We are all familiar with the importance of ‘networking’ as a trainee/junior and to many of us, we immediately think of external events where we can meet new contacts and establish potential work leads.
However, an internal network can also create opportunities and be just as important throughout your legal career so do not overlook your firm.
What is an internal network?
An internal network is fundamentally the people within the firm you are working at. From partners to secretaries, as a trainee, it is vital you incorporate yourself into the firm’s culture and social scene, to allow yourself and other members of the firm, the opportunity to meet each other.
No matter which department you end up qualifying into, you will no doubt require services from other teams, receive work from other departments and work collaboratively on large transactions. For example, the Corporate team will work alongside banking, employment, commercial, pensions and real estate teams when working on an acquisition on behalf of a client. The better relationship you have developed with these teams, the easier it is to work alongside them.
This rapport then develops over time. If someone requires services from the department you are in, you may well be the first contact who springs to mind. This increases your chargeable work but also means if you require assistance from the same team in the future, you have a contact to discuss this with.
How does Gateley assist with building an internal network?
Gateley Young Professionals Network
This network is set up and run by junior solicitors in each office who organise events for young professionals to meet each other and bring along contacts that they have met at external events. Previous events have included well-being and yoga, bowling, Christmas wreath making, wine tasting and drinks.
The social committee is run by the first-year trainees in the office. Each year, the Manchester office organises 4 events; the Great Gateley Quiz Night, the Summer Barbecue, the Trainee Induction Night and one where the Trainees can be as imaginative as they wish. Members from each department attend the events and it is a good way for you to get your name around and to meet other members of the office.
Each year, the Gateley offices nominate and elect a charity to raise money for the upcoming year. It is the responsibility of the charity committee to co-ordinate events within the office to raise money. On the last Friday of every month, there is a dress down collection whereby Trainees visit each department to collect funds. This is a great chance to have you face recognised and start to build rapport within the teams.
There are many other opportunities to build your network and the best advice is to take each of these and make the most of your time as a Trainee so you can make a valid and informed decision of where to qualify. Having an internal and an external network will assist you in your career, no matter where you decide to qualify.