SPILL: Your best virtual networking experience

  • August 30, 2021

We all know ‘Zoom fatigue’ is real – we’re not as amused by the tropical backdrops, the cartoonish filters, the emoji reactions and the “you’re on mute” refrain as we were a year ago – but videoconferencing has been vital to our sense of connection and community during socially distanced days.

Interested in knowing what has really worked well in keeping lawyers effectively engaged with one another in a predominantly online environment, we asked OBA Section members to share with us their most enjoyable or enriching virtual networking experience from the past year-and-a-half of Zooming, Teams-ing, Skyping, sometimes Slacking, but always Rallying.

The Interactive

“My best virtual networking event since the start of the stay-at-home orders was an OBA-sponsored virtual networking event for new and emerging mediators, with breakout rooms based on practice area. I received valuable small-group feedback and advice, and made new contacts I'll carry forward in my practice. Bringing out people to events centred on building practices during these changing, uncertain times helps bring lawyers together and avoids isolation.”

Matthew Gordon (Alternative Dispute Resolution Executive)

The Illusive

“My law firm arranged for a virtual (but still interactive) performance by Dan White, the magician at the Nomad Hotel. Tickets to the live magic show in NYC are notoriously difficult to get ahold of, so it was a treat for all of the lawyers and staff to experience!”

Lauren J. Dalton (Business Law Executive)

The Informative

“I really enjoyed participating in the OBA Public Sector Section’s virtual Welcome to the Practice of Public Law: Exploring Careers in the Broader Public Sector in October 2020.  After listening to a great keynote address by Yasir Naqvi, I was one of the mentors who circulated through various break-out rooms to talk with young lawyers and students. It was a fast-paced, fun and informative evening.”

Laura Pettigrew (Public Sector Lawyers Executive)

The Informal

“The most enjoyable virtual networking event that I participated in this year was an online trivia night. This event was informal and centered on an activity, which allowed for the participants to network without there being any pressure and to reconnect as members of the Ottawa bar.”

Vanessa Carment (Young Lawyers Division East Executive)

The Inspirational

“In December 2020, I had the honour of interviewing Justice Lori Anne Thomas of the Ontario Court of Justice over Zoom in connection with the Canadian Bar Association’s Madam Justice project. I was really inspired by Justice Thomas’ journey to the bench, and here are five of my key takeaways from this interview: (1) Build your professional reputation (e.g., through networking, speaking engagements, writing articles); (2) Seek mentors from all walks of life, (3) Do not be afraid to change course, (4) Do not burn bridges; and (5) Pay it forward.”

Angela Ogang (Young Lawyers Division Central Executive)

The Intentional

“Over the past 15 months, I practiced intentionality in my networking – being intentional with setting up a coffee on Zoom, organizing networking sessions, and making an effort to participate as both mentee and mentor at various online events. I’ve met more new faces this past year than I did my first couple of years in practice – seeing the deliberate effort people mutually put into virtual networking has been incredibly enjoyable for me and demonstrates the value of building connections and collaboration.”

Barbara De Dios (CCCA Ontario and Women Lawyers Forum Executive)