March 2017

Letter from the Chair of the Forum

By Ashley Peterson

Attorney at Law

Dear Colleagues,

Spring is approaching and that means it’s time to get out and network! 

One of the best ways to get ahead in your career and build your reputation in the legal community is through networking events. In-person networking is ideal because you can connect a name to a face and make a good first impression. It’s also a great way to talk to other professionals across all areas of law, and non-law fields in order to determine the legal career path that might be right for you. By attending networking events, you will be able to develop new relationships and friendships with new and seasoned lawyers in your community. Although attending these events can be daunting, and often intimidating, it’s important to get out of your comfort zone to practice your networking skills. Over time, you will start seeing the same friendly faces, and will feel more comfortable approaching someone you don’t know.    

Online job applications and resumes can only get you so far in the application process. If you make an in-person connection with an attorney at that firm you are interested in working for, chances are they would be willing to put in a good word for you with their head of recruiting which may just get you that interview as opposed to someone else equally qualified. It is important to take the time out of your busy schedules to attend these networking events in the legal community and focus your efforts on advancing your own professional development. A face-to-face meeting and follow up email leaves a meaningful and lasting impression with anyone you meet. You should also make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to date with all of your qualifications since many law firms and recruiters look to your profile on LinkedIn to see if your information matches up.

As a new lawyer, there will certainly be times that you will need to rely on a strong network base, both for personal questions and referrals. I personally keep a master referral list for other attorneys in different areas of law that I know and trust. In turn, I can proudly say that the majority of my clients are referrals from other attorneys I met at past networking events. 

There are a number of section and committee networking mixers planned this month so be sure to frequently check the SDCBA events calendar. The Forum will be hosting a professional clothing drive with “Dress for Success” on March 25 so we encourage you to participate by donating your old work clothes, shoes and jewelry. The drop off location is Luce Bar and Kitchen—see details here. We will also have small group meetup tennis lessons on April 10, 15 and 17 for groups of up to six people in Del Mar at Winners Tennis Club with a tennis pro. All experience levels are welcome and we encourage you to sign up because space is limited. Spring is in the air and we hope to see you at some of these events.