Putting the Work into Networking: New Ways to Connect During and Post-Pandemic

  • May 30, 2022
  • Keagan Davis- Burns, Cunningham Swan Carty Little & Bonham LLP

Pre-pandemic, in-person events and coffee chats, although intimidating for newer lawyers, were a great source of networking. I used these in-person events to network extensively over my articling and first year of practice to the point where I was quite familiar with fellow lawyers in my area of practice and in the city generally. Then, I decided to leave the only city in which I had spent my legal career, for a new area of practice, in a new city, with almost no knowledge of the local bar. The nail in my networking coffin was that this all occurred at the height of the covid-19 pandemic. With everything shut down, I had to think of new ways to introduce myself.

Here are three remote networking avenues that I benefitted from during the pandemic, that can also be used in the post-pandemic world:

  1. Join a Legal Organization

Joining the executive or becoming a general member of a law related organization opens the door to networking with lawyers involved in the organization, as well as lawyers participating in events run by the organization.

Examples of organizations that have aspects specifically targeted at newer lawyers include the Women’s Law Association of Ontario, the Advocates Society, the Advocacy Club, and our very own Ontario Bar Association (Young Lawyers Division).

  1. Social Media

Social media is not just for personal use. It can be a great tool to connect with the legal community.

For example, Twitter has become a large community for legal professionals to interact. #LawTwitter, as it is referred to by users, provides a great mix of professional and personal interaction with fellow lawyers. Law Twitter is a resource library for newer lawyers to seek advice from more senior counsel, as well as keep up to date on the latest law. Individual stories of daily life and thought-provoking comments on current events also connect lawyers on a more personal level.

  1. Cold Emails

Cold emailing can be understandably intimidating but consider the worst- and best-case scenario. Worst case, the lawyer does not respond or does not want to talk to you (their loss). Best case, as I found with many of the recipients to my cold emails, there are complete strangers who are willing to not only talk to you, but mentor you and connect you with other lawyers.

The above remote options were an excellent starting point for me to build my network in a new city, connect with other like-minded individuals, and boost my professional confidence during the covid-19 pandemic. Even with in-person events starting up again, these may be less expensive and less intimidating networking options.

Networking is work, whether during a pandemic or not. Hopefully the above three options can provide some incentive to reach out to the legal community, because it’s worth it!


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