You hear constantly in law school that you should get out and start marketing yourself, yet very few people listen to the advice and I sure didn’t. I joined the Beverly Hills Bar Association, but I never bothered to attend any of their events. This was a big mistake, and I realize that now. I missed out on the opportunity to make, cultivate, and appreciate new contacts. I could have made the connections I am now making and could have a much larger attorney network; but NO I was too scared to get out there. I didn’t think I would have anything relevant to add to the conversation, and I didn’t think it was actually necessary... boy was I wrong.
Bar Associations and other professional groups welcome new members and their ideas and their members are surprisingly friendly. They make you feel at home in a very uncomfortable situation. They listen when you speak and make meaningful conversation with you. So a huge tidbit of advice: GET OUT AND NETWORK AND START AS EARLY AS POSSIBLE.
It really is who you know in this business and not necessarily what you know (even though this is important too and will be discussed in a blog to come). Having those crucial connections in times of need whether it be a special appearance, a referral, or just an answered question is imperative and a great way to expand your circle of people to call is to get out there and get involved in the bar associations.
But it takes special people to become “Networking Queens”, and our friends have deemed Taylor and I just that. We have joined as many bar associations as we can and we are attending at least one event at each bar association before judging them and deciding on whether or not to stay on with them in the following years. We didn’t want to judge a book by its cover or be limited in the areas we could meet people so from the Los Angeles Bar Association to the Beverly Hills Bar Association to the Orange County Jewish Bar Association to the Western San Bernardino County Bar Association to the Orange County Barrister and many more. You will find Taylor and I there meeting new people, getting involved with the organizations, and attending as many social events as possible. We learned early on the importance of attending these events and they continue to pay off.
And as an ending note I’d like to squash any misconceptions of these “networking” events. At first glance or opinion people might be turned away from attending because they think they are going to be overly boring but that is anything but the truth. It takes a little researching but fun events exist and they are actually the norm. There are differences between socials and MCLE events and annual meetings, so ease your way into the networking world and start at a social where you can sip a glass of wine to take off the edge and curb those butterflies, because it’s definitely worth it.