Networking for New Lawyers: Everything You Need To Know

Updated January 25, 2024
11 min read
Networking for New Lawyers: Everything You Need To Know


Are you wasting your time on the wrong attorney networking activities? When it comes to developing a new business, the old adage, "It's not what you know, it's who you know," is still true. Since business comes from people, it is also vital that you know the right people. Read on to understand why and how to network and develop deeper relationships that bring new clients who best fit your expertise, personality, and legal practice areas. 

Attorney Networking: You're In For the Long Haul

Legal networking is playing a long game, which means you may not experience instant results. As with all marketing strategies, you are planting the seeds for future business, and you can't wait until the phone stops ringing to start drumming up new business. The people you meet today may be your strongest advocates tomorrow. And if they don't refer clients directly, they may be able to serve as a valuable resource to your business in other ways. So don't give up on them.

What Are the Benefits of Networking for Lawyers?

You didn't go to law school to learn how to make small talk at a cocktail party or on a Zoom call, so you may be wondering how it will benefit you to step out of your comfort zone. Here are some reasons to expand your sphere of influence:

  • To grow your practice;

  • To set yourself apart in the legal industry and the professional community;

  • To increase visibility;

  • To meet like-minded power partners who refer clients;

  • To meet professionals who may serve as a resource;

  • To learn from other successful attorneys and business owners; and

  • To share your experience and mentor others often creates a sense of duty to support you in return.

4 Essential Networking Tips for Lawyers: Building Connections

Relationships are the king in the business world, so here are a few suggestions to encourage others to approach you and connect with you. The deepest connections often spawn the most prosperous results.

  1. Be accessible and personable: Remember that many potential clients and referral partners may feel intimidated by attorneys, so show a little of your personal side.

  2. Break down barriers: Present yourself as a helpful counselor, not a high authority.

  3. Quality over quantity: Receive qualified referrals over a number of clients who are challenging and not the right fit for your firm.

  4. Distinguish yourself: Many lawyers struggle with networking, relationship building, and business development. Set yourself apart by excelling in this arena.

Best Practices To Network as a Lawyer

In the realm of business, and especially within the legal profession, connections and relationships are paramount. Picture the most powerful business agreements you've seen on the silver screen, often sealed with a simple handshake at a casual social event: This is the power of relaxed, personal networking. Let's delve deeper into how you can utilize this interpersonal approach to expand your legal practice and establish yourself as an expert in your field.

Get social

As you've probably seen in the movies, some of the biggest business deals are sealed by a handshake on the golf course by men and women wearing polo shirts and shorts. That's because, at social events, we are relaxed, disarmed, and open to cooperation with others. So, when you think business, think personal.

Ask for introductions

  • Identify potential key referral partners or individuals;

  • Ask people in your current social circle to introduce you to anyone they know who fits this profile;

  • A joint email introduction is good. A personal introduction is better!

Offer to reciprocate

Perhaps there is someone in your lawyer networking community who would be a good match for the individual making an introduction for you?

Create your own networking events

Who doesn't like to have a good time? Hosting face-to-face events is an excellent way to meet new contacts and have productive conversations with those you already know. 

  • Host small events such as business lunches;

  • Host mid-sized events such as a mixer of 10 to 20 guests who might form prosperous partnerships; or

  • Host large events like a grand opening or a holiday party.

Succeed at legal networking events: Double the fun

Ask your guests to invite a guest. Don't confine yourself to those you currently know. Consider it a success to meet at least one new contact, and always be on the lookout for ways to increase your exposure.

Grow your practice through attorney referrals

Meeting and mingling with other attorneys can result in a surge of optimal client referrals, especially because other lawyers are apt to understand your practice area and correctly identify the correct client to introduce.

  • Reach out to successful attorneys in complementary areas of law;

  • Meet attorneys who practice the same area of law. For many reasons, they may have clients who are not a right fit for their firm to send your way happily; and/or

  • Join attorney-focused networking groups.

Leverage your local community

Anyone with significant social influence could be a key supporter. Those who possess the power to successfully build and maintain solid relationships can be a gold mine for new connections. Who are the leaders in your community? In your client's community? Get to know them well.

Be a connector

Everyone appreciates introductions to quality professionals and likable, trustworthy people. Whether it's a client, a personal contact, or a business-to-business partner, make time to introduce like-minded, synergistic individuals who may refer business or serve as a resource for one another.

Position yourself as an expert in your field

To win the trust of attorneys, you should prove your own expertise in the field and, what is more important, make yourself visible. It's not just who you know. It's who knows you.

  • Be a guest on podcasts or start your own;

  • Seek opportunities to write articles, guest blogs, and be quoted in publications. Video interviews are great, too;

  • Offer to provide educational presentations;

  • Volunteer as a board member for influential organizations that relate to your field of law or serve the community you wish to reach; and

  • Promote your appearances shamelessly. Don't keep your success a secret.


In conclusion, effective networking for lawyers isn't reliant solely on your legal prowess but also on the personal relationships cultivated along the journey. It's about showing your human side, breaking down barriers, and consistently proving to be a helpful, approachable expert in your field. Networking, when done correctly, isn't about wearing a sales hat — it's about actively listening, creating mutual connections, and advocating for others with the knowledge that down the line, you'll reap the rewards of this relationship-based initiative. 

Article by
Annie Tyler
Norton Basu, LLP

Annie Tyler, Director of Marketing and Business Development at Norton Basu, LLP, an estate planning and probate law firm. Annie Tyler is a noteworthy San Francisco Bay Area relationship manager with unparalleled expertise in business development using innovative marketing strategies. While cultivating and maintaining Norton Basu LLP’s strategic partnerships, she is a resource for attorneys and clients. She is known for her warm and engaging presence and extensive network of vetted, highly specialized experts ranging from financial planners, attorneys, and tax professionals to real estate experts and more.