Networking—It’s Not That Bad!


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When coaching or speaking to lawyers about the importance of networking, the knee-jerk reaction of many is “you gotta be kidding me; I would rather take the bar exam again than network!” I was recently reminded of this mentality when one of my clients commented to me after two months of aggressively networking for a job, “it really doesn’t suck like I thought it would.”

Why the change? Simply a misperception of what networking is and is not.

Many attorneys assume that networking is outside of their comfort zone. They equate it with handing out business cards at receptions or cold calling complete strangers. I would not feel comfortable doing that and do not expect my clients to either. But when I think of networking as developing relationships with people with I already know and want to know better, perhaps over coffee or lunch—hey, I can do that.

Is a one-on-one interaction over cup of coffee outside of your comfort zone? I have coached well over one hundred lawyers nationwide who practice at firms of all sizes. Rarely have I worked with someone completely lacking in social skills that cannot carry on a pleasant conversation in such a setting. You do not need an extroverted personality to be successful at networking. What you need is patience and persistence. Then, your networking efforts will lead to the job or clients that you want. It’s a numbers game—and don’t let anybody tell you differently.

Besides, are you sure you want to take the bar exam again?

(illustration: Steven Laurie)


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  • Right on, Roy. Networking is neither mysterious nor creepy. It’s just about fostering and maintaining real relationships with real people. The benefits flow from there.

  • Jennifer

    Good article Roy. I used to be one who dreaded networking events. I am a quiet introvert who really would prefer to just hang out at home with my dogs. But when I started my practice 2 years ago, I knew that to be successful I would have to get out there.

    I attended bar events, joined the local Chamber of Commerce, met other professionals for coffee, and all of those other networking activities. I admit, at first I was VERY uncomfortable about it. I felt like I was playing the role of successful attorney networker. But after staying with it for awhile, I started to feel more comfortable with it and I now am able to network while still feeling like myself.

    Though friends and family who know I would much rather stay home are still greatly amused by my networking social life.

  • Agreed! That old idea of standing around exchanging business cards makes everyone cringe. And, how many real clients does it get you? I look at it as “relationship building” rather than networking. It definately takes time.

  • Cristina

    I think the idea in itself is great. I was wondering if you could share with us more ideas about this subject. It is quite easy to network with people you have already met, but what about those you have not met, but would like to meet?