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4 Approaches Every Solicitor Should Adopt

13 Jun 2019

Sorcha Corcoran

Sorcha Corcoran, Consultant with Brightwater’s Legal division, outlines 4 approaches every Solicitor should adopt in order to accelerate their career!

As a long-term sponsor of the Society of Young Solicitors, Brightwater’s legal division attend a number of events over the year. Last week was no exception when we spent Saturday 8th June in Railway Union Sports Club cheering on teams from 8 different law firms at the annual SYS Tag Rugby Tournament.

It was a great event where the team from Matheson were determined to hold onto their title. One thing that struck me was that many of them knew each other and were chatting easily during the breaks about future events, planned holidays and (even on a Saturday) current workloads. Granted, many of them would have studied together and known each other through college but it did occur to me that the legal sector is one that actively encourages networking and getting involved in committees.  So as a solicitor, why network? And why get involved in your professional organisation?

The legal community in Ireland is a tight-knit one so getting to know your peers is important. You never know when you’ll be coming up against them in court, when you could work with them in the future or if you’ll need to call on them for professional advice. Networking is one of the most valuable skills that a solicitor could have so start honing this talent early.

1. Get your name known:  Attend events, publish articles in professional magazines or get involved in your professional association. All of these add up to getting your name out there and people being able to put a face to your name.

2. First to find out about job opportunities: Not all opportunities are openly advertised. If you’re known within your particular niche area, then chances are high that you’ll be contacted directly before a job even goes to market.

3. Develop your own personal networking database: Attend events not only just in your professional association but others that are relevant to your area of expertise, eg training courses, business networking events, local community events or charity events that are supported by firms / people that you professionally admire. Put yourself in your clients’ shoes – if they’re attending events in your speciality eg banking or IP, perhaps you need to attend as well and leverage your own knowledge of the sector. All of these activities build long-lasting relationships that will stand you in good stead in the future.

You never know when you’ll need to call on someone for their professional expertise or have an informal chat with a peer about some area of law outside your own remit. Use every opportunity going to develop a database of peers and mentors.

4. Get involved in your professional association: Don’t just show up, get actively involved! It will help build long-lasting relationships. The Society of Young Solicitors is a very active society that is constantly looking for new people to join their committee each year as well as help organise charity events, contribute to thought leadership pieces and generally promote the Society.

Getting involved at this level is a career step in itself. If you look at previous chairs of the SYS, notable names like Ken Murphy (Director General of the Law Society), James McCourt (Circuit Court Judge) and the late Katherine Delahunt O’Byrnes (1st female solicitor to be appointed a judge of the Circuit Court in 2001 and vice chair of the Employment Appeals Tribunal) all jump out. There are also numerous Partners in many law firms now who were formerly chairpersons of the SYS, Nora Lillis, Julian Yarr, Fidelma McManus, Simon Hannigan and Elizabeth Bradley but to name a few. Current chair Alex Kennedy is following in a long line of illustrious footsteps.

Make no mistake about it, networking is a valuable skill and an amazing tool for your future career development. So the next time a colleague in work asks you if you want to play in a tag rugby tournament or attend a networking event, why not say yes? Not only is it a fun day that may or may not end up with a trophy, you’re also developing key relationships that could benefit you in the long-term.

Sorcha Corcoran is a Consultant with Brightwater’s Legal division and can be contacted via LinkedIn,  on 016621000 or at [email protected]