Networking and Recommendations

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So, we admit it… we can’t help everyone find their dream job, as much as we may try. As recruitment consultants, we work on the jobs our clients instruct us on and the vacancies in the market, and as a result there are some very good lawyers who we can’t always help.

We are not careers advisors, but we often have ideas to share and advice to give, and one of the main things we would recommend is using your network. Lawyers get plenty of opportunity to network. Some love it, and some hate it. Some are good at it … and some not so good. But there are different ways of networking and one or more of the below will hopefully suit most people.

Attend industry events – and look wider than law firm’s seminars and training. Try the events put on specifically for in-house lawyers. The Lawyer, Legal Week, Legal Business, Legal 500, The Economist, Thomson Reuters/ Practical Law Company all host General Counsel and In-house Counsel events. See our conferences post here – . To make the most of these events, arrive early, stay till the end and ditch the electronics if you can – although you might also want to make use of their social media networking opportunities.

Host smaller events – If you’re not meeting the right people at events arranged by others, then get involved in hosting events yourself. Smaller events such as breakfasts or a gathering of peers who have moved in-house will sometimes be the most successful. A good speaker will attract good delegates, and one good delegate will attract another.

Respond to recruiters – even if you’re not actively looking. Having conversations with your recruiter could open up all sorts of opportunities in the future. So often our lawyers end up doing something quite different to what they were expecting and you never know what options there are unless you are prepared to listen.

Recommend your friends – Suggesting others for opportunities that aren’t right for you means they might do the same for you. And helping your recruiter by suggesting someone they might want to try, will never be forgotten and keeps you in mind for when the right thing comes up for you. You can always say that you’d rather they didn’t use your name when approaching your recommendation, although most people would be grateful.

Network and volunteer internally – This could be volunteering within the legal department or getting involved in company wide projects or D&I initiatives. It will broaden your network outside of the legal department into the business world and you may find that when someone moves on from your company, they recommend outstanding colleagues to their new employer.

Use your secondments – Stay in touch with your line manager and the team and make them aware that you might be interested in opportunities in the future. Make the most of your time whilst on secondment, networking and immersing yourself as if you were a permanent employee.

Speak to your clients – Many people we speak to are concerned about confidentiality, and understandably so. But if you can develop good relationships where you can drop into conversation that you would always be interested in hearing it is not only the GC that could contact you, but their GC network too.  

Don’t be afraid to let people know – We get that you probably don’t want your boss finding out you are looking, but chances are your boss is interested in hearing about new opportunities too. We find that more senior lawyers are always much more open than the more junior lawyers we speak to. And it is about how you do it, you don’t need to tell anyone you are looking for a new job, but saying that you always have an eye out for the next opportunity does you no harm and if anything improves relationships and opens your network.

At Fry & Brown we try not to group people as “candidates” and “clients”, but we have lawyer contacts, not necessarily actively looking to move, but always open to a good conversation.

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