Returning to in-person networking is critical to the career development of Maryland’s legal professionals.
The ways in which legal professionals connect has evolved significantly over the past three years. Virtual work and continued education provides opportunities for new and inventive outreach, and communications offering increased flexibility, productivity, and improved work-life balance. Acknowledging the overall benefits of remote work, it’s critically important for attorneys, judges, and all legal professionals to continue networking in-person at conferences and other professional events. The personal interactions that take place during face-to-face meetings offer boundless advantages. Here are some of the benefits of returning to in-person networking:
1. Build Relationships: In-person networking provides the opportunity to meet and interact with people, which can lead to building more personal and meaningful relationships. This can help legal professionals establish and foster trust with their peers, clients, and potential partners.
As we know, relationships and reputation are critical elements to one’s professional portfolio. The depth of connection in 3D changes the level at which people build initial connections and then deepen their relationships and trust. We’re able to better read body language and expressions, gauge and respond to conversational queues and gaps, and appreciate sitting in a bit of silence. When we’re in virtual meeting rooms, we are faced with the expectation of ongoing conversations, productivity, presentations, or other facets of being “on.” In-person interactions lessen that pressure, which creates space for deeper conversations, which are cornerstones of relationship building.
2. Increase Visibility: Attending conferences and other professional events can help legal professionals increase their visibility within the legal community. By actively participating in these events, they can demonstrate their expertise and knowledge, which can help build their reputation as a trusted legal professional.
By committing to networking in-person, legal professionals increase the likelihood of chance encounters, are afforded greater exposure to an engaged audience, and more opportunities for client referrals from new connections. In-person there is no room to be “out of sight; out of mind.”
3. Learn from others: Networking in-person at conferences and other professional events can provide access to a wealth of knowledge and expertise that can be beneficial to everyone in the legal profession. By engaging with others in their practice area or skill set, legal professionals can gain insights and learn about new developments and best practices that can help them improve their work.
In-person networking environments create space for legal professionals to no longer see each other as adversaries and instead as people from whom they can learn. In addition, one of the many benefits of membership and engagement with the Maryland State Bar Association is the unparalleled access our programming gives to industry and subject matter experts.
4. Identify Opportunities: Attending conferences and other professional events can also help legal professionals identify potential business or career opportunities. By networking with other professionals, they may come across job openings, partnership opportunities, or other potential avenues for growth.
Overall employment in legal occupations is projected to grow 10% between now and 2031, faster than the average for all other occupations. 1 As such, there are many opportunities to be had and in-person networking allows you to put yourself front and center. Conferences and other professional events often facilitate ways for legal professionals to connect with potential business and therefore afford your practice unmatched growth opportunities.
5. Stay Up-to-Date: Finally, networking in-person can help legal professionals stay up-to-date on industry trends, new technologies, and emerging best practices. By connecting with other professionals in their field, they can learn about new developments and advancements that may impact their work, and stay ahead of the curve.
Maryland State Bar Association’s Annual Legal Summit, held in Ocean City, MD, June 7-9, 2023, is a perfect opportunity to take advantage of all the aspects and benefits of attending an in-person conference. Your Annual Meeting conference registration gives you immediate access to networking events – instantly expanding your professional reach. Connect with Summit participants at our Welcome Reception; Law School Alumni Reception with the Deans of both University of Baltimore School of Law and University of Maryland Carey School of Law; relax, chat with colleagues and have fun at an Afternoon at Seacrets or during the Late Night with Local Bars hospitality suite; expand your professional network, learn new skills, and gain exposure to new opportunities and as you mingle with Maryland’s newest members of the bench at the New Judges’ Reception; stroll the Trade Show floor and interact with over 40 exhibitors ready and willing to assist you in taking your practice to the next level.
In addition to these unique networking opportunities, Legal Summit attendees will gain exposure and insight to nationwide, state, and local industry trends with access to over 70+ thought leadership and educational programs, including nationally recognized keynote speakers and distinguished leaders in the legal profession.
Networking in-person at conferences and other professional events is important for legal professionals because it can help them build relationships, increase their visibility, learn from others, identify opportunities, and stay up-to-date on industry trends. All of these opportunities can be found at MSBA’s Legal Summit in Ocean City, MD, June 7-9. Be sure to claim your spot today.
*This article was originally published in The Daily Record. Used with permission.
1: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (https://www.bls.gov/ooh/legal/home.htm)