Keeping connected: How aspiring lawyers can effectively network remotely
October 14, 2021
4 min read
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Networking is vital for anyone wanting to break into the legal profession and secure an ever-coveted vacation scheme or training contract. Speaking to individuals associated with a firm, from future trainees to partners, is vital to understanding a firm’s work and culture. Not only that but it also helps you to know if you would be a good fit for the company. Networking and making connections with graduate recruiters can also be a good way to help make your application stand out.
As the pandemic continues to shape the way we socialise, in person networking events have been put on hold – but that doesn’t mean you can’t network! Whilst canapes and in person presentations are (for now maybe) a thing of the past, law firms and legal recruitment organisations have been working hard to keep students connected to legal professionals – albeit virtually. In fact, over the past few months legal networking opportunities have only become more accessible to students all over the country.
These tips should help you make the most of all the exciting virtual networking opportunities out there.
Online talks and events
As the recruitment cycle opens for another year, firms are eager as ever to meet students and graduates interested in commercial law. Many city firms will hold online open days or evening talks held by lawyers and members of the firm’s graduate recruitment team.
These talks are often focused around a specific field of legal work so can provide great insight into a practice area you may have never heard of before!
Tips to stand out online:
- Use your camera. If you have access to a webcam make sure to turn it on! Some events will give you the opportunity to ask live questions, if this is the case showing your face will help you be remembered. It is also far easier to connect with someone that you can see as opposed to a blank screen!
- Read up about the firm beforehand. This tip is handy whether the event is online or in person. Make sure you have some basic knowledge of the sort of work that the firm does; you can use this knowledge to show people you are really interested in the company and are looking for information that isn’t directly available on their website.
- Follow up after the event. It can be useful to send a short email or LinkedIn message to anyone you have spoken to after the event. This shows a sustained interest and will help you to be remembered.
Lots of online legal platforms host events to connect students with lawyers and give them an insight into the profession. These events are directly targeted at students and can give you the opportunity to find out about lots of different types of firms and the work they do in a single evening or afternoon.
Vantage is an organisation that partners with firms such as Ashurst, Bird & Bird and Linklaters. To get involved simply create an online profile outlining your academic background and experiences. Vantage then shares students’ profiles with firms and these partner firms may contact you with special events or opportunities. They also have special events for non-law students interested in making the transition into law.
To access Vantage’s opportunities, sign up for a profile here.
Legal Cheek is currently running monthly online law firms from September through to December. Over 60 law firms are presenting at each fair and students will have the opportunity to ask recruiters and lawyers any questions they have.
For more information on Legal Cheek’s law fairs click here.
LinkedIn can be a great way to find out about law firms and the opportunities they offer directly from employees. Looking at lawyers’ profiles on Linkedin can also help you understand how to break into the profession. There is no one route to becoming a solicitor, by looking at the previous work and opportunities undertaken by legal professionals can help you utilise your own experiences.
Reaching out to someone on Linkedin
- Send a message when connecting. Some lawyers may get hundreds of connection requests a week so sending a message alongside your connection request is a good way to stand out. If you have just attended an event someone was speaking at, mention this or send a thank you message/ follow up question. If you are contacting someone as you are interested in the work they do try and find some common ground such as a similar degree subject or interests.
- Perfect your profile. Adding a headshot and updating your personal information will ensure your profile best reflects your interests and experiences.
It has never been easier to gain an insight into the legal sphere and the opportunities available within it. Attending workshops and sharpening your online professional presence are great ways to make yourself known to legal recruiters.
Hopefully these tips will help your personality and interests shine when virtually connecting with legal professionals.
Report written by Amber Allen
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