Susan Smith Blakely

Are Networking Events Worth a Young Lawyer’s Time?

I know.  You hear it all the time.  Go to those networking events!  They are so valuable!  And, yes, you have heard it from me before.

But not all networking events are equal.  As you will read in this article, you need to be discriminating when it comes to the value of networking events.  Spring is just around the corner (we hope!), and Spring is a season full of networking events.  Better weather and hope for the future spring eternal at that time of year.  So, get ready with some good info on choosing your networking events wisely.

As the article points out, human connection is nearly DOA these days with the advent of more and more virtual communication.  The value of in-person communication is getting lost in the more trendy e-mails and other digital communication that is so popular with all of you.  Not only the value but also the effectiveness and efficiency of communication.  The risk of misunderstandings in this digital age are high.

And networking events are great opportunities to improve your in-person communications and gain confidence in working a room.  Cold calls --- one where you just turn up in a group of unknowns to join the conversation --- are very challenging, but there is no better place to work on that skill than at networking events.

But, beware of the differences in such events and how they rate in terms of use of your time.  As the author points out, "Studies have shown that casual chit chat and cocktails don't work --- introverts and extroverts alike tend to just interact with people they already know or with whom they have a lot in common."  Very true.

The author recommends events that involve "relatively high-stakes activities that connect you with diverse others."  And he goes outside the typical legal networking examples to suggest pro bono work and even joining a local sports team.

This is good and thoughtful advice from Canadian Lawyer.  If you are one of our friends in Maple Leaf Land, you also may want to consider the Women in Law Summit in Toronto later this month.  It looks like very interesting content.

So, go forth and network ---- wisely!

Susan Smith Blakely is the Founder of LegalPerspectives LLC and an award-winning, nationally-recognized author, speaker and consultant on issues related to young women lawyers, young women law students and young women interested in careers in the law.  She is author of Best Friends at the Bar:  What Women Need to Know about a Career in the Law (Wolters Kluwer/Aspen Publishers 2009), and Best Friends at the Bar:  The New Balance for Today's Woman Lawyer (Wolters Kluwer Law & Business 2012), which addresses the work-life struggle for women lawyers and includes twelve profiles of women who have successfully transitioned from one practice setting to another.  Her third book in the series, Best Friends at the Bar:  Top-Down Leadership for Women Lawyers, focuses on the responsibilities of law firm leaders and was released by Wolters Kluwer Law & Business in 2015.

 Ms. Blakely’s new book for ALL young lawyers, What Millennial Lawyers Want:  A Bridge from the Past to the Future of Law Practice, will be released by Wolters Kluwer/Aspen Publishers in the summer of 2018.

 Ms. Blakely frequently speaks at colleges and universities, law schools, law firms and law organizations, and she has been featured in media including Corporate Counsel Magazine, the ABA Journal, the LA Daily Journal, National Jurist, Washington Examiner Newspaper, Forbes Woman, Women Lawyers Journal (NAWL), DC Spotlight,, Daily Muse, Lawyer and Statesman,, Georgetown Law Magazine, Legal Toolkit Podcast, and Huffington Post Business.  Ms. Blakely also is a frequent guest speaker and panelist at conferences on women's issues in business and the law profession, and she has been a featured speaker at the US Department of Justice, Civil Division.  She is the recipient of the Ms. JD 2015 "Sharing Her Passion Award" and the Lawyer Monthly “Women in Law Award 2016” for her work on behalf of women in the law. 

 Ms. Blakely graduated from the University of Wisconsin with distinction and from Georgetown University Law Center where she was a teaching fellow. She is a member of the CoachSource global network of leadership coaches and is certified as a career coach for the Indiana University Marshall Goldsmith Leadership Development and Executive Coaching Academy.   For more information, please visit 




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