Career Development Blog

Networking with Partners and Senior Lawyers

Is all networking created equal? The short answer is yes and no. While the fundamentals of networking at a social event are universal, you do want to be aware of your audience. If you are in the process of networking with a senior lawyer or partner, remember these buzz words: prepared, engaged and focused.  Make sure you are knowledgeable about the partner’s specific area of practice, and show your interest by discussing the latest development in the field.   Similarly, demonstrate your level of engagement and focus by maintaining the eye contact and treating the partner as if she is the only person in the room.  Your main goal here is to make a connection or establish a relationship, not to ask for a job or new assignment.

Be aware that you may not be the only person who wants to talk to this particular partner so do not monopolize her time.  End your conversation, hand her your business card, shake hands and move on.  Being gracious will demonstrate your awareness of proper etiquette and professionalism. This will leave a positive impression especially with older more mature lawyers.

After the event, it is your job to keep in touch.  Write a thank you note or email one, stating that you enjoyed speaking with her. Do not send any other documents right away unless they are requested.  Assuming you have kept in contact, it is appropriate to send holiday wishes or to follow the partner and/or firm on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.  Similarly, maintain the connection by sending the link to an article you found referencing her particular practice area or that you think may be of interest to her.  Continuing contact will keep you in the partner’s mind in a very positive way. While this may sound familiar, it is particularly important to follow etiquette and professionalism rules when speaking to a mature lawyer who will probably be one of the firm’s top decision makers.

If you do the above, you have set the stage and can go confidently to this more experienced attorney for advice or to discuss future job prospects.

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Posted by on May 3 2012. Filed under Alerts, Connections, Etiquette, Networking Advice - Alumni, Networking Advice - Students, Professionalism, Tips From Pros. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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