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Tuesday, October 3, 2023

6 Ways for Young Lawyers to Build their Networks

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There are many things I wish I’d done earlier, and one of them is starting to build my network of contacts.

Now, let’s make sure we are talking about the right thing – networking and marketing are not the same.  They are related, certainly, but really networking is a subset of marketing.

So when I’m talking about networking here for young lawyers I”m really just talking about expanding your reach: having a larger group of people that you could pick up the phone and call and expect them to speak to you.

With that in mind, there are a number of straightforward things you can do now which, if implemented into your weekly habits, are likely to start expanding your horizons.

Make Phone Calls

We default to email often, but the reality is that making phone calls is a great way to build your networks.  The people you’ve only emailed are only a peripheral part of your network, but once you’ve spoken to them on the phone and started to develop personal relationship, they are far more a part of your team.

Volunteer for Something

Events, organisations, charitable causes, functions – volunteer to do something, with someone.  At the very least you will meet the coordinator of the event and likely a few more people connected with the team running it.  More likely you will have a chance to attend the function/event/thing in question and make a number more contacts in the process.

Collect Business Cards

I know that they are getting out of fashion, but after you’ve met someone at a function and had a little bit of a chat, it’s not really a problem to offer to exchange business cards with them.  It’s the best way to get their details and remember who they are.  Make sure you do something with it though…

Invite People to Invite People

One of the best ways to expand your network is to use your existing network.  Once you have a few established relationships, why not have casual lunches, coffees, catch ups or whatever and ask 2 or 3 people to bring a person along with them.  It’s a pretty simple way to expand your network, just make sure you remember who was there and where they were from (or get a business card – see above) otherwise you haven’t really accomplished anything.  If you particularly “hit it off” with someone you might then want to invite them yourself to the next occasion.

Join An Association

The obvious choice here is an industry association that’s connected somehow with your work – you know, the local Association for Angry, Demented Litigators or whatever.  But that’s not necessarily the best choice, nor is it the only choice.  Find something you are genuinely interested in – after all, it’s pretty likely that if you have a hobby you enjoy you’ll have a chance to catch up with people from all walks of life.  Again – networking isn’t just about targeting “prospects” it’s about expanding the list of people you can call, and who can call you.

Don’t Forget your Internals

In a firm of any size, chances are you don’t necessarily know everyone.  Networking doesn’t just include externals – why not get to know 1 or 2 new people inside your firm each week?  Just swing by their office, say hello, shake a hand, and let them know what group you work in.  It doesn’t have to be a complicated process.  In many areas internal referrals are, in fact, a great source of work for individual lawyers.  However, beyond that, remember that networking is about expanding your reach, more so than directly increasing your work.  Each of those people you meet and then follow up is another piece of the puzzle.

So Get on with It

This is just 6 of many possible ideas, but particularly I’ve chosen ones that you can do pretty quickly.

Networking is just something you “do” however, it’s something you get in the habit of doing.  So keep an eye out for opportunities, and don’t be afraid to go and grab them.  The more you practice, the more natural it will feel, and as a result the better you will become at it.

Good luck, and Happy Lawyering!

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  1. Dear Chris,

    I try access this site for very long time, but you website always rejected my password, why?
    I like networking, and I do that since 2013. I did sent many job application on employers website. Many of then where impossible to feel, they did not have European names of Universities or English names of Hospitals. As you probably know, the problem in Queensland is still existing even at QLS. I pay for my membership, but can not find what I rely like to do. My experience from Europe was wasted. For the last 2 years, I was rejected on several times even for voluntary work. It is disappointing, when we receive reply letter and those replaying never bother to check our experience or qualification and trying us to send second time to uni to do the same degree. I do not like to go in the evening to the cinema, too far away from my house because transport is very restricted. Nobody ever ask me what I like to obtain for my money? I am not so young, I do not need a man, I do not like to get drunk, my idea of fun is different. I have the impression that payment for membership without any benefit is worthless. That just the problem to belonging to organization a bit out of touch with reality, what women like to use the own membership. Do you know better way, how I can use my membership?

    Many kind regards,


    • Hi Alina,

      Thanks for your comment. Using your QLS membership is a matter of finding the resources or events that work for you. You might also be able to get involved in committees or workgroups on particular topics as a member. That said, there are lots of functions and networking events that you might find a better fit outside your QLS membership.


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