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Let me see you (net)work it

Posted by: Laurence Simons 26/09/12

Let's see how much of a cold sweat this word brings you out in: networking. It's important, but that doesn't necessarily mean you're any good at it. And those who spend the first few minutes of a mixer event nervously checking their phone or read and re-reading the bar menu to avoid making eye contacts with anyone may be inclined to give networking a swerve.

But as Canadian Lawyer's Lindsay Scott notes, the so-called soft skill of networking - or business development, if you will - is a vital one to have in the arsenal of anyone on the partner track.

"A lawyer's ability to build a professional network and bring in (and keep) clients is critical to his or her success in private practice," Lindsay said, presumably while enjoying cocktails with a load of happy contacts. Her advice? Maintain your friendships, keep your clients happy, and do what comes naturally to you when it comes to networking.

And that's pretty good advice. Do you hate cocktail parties? Don't throw cocktail parties, then. Instead network over coffee, or lunch. Do you like dinner? Everyone likes dinner. Invite people for dinner. If you orchestrate an environment you're going to be more comfortable in, you'll perform better when you put on your best lawyer face and try to convince clients you're the real deal. Or, for those of you who are recruiting - fancy a coffee, cocktail or lunch? Call our experts, and we'll at least come and eat or drink something with you.