In-house Lawyers: Finding out who you need to know

September 4, 2023

As an in-house lawyer, finding out who you need to know can depend on your goals and interests. Networking is important in various aspects of life, such as career advancement, personal growth, or pursuing hobbies. Start by identifying your objectives and then seek connections in those fields. Attend relevant events, join online communities, and be open to meeting people who share your interests or can help you achieve your goals.

Building a diverse network can be valuable in many aspects of life. In a business context as an in-house lawyer, it's crucial to build a network of relationships that can support your legal work and help the company achieve its objectives. Unfortunately, it’s a bit of a dark art, but here's a general approach:

Internal Networking:

* Identify the key stakeholders: who has a direct impact on your legal work? Key individuals include executives, department heads, and individuals involved in decision-making processes that intersect with legal matters.

* Cultivate strong relationships with your colleagues, including executives, managers, and staff in different departments. This helps you understand the company's needs and culture better.

*Collaborate with other in-house lawyers, legal teams, or compliance professionals to share knowledge and insights.

External Networking:

* Connect with external legal professionals, such as law firms, consultants, or experts in specialised areas that your company frequently deals with.

* Attend industry conferences, seminars, and networking events to meet potential contacts. These events often gather professionals with shared interests and expertise and offer seminars to meet peers and stay updated on legal developments in your sector.

* If your company frequently works with external legal counsel or consultants, establish relationships with these professionals, ensuring they understand your company's unique needs.

* Assess the specific areas of law that are most relevant to your company. For instance, if your organisation deals heavily with intellectual property, you'll need to connect with IP attorneys and experts.

* Stay informed about your industry's trends, challenges, and regulatory changes. Identify industry associations, forums, or events where you can meet peers and stay updated.

* Join professional associations or organisations related to your field of expertise.

Cross-Functional Networking:

* Gain a deep understanding of your company's short-term and long-term business goals. This will help you pinpoint individuals or groups whose support and expertise are crucial in achieving these goals.

* Know your colleagues and the different departments within your organisation. Recognise who might require legal guidance or who can provide insights into their department's needs.

* Build relationships with professionals in other departments, like finance, HR, or marketing, as they often require legal input in their decision-making processes.

* Develop a reputation as a helpful resource and problem-solver within the company.

Mentoring and Knowledge Sharing:

* Consider mentoring junior legal staff or interns to foster talent within your department.

* Offer to share legal insights or conduct training sessions for non-legal colleagues to enhance legal literacy within the organisation.

* Don't hesitate to ask colleagues or mentors for recommendations on who you should connect with based on your specific legal role and objectives.

* Periodically review and reassess your network. As your company evolves, your network needs may change, so stay adaptable and open to new connections.

Online Presence:

* Maintain a professional online presence through platforms like LinkedIn to connect with peers, industry experts, and potential clients or partners.

* Utilise professional networking platforms like LinkedIn to connect with relevant individuals and stay informed about their activities.

Remember that networking is not just about collecting contacts but also about nurturing meaningful relationships. Building trust and credibility within your network can make you a more effective in-house lawyer and a valuable asset to your organisation.

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