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Junior to mid-level lawyer network - event review

A brand new series of CLL events kicked off in May in collaboration with RPC.

These events give junior to mid-level in-house lawyers a dedicated networking environment.

The Junior to mid-level lawyer networking evening launch event proved enormously popular with over 85 in-house lawyers from a wide range of organisations packing out RPC’s Dockside Lounge at Tower Bridge House in London.

And to get the networking started, four legal experts formed a discussion panel to explore the power of networking and techniques for making new friends in a room full of strangers.

Chaired by RPC Associate Eve Matthews, the panel comprised:

Barriers to networking

For many people, the perceived transactional nature of a networking event can present difficulties. They may feel, for example, that success depends on collecting a predetermined number of business cards or making a minimum number of new contacts. This in turn dilutes the authenticity of interactions and renders the networking effort valueless. Far more effective, says Holly, is to:

‘stop labelling it networking and have genuine conversations with people – about anything. As well as making networking less scary, this will make you more memorable to the people you meet.’

The effect of COVID-19 on networking

Much has been said and written about how we interacted during lockdowns. However, four years on, some of the effects of the pandemic on networking are still with us. Of the more positive of these, for Joseph is that:

‘networking is no longer always in person or attached to late night drinking culture. This is good news for non/moderate drinkers, early risers and more introverted people looking to get involved in networking environments.’

Online events, of course, are not restricted by geography, thus opening up a (literal) world of network building opportunity.

Social media

Summing up how the social media landscape is changing, Matthew explained that at McArthurGlen Group:

'We’re using TikTok and Instagram. If you’d asked the partners of any law firm if we should do this, they’d have said No! But we’re attracting talent and reaching more people this way than on LinkedIn.’

Whatever your preferred social media platform, the panel emphasised that offering genuine help or seeking insights and advice are where the value lies. Amassing followers for its own sake rarely results in meaningful relationships or worthwhile interactions.

Elevate your networking

Asked for a single nugget of advice to take into the evening’s networking over drinks and canapes, the panel was unanimous. Be yourself, speak with people you like, get yourself into the environment and take it from there. Don’t force it and, if you don’t make a handful of new contacts, it’s not the end of the world – there’ll be other opportunities. Treat every networking opportunity as practice for the next one. Or as Amanda put it:

‘Be brave, but be human, Trust your human compass and be authentic.’

And remember, there’s no right or wrong as to what successful networking looks like. If you learn something new, pick up some great tips, help someone – or simply feel good at the end of the event – you’ve been a great networker!

The second Junior to mid-level lawyers networking evening is on 15 October. Learn more and register here.

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