Simple steps to paralegal networking
Simple steps to paralegal networking
By: Patricia C. DeRamus, CP, ACP, FRP
Office of the Attorney General – CP Division
We’ve all heard the advice that networking is important step for career success as a paralegal. If you want to be successful, you need to spend time networking. We go to networking events and conferences, collect and handout business cards. It takes a village to have a successful career; people who provide you with information, connection to others, help to get a job done, advocate for you, mentor, guide and sponsor you. And to build this type of network, your networking needs to be strategic. To create this type of network which supports your ambition and your efforts needs to be intentional and purposeful.
So what could possibly hold us back:
- your mindset,
- you limit your network,
- you are not strategic;
- you are not proactive;
- you don’t schedule time to network, and
- you don’t leverage relationships.
In order to create a strategic network:
- Start with your professional goals;
What do you hope to achieve in 3 – 5 years?
Who do you know and who can help you reach that goal.
- Build mutually beneficial relationships.
- Find allies and champions
- Spend your time wisely by focusing on relationships and nurturing them.
- Attend organizational events to help connect with potential contacts.
Networking is an important valuable skill which brings value to your work and even
enhances your career. Networking consists of meeting and interacting with paralegal contacts to exchange information and there are a variety of ways networking occurs from handing out those business cards to speaking with someone in our legal community. The more you practice communication with paralegals, the more confidence grows and the more likely you will succeed in our Paralegal profession. Others can detect confidence, you’ll see this if you’re asked for your ideas and views.
It is customary to speak about:
- Your work and responsibilities,
- Your skills and expertise,
- Professional challenges,
- Professional achievements
- Experiences, and
In order to build professional status, it’s important to be visible to others – from work colleagues to potential employers. Here are some tips when attending networking events:
- Listen attentively,
- Remember names,
- Follow-up on conversations – especially when promising to send contact details,
- Offer your expertise and knowledge,
- Network often so you increase meeting the right people and it also gets your face know.
These steps reflect your trustworthy, supportive and knowledgeable. The more you know, the more desirable you are. Learning what other paralegals are doing is beneficial for everyone in the legal community and guarantees the maintenance of high standards. Your network fundamentally becomes a resource for you to use.
There are many national and local professional associations you can join, and these associations host networking events, CLE seminar, workshops, conventions, and fun events. Push yourself out of your comfort zone, make small talk, exchange business cards, add to your paralegal knowledge, and make friends? I promise you won’t regret doing this.
With today’s technology, social media has made professional networking even easier. Many paralegals use Facebook and Twitter, but the primary professional networking platform is LinkedIn.
To ultimately advance your paralegal career – you simply have to make a little effort to connect with legal professionals around you, whether in school, at professional events, or online.
So get out there and build your paralegal professional network!