Leave the office, but do it right: Why not all networking events are created equal

Canadian Lawyer is launching a set of in-person events for lawyers this year, writes Editor-in-Chief Tim Wilbur

When was the last time you travelled to meet a client or a colleague outside your office? With the growth of virtual communication, this is becoming less common every day. 

With that evolution, however, something is being lost. It is not just human connection — it is efficiency and effectiveness. Endless emails and digital misunderstandings can often be quickly solved with a genuine in-person conversation. 

With that in mind, Canadian Lawyer is launching a set of in-person events for lawyers in the coming year.  

Our first event will be the Women in Law Summit, held in Toronto in February. One of the keynote speakers, Rebecca Bromwich, is the manager of diversity and inclusion at Gowling WLG. We spoke to Bromwich about her challenges in the legal profession, and she will be sharing her insights at the summit about how to tackle the wage gap. 

While in-person networking is a key part of a successful practice, not all networking events are created equal. In fact, a recent article in the Harvard Business Review by David Burkus concluded that “most networking events are doomed from the start, by their very design.” Studies have shown that casual chit chat and cocktails don’t work — introverts and extroverts alike tend to just interact with people they already know or with whom they have a lot in common. 

What does tend to work are events that involve “relatively high-stakes activities that connect you with diverse others,” Burkus writes, whether it be pro bono work or joining a local sports team. 

Our Women in Law summit, as well as other events we have planned for 2020, including LegalTech and Young Lawyers summits in the spring and events for inhouse counsel in the fall, are meant to bring lawyers together for a purpose, tackling high-stakes issues such as gender equality and how young lawyers can succeed.  

So, if you are ready to tackle the big issues and meet people who are different than you, be sure to get out of the office this year. It may be the most important thing you can do to succeed. 

Find out more about our upcoming events at canadianlawyermag.com/events.  

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