One key thing that Ben and I continue to do is NETWORK. There are some differences, however, from networking now versus while you were in law school.

One, since you have passed the bar and been sworn in you are not just another law student seeking advice from practicing attorneys–you are a practicing attorney. As such, you are now a colleague of all of those attorneys you spent time having coffee or lunch with.

Two, here is your chance to reconnect with those same attorneys who hopefully gave you sage advice while in law school. Go to a bar event with them, grab coffee, lunch, or even a post work cocktail. Discuss with them your firm’s intended practice areas and talk about how you can help each other rather than only gleaning advice from them. In addition to reconnecting with attorneys, look for other service providers and specialists in and around your practice area.  Ben and I practice in real estate and property development so although we want to and have been meeting with real estate attorneys, we also meet with realtors, title companies, and property developers (both private and commercial).  Find those ancillary professions that can and do work alongside the lawyers in your practice area.

Three, thank them! Granted, this is not a difference from when you networked while in law school, but important enough to deserve the reminder. At this point all you have is your reputation, and even after all your coming years of practice, all that may be left in the end is your integrity–not huge settlements or big wins in District Court, but how you treated the profession. This includes clients (of course!), but perhaps just as important it includes your colleagues. More civility rather than less civility is always a good thing. You can still advocate for your clients without being a jerk.

So, as you continue to network after opening your doors, remember that although you are a green attorney you have been deemed competent to practice law in your jurisdiction. You should not be afraid to offer your services to others (within the confines of the rules of Professional Conduct, of course!). And always be gracious when others give their time to you because you may be the one helping law students find their way sooner than you think.

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