Like most attorney business development coaches, I’m a big fan of one-on-one networking. It’s in this setting that you’ll have the best opportunity to develop a genuine relationship—one that will hopefully lead to new business.

But one of the biggest challenges for lawyers is how to meet new people to add to your potential referral network. The best way to do it? Be a joiner.

Success Comes From Community

Did you ever notice that when you look at the bios of successful lawyers, they all seem to belong to a variety of community and/or Bar organizations? I can assure you these lawyers’ success has been far more dependent on the people they have met over the years through these organizations than on their superior legal skills.

How Many Groups to Join

I usually recommend that lawyers join two groups; one within the community and another within the Bar. Why only two? First, you don’t want to spread yourself too thin. Second, you want to be able to take advantage of all the group’s opportunities to meet its other members.

How to Identify Which Groups to Join

The best place to start when deciding the precise groups to join is to ask your colleagues. Most will have an opinion on their experience in particular groups.

After that, I suggest you spend some time on the internet. As noted above, successful lawyers are joiners. Think of the successful lawyers in your community or practice area and see where they belong. Then consider joining those same groups.

Criteria to Use for Narrowing Your Options

After you have a solid list of groups to join, consider the following for each:

  • What is the purpose of the group?
  • Are the other members the type of people you want to meet?
  • How often does the group meet?
  • What type of social activities does the group offer (e.g., monthly lunches are better than one annual fundraiser)?

Once you have answers in hand, you’ll quickly be able to find a couple of groups you can feel comfortable joining.

Yes, You Must Be Active

If you aren’t considering being active in these groups, save your time and money and don’t join. The point is to meet people, not to add another group to your web bio. And, most importantly, remember to invite your new acquaintances to coffee or lunch.