing on employment benefits disputes. As a plaintiff’s lawyer, my challenge became generating business from a very diverse population. How was I to reach these people and convince them I was an excellent lawyer?
Despite my new focus, the same networking strategies that proved effective early in my career remained sound.
My bar associations remain excellent resources. While few local attorneys share my legal experiences, they interact with potential clients daily. More importantly, they know me as a good lawyer. I find the Lawyer’s Toolbox analogy to be particularly true. No matter the case, I use the same methodologies and strategies to attack issues. Having skills across substantive legal areas is among our most valuable assets. Once you prove this skill to fellow lawyers, their trust in you is unlikely to waver.
Practice Cross-Discipline Networking
It’s tough to stand out in a world with so many attorneys. Join associations and groups that do not focus squarely on your area of law. Look for synergy, not exclusion.
Becoming a resource to physicians is a wonderful way to generate business. I have fielded calls from doctors who want advice, and I end every call with, “If I can be of any assistance to you, on any issue, just call or email me.” Just like becoming known among attorneys, I became known among medical professionals, making other invaluable connections.
Write Clearly (And Have a Good SEO Provider)
Your online presence should reflect that you are successful and familiar with the legal needs of potential clients. Be specific about how you advise clients. If a prospective client has the same legal issue, they will call.
My clients are my best business generators. Store and index their information and communicate with them regularly in meaningful ways. No one is better suited or more willing to sing your praises than a former client.