Law Dawgs is a leading, full-service legal and corporate staffing company that has successfully matched qualified legal candidates with rewarding opportunities for almost three decades. We take exceptional pride in our talented candidates and always look for ways to ensure their success. Towards this end, we introduce you to “Networking 101,” a series of posts designed to help our candidates build a more effective and powerful network.
Networking is of paramount importance in today’s legal world. It’s an efficient way to build a team of peers that you can turn to for advice and address concerns. The process assists in achieving career goals and it can even help open doors to new opportunities.
Networking is essential to both lawyers and legal staff members alike – including paralegals. Our first Networking 101 course focuses on the latter and it will help paralegals gain a highly effective one-two punch to build a more powerful network. The punches simply refer to: paralegal associations and LinkedIn.
Most professions have associations or groups that sponsor such activities as: continuing education seminars, special networking events, conferences and fun parties designed to meet peers. Paralegals are no exception to this trait. Nearly every state in the country and most large cities now have at least one paralegal association.
This is exciting because paralegal associations provide an excellent tool to build and solidify your networks. This holds true even if an event is not specifically designed as “networking” in nature. As a member of these associations, paralegals are provided with a host of opportunities to not only meet other paralegals, but attorneys and recruiters as well.
The following list includes three great national associations to consider.
- National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA)
- National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA)
- Association of Legal Administrators (ALA)
For those paralegals in Washington State and Seattle, you must consider two additional associations.
The only possible flaw in using paralegal associations as a networking tool is that social gatherings are not for everyone – perhaps due to an individual’s personality or the simple issue of time. For whatever reason, we get it and that’s why we recommend LinkedIn. If you’re unfamiliar with LinkedIn, it’s simply a social networking site designed specifically for the business community.
Tina Ghanavati, Director of Career Services for Paralegal.Edu, has summarized the importance of LinkedIn perfectly:
LinkedIn is an interconnected network of experienced professionals from around the world. You can find and collaborate with qualified professionals that you need to work with to accomplish your goals. A professional network of contacts gives you an advantage in your career. When I was a headhunter, I was always on LinkedIn searching for candidates to fill positions.
Setting up a LinkedIn profile is free, quick and easy. Once created, users can then form professional connections (i.e., networks) by inviting contacts to connect with them. Individual contacts can be made with trusted peers or with professionals that may have a direct insight into a position sought. Users can even join online groups specifically geared towards paralegals. Plus, all of this can be done at your leisure and without attending any social event.
On their own, paralegal associations and LinkedIn stand as electrifying ways to energize and build your network. When combined, they create a one-two punch that easily translates into power. Harvest this power and interject it within your paralegal network today.