As a hardworking and passionate lawyer, you already know that your occupation gets a bad rap from time to time. Lawyers are often characterized as money hungry villains who are only looking out for their own best interest, when in fact, a majority of lawyers put their heart and soul into helping people, whether they are paid or not. While you may feel as if you have nothing to prove, getting involved and making connections in your community can help remind people that lawyers are advocates for justice and doing good in the world. If you’re not already involved in your community, here are some ways to make some connections:
Consider Pro Bono Work
Some lawyers are happy to do pro bono work, others have no interest in doing it, and a few may do it to “look better”. In reality, pro bono work offers a perfect opportunity to make connections with diverse people in your community and encounter situations that you may never see outside of your office. While you won’t make money or as much as you would like (or maybe deserve) when doing pro bono work, you are helping people who aren’t being helped by anyone else and you may even restore their faith in the judicial system. Additionally, you may become inspired and motivated, as many lawyers struggle with whether or not he or she has made the right career path.
Make Contributions or Volunteer
Is there an organization in your community or a cause that you are passionate about? Maybe you want to help underprivileged kids or do something about the hunger crisis in your community. Monetary donations are always helpful, but you can also consider volunteering in your community. Whether you serve a meal at your local food bank or help coach a youth sport team, do something that you care about and will help you make connections in your community. Not only will you be getting exposure, but you can also make meaningful connections with potential clients (which may be far more effective than any advertisement).
Mentor or Teach
Remember all the wise advice you received when you were in law school or just starting out? It’s never too early (or late) to give back. Whether you’ve completed your first year at your own firm or have been practicing law for longer than you can remember, consider mentoring a law student or a fellow lawyer. Just because you’re “up against” other lawyers in court, who says you can’t offer one another helpful advice. Besides, it shows your peers that you aren’t “all about you”.
If you’re feeling confident, why not try your hand at teaching? You don’t need to teach a course at a law school or local university to share some valuable information. A great way to make connections in your community is by educating the public on a variety of legal topics (it’s kind of like pro bono work, in a way). If you want to broaden expand your audience, consider setting up a webinar or recording a series of topics to Youtube. Not only are you offering valuable information to the community, but you are letting others get the chance to see another side of you.