Networking is vital to success in the legal industry and is helpful for any career. Knowing how to network will not only help you get a foot in the door, but also work out whether a firm is for you based on the information you receive. Networking events are usually followed by food and drink, and they tend to happen at law firms or perhaps even at your university campus.
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There are many ways to become involved in networking, through various law-related websites and even through your local Junior Lawyers Division (JLD) or university law society. This week I attended an open evening at Foot Anstey, so here is what I learned from my experience and what you can expect.
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Preparation is key. I received an email from Foot Anstey a day or two before the event advising attendees to prepare a list of roughly 10 or so questions to ask. These can range from, “Do you enjoy your job?” to “What differentiates X firm from X, Y and Z?”
Typically, most people research the firm by reading a bit about them online through their own website, or via other legal resources such as the Legal 500 or even The Lawyer Portal. There are many ways to prepare though and remember: be presentable and on time.
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On your arrival, you can expect to be networking and talking to reception staff, other students and even lawyers at the firm. In my case, I was greeted by reception staff and handed a name-tag, then began chatting other attendees. Make sure to go and talk to as many people as you can, it will not only help with your nerves, but also help you build relationships and demonstrate your interest in the firm.
After our discussions, we were then informed to make our way to a sort of speed-networking event and sat down to talk to various trainees, associates and partners as well as the recruitment team. At the conclusion of the event, there was food and drink and many employees of the firm for us to talk to. It’s a good idea to socialise with employees as it will help you be remembered by them later on when applying for a vacation scheme, training contract or even pupillage.
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After the event, I wrote down as much information as I could remember, including the names of partners, associates, paralegals and trainees. I also jotted down how I felt, my experience of the networking session, as well as what I enjoyed and why. I think this process will help me in creating a well-prepared and researched application, especially when explaining to firms why I chose to apply there.
I hope that this will help you in your own networking experiences. So go out, network and have fun!
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Author: Jessica Bognar
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