In this blog post, Vaishnavi Rao Ragam, a student at Symbiosis Law School, Pune and pursuing a Diploma in Entrepreneurship Administration and Business Laws from NUJS, Kolkata, discusses why lawyers need to attend paid networking events and conferences.

 

In law school, nobody explains to us the importance of networking. We are taught to pursue internships, focus on mooting, and learn about ten different laws over ten semesters, always in a pursuit to make our CV look better. Along the way, we join some extra-curricular clubs or groups in college to refresh ourselves. We build some strong friendships in college without any motive or reason. But what happens after law school ends? Some of us might end up in a big law firm, while some of us end up in small sized companies s focused on litigation, but what we don’t expect to find is that there is so much left to learn and left to understand. This field is also highly competitive leaving us with unexpected pressure and the stress of how to cope up?

The thing is, the law is never an isolated subject. A simple reading of the legislations in place may not get you to address the cause of the issue. One needs to have an understanding of various underlying concepts that surround us economically, socially and politically. The only way, to perhaps comprehend such vast dimensions is a discussion, and participating in such discussions. While we like to believe that the internet is our best friend, we forget that it is a discussion that helps us narrow down and catch important issues which we can read about later.

 

Reasons for attending paid networking events and conferences

So what do paid networking events and conferences aim to achieve? They encourage discussion on various upcoming issues and bring like-minded people together. They also help you build your clientele. Listed below are the primary reasons why lawyers should attend paid networking events and conferences:-

  1. You get to learn a LOT. Ranging from current issues to new ideas, they help you gain the knowledge requisite to cope up in a comprehensive way.
  2. You also get the opportunity to meet people from different industries but hold same interests as you do. It can be very motivational. Networking with like-minded people can be inspiring and can present opportunities to build your professional relations and clientele. You, but it creates an opportunity to develop partnerships and joint venture opportunities.
  3. Conferences can help you discover which areas you can focus on and guide you towards recapturing your core interest.
  4. It is an easy way to catch up with your old friends and meet new people, outside your organization.
  5. They are a great way for you to stay grounded. Through interacting with various people, you stand to realize the value of your family and that everyone has their struggles. Through interacting with others, you can come across new solutions to your personal problems as well.
  6. It breaks the monotony of the daily office life, helping you get back to work with a refreshed mind which ultimately leads to better productivity which is beneficial for everyone, right?
  7. You can learn current procedures that are working for others. At events, individuals have a tendency to relax and will regularly share their thoughts, systems and war stories with you.
  8. The best part is – you get the chance to meet experts in person. It’s great to get in touch through email, it is ideal to associate on the However, an ideal approach to communicating is eye to eye, and dependant. At conferences, speakers are typically accessible to visit and answer questions. Keep in mind to haul out your camera and inquire as to whether you can bring a photograph with them.
  9. Being around similar individuals is helpful and reviving. It allows you to “rest and reflect.” I don’t mean a “snooze type of rest; I mean rest from the “grind” of your day by day schedule. It’s regularly hard to reflect when you’re serving your family and group; these events permit you to pull over, back off and reflect.[1]

 

How can you stand out and make the most at a conference?

Having understood, why we should as lawyers attend conferences, let’s try to understand what we can do stand out from the crowd and make the most at a conference:

  1. Before the conference, it is essential to prepare yourself. The first step must be to review the agenda set out. After having a thorough look at the agenda, a proper plan of action as to which keynote addresses and speakers would interest and benefit you the most. Next step would be to find out who is attending the conference.
  2. If you wish to share your pioneering work or bring up other issues, make sure to submit your paper or abstract to the conference organizers. If they find that your paper is substantial enough to be discussed, it will be selected for a presentation. Ensure that you are prepared for your presentation in advance and practise your speech enough number of times. This will carve out a way for you to get your work published which can be shared with everyone else.
  3. The people you interact with are important. It is a perfect way to connect with and network with your peers and potential customers. Most conferences have a social media platform which can be used to do keep track of what’s going on. If there are keynote speakers or industry specialists you are interested in building a relation with, you can also use social media to get in touch with them before the conference to ensure their attention during the event.
  4. Once you’re there, the next few days will be very hectic and buzz with activity. The first step is to stand out in a crowd. Have a style statement that is bold and catches the attention of others. Looking good always make you feel good about yourself. This helps you boost your confidence, and the daunting task of speaking to others is easier when you feel confident.
  5. Ensure that you register early and get over with it. Who likes waiting in long queues? You can spend the valuable time meeting people. If you are attending with a group of people or co-workers, try to attend different sessions so that you can collectively take back more to your organization. You will each be able to meet more people. It is also a very good time to meet your customers and client base personally to strengthen your relations with them.
  6. Further, it is essential to follow up with the meetings you have set up with experts, peers and your customers that you had set up on a prior date. It is an excellent opportunity to impress others with what your organisation can offer and how you will approach the issue innovatively.
  7. The information collected at conferences can be an overload at times, ensure that you have a notepad where you write down all the important pointers, names of individuals, collect business cards and make brief notes of whatever is happening to jog your memory on a later date.
  8. Once the conference is over, and you are at home, you can take a breather from all the activity and relax. However, not too much as you need to act upon what you have learnt at the conference in the weeks after the event itself and put it to good use.
  9. All the contacts of future prospective and existing clientele must be turned in to your office for the greater benefit of your organisation which will obviously help you get brownie points for you.
  10. Connect with the rest of the people that you interacted with on social media immediately after your return while their memories are still fresh. Linked In requests are now the best way to build a professional social media presence. Remember to make yourself memorable by including a personalised message reminding them what your conversation was about.
  11. Your follow-ups can also address issues raised at the conference during your personal interactions which will allow you to build stronger relations and getting you one step ahead in your professional life.
  12. Lastly, it is important to teach others whatever you have learnt at the conference. The underlying point is after all, discussion and coping up with the advancements made in the industry.[2]

In conclusion, I would like to say that even if you are an introverted person by nature, you must approach conferences in a similar manner. You can take lots of small breaks and make time for yourself so that you don’t burn out. However, networking and talking to others must be inculcated as part of your profession as for lawyers, communication skills are a must. Networking is a growing need today where the world is always becoming smaller by the day with the advent of social media platforms. It is possible for everyone to stay connected and in touch. Even as students, conferences can be an excellent way to help us to realise our interest areas and get in contact with experts and mentors who can provide us invaluable guidance. And the best part is that attending conferences looks great on your resumes. If you are planning to opt for further studies, universities love to see that you have attended meetings and have gotten yourself published at the undergraduate level. So don’t hold back!

 

 


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