Agree and Close
Getting to Grips with Networking
28th March, 2018
Attending networking events is one of those daunting tasks that many new trainees do not expect will be on their to-do list when they first walk through the door. In my first few weeks at Howes Percival I was asked to attend networking events and thought ‘I should not be going to this, I’ve just started training - nobody will be interested in talking to me!’
Attending networking events is a paramount part of your training contract. Obviously developing your legal skills is key, however many trainees forget that once you qualify (and it will come around a lot faster than you think!) you will have the additional responsibility of bringing in work for your firm and maintaining relationships with clients and referrers alike. This is why Howes Percival are keen to get their trainees involved in networking at an early stage of training.
As with most things, practice makes perfect; so throwing yourself into networking is a great way to get more out of your training and develop yourself into a more rounded solicitor on qualification.
Luckily, there are easy ways to dip your toe into networking and build up your confidence. Wherever your firm is located there is likely to be a Junior Lawyers Division nearby who host events where you can meet fellow trainees and NQs. In many areas there will also be other young professionals socials where you will have the opportunity to meet, for example, junior surveyors and accountants. In Northampton we have the Northampton Young Professionals which host a “Thirsty Thursday” drinks event every month, and in Leicester the ‘Hotshots’ group host events throughout the year for young professionals in the area. From cheese and wine tasting to pizza making there are so many events for you to take advantage of throughout the year that are relaxed and an easy opportunity to talk to fellow professionals.
Attending events with professionals at the same stage in their career as you is the perfect way to introduce yourself to networking and will help you grow in confidence. It is also important to remember that your peers’ careers will advance at a similar speed to yours. The trainee accountant that you meet during your training contract at a young professional’s event could end up heading a department at their firm in the future making them a valuable contact for work referrals.
So make sure you throw yourself into networking opportunities! You might meet some valuable contacts for the future; and whatever happens you will impress your supervisors with your business development attempts and there is always the potential added bonus of free food and drinks.