There’s no doubt that as the world has changed over the past year, so has the way in which we conduct business.

That being said, the relationships on which we rely now for business leads, referrals and advice have also changed.

In some ways, it’s easier to build relationships with the help of virtual tools and virtual networking. There are no more excuses for not attending a conference or an event after work when you can do it right from your home. That being said, there is no substitute for in-person interactions – but we pivot because we have to.

Here are a few of the most important relationships I think lawyers of any level need in order to be successful today.

PS – Don’t be afraid to get to know some of these people if you are a junior lawyer. It’s never too early to start building your professional network to set yourself up for future success.

  • Current clients and all members of the client team, including procurement, the CFO, etc.
  • Former clients – it’s important to maintain relationships with past clients and to occasionally check in with them to stay on their radar.
  • Current colleagues – building strong relationships at your firm is incredibly important for your success, reputation and your ability to cross sell.
  • Leadership or executive team at current firm/place of employment
  • Strong social media contacts in order to build a robust professional network and personal brand
  • Former colleagues
  • Former classmates
  • Staff contacts at your prior firms (legal personnel, professional development, HR, office services and marketing – you never know when you might need a favor)
  • Leaders of bar associations, trade associations, community service and pro bono organizations
  • Legal and business journalists
  • Marketing consultants and/or in-house marketing team
  • Business coach
  • Headhunters and placement firms
  • Legal guide publishers and researchers
  • Heads of CLE organizations
  • Professors from law school and undergraduate school (especially if you are interested in being an adjunct professor someday)
  • Influencers – whether they are social media influencers, videographers, bloggers or podcasters – they can be very helpful contacts
  • Mentors – no matter how old or young you are, it’s always nice to have a sounding board and a trusted perspective

Remember to think of everyone in your network as a potential client, referral source or job lead/employee. You just never know. What professional relationships would you add to the list?