Many people ask me about networking and the role it plays in marketing for lawyers. It can be a significant part of your law firm marketing plan or you can do without it entirely. The choice is yours. I encourage everyone to at least look at the networking groups in your local community and see if there is something that interests you.
There are three different types of networking groups you should be aware of. Each has its own benefits and drawbacks. Let’s look at each of them and you can determine which are a good fit for you.
Structured Networking Groups
These are groups like BNI or LeTip. These groups usually only permit one member per profession, per group so if you are a Trusts and Estates Attorney, you will be the only Trusts and Estates Attorney in the group.
There are two specific benefits to a group like this. The first benefit is the rigorous nature of the group. You are pretty much taught to develop relationships with the folks in the group by the outline the meetings follow. In addition, there is a requirement for the group members to get together outside of the meetings and interact. This helps establish trust.
The next benefit of belonging to a structured networking group is the frequency of the interaction of the members. These groups generally meet each week and this is important. Frequency of interaction also builds trust.
I highly recommend my clients join one of these structured groups.
Charitable groups are an important part of the community. They provide the glue that keeps the community together. Join a charitable group and make it a part of your law firm marketing plan if it makes sense.
The key to success within a charitable organization is to take on a leadership role. If you are passionate and dedicated to the cause, taking on a leadership role in the organization will work to your advantage.
Civic Groups or Associations and Chambers of Commerce
These are groups developed with a mission to improve business for everyone in the community. These groups typically offer several different opportunities for members to get involved. They work if you work them. Meaning: You need to attend as many meetings as possible in order to benefit from the membership.
If you are a hardcore networker, you will benefit from membership in a Chamber of Commerce or civic organization.
The bottom line with these groups is that you get out of them what you put into them. I encourage you to seek out opportunities to network in your local community and use that as a developmental tool.