New Members Division E-News

June 2012 (Volume 4, Issue 4)

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The Art of Networking: Strategies for Creating Opportunities by Tracie L. Klinke W performance will not just be measured by the cases you are able to win, but by how many cases you bring in. Through my work with the New Members Division, I've been lucky to listen to some of the best networkers in the field to learn their tips and strategies: hether hanging your own shingle or working for a multi-national firm, your Legal Networking Beyond AILA AILA is a wonderful way to meet mentors and to find colleagues where you can commiserate about the latest RFE you received. Although we may refer cases between one another on occasion, it is an exception. You will be more likely to receive referrals from attorneys who practice outside immigration – for example, a criminal defense attorney may be able to get her client bond, but doesn't know what to do about an ICE hold. If your practice revolves around removal defense, you may want to join the criminal defense section of your state bar. Likewise, a family law interest group may be a natural fit if your focus is family-based immigration. One of my mentors told me he received a U Status referral from a Personal Injury attorney whose client had been severely injured in a DUI accident. Other interest groups may also serve to expand your networking circle – be it a women's group, LGBT group, or the Young Lawyers Division of your state bar. Making connections with other legal professionals greatly expands your referral network. Community Colleges, Universities Before going to law school, I was an international student advisor for an ESL program. One of the main reasons I went to law school was because my students kept having questions I couldn't answer—they recently married, received a traffic ticket, or wanted to know how to invite their parents to the United States. I referred those questions elsewhere. Now that I'm an attorney, I want to be the person that the international student advisor thinks of when he hears these same questions. Volunteering to speak to international students is a great way to get your name and face in front of prospective clients. Topics can range from OPT/CPT to J-1 waivers to H-1B workshops. Universities are focusing more and more on compliance and immigration law than in previous years, so this is a great time to reach out. Chambers of Commerce The usual suspects are country- or region-specific groups, such as the German-American Chamber, Indo- American Chamber, or the Hispanic Chamber. However, local chambers can also provide you with access to a variety of professionals who may not need immigration advice on a regular basis, but who will call you whenever the need does arise. Membership to chambers is oſten costly, but if you volunteer a presentation or service, you may be able to negotiate a free year. Your best referral system is your clients. Referral Networking These groups are designed with referrals in mind. Generally attended by local entrepreneurs, they encourage networking with professions well outside your regular circle. The advantage is that usually you are the only person in your field in any individual group. or to purely groups of professionals. Instead of focusing on a hard sell, members get to know one another and provide leads to other members of the group as they make themselves known. The groups also range in cost so shop around and many offer free trial meeting attendance to see if you like the make-up of the members and the group dynamic. Powercore and Meet -Up are two great places to start your search for a referral networking group. Personal Interests Immigration is a hot topic. No matter where I am, whenever I mention my line of work, people have an opinion and want to learn more. I always get season tickets to the symphony and have come to know the marketing team by their first names. They know what I do and whenever a question about immigration arises, they know they can reach me. The same can be said for book clubs, language classes, team sports, and religious organizations. Show people you're passionate about what you do, and they'll remember you. Members can range from cupcake bakers to medical tourism providers Your best referral system is your clients. Keep them happy and informed and they will not hesitate to share your name with their friends and families. Some of the most successful attorneys I know don't worry about networking and don't spend a dime on marketing. www.aila.org/nmd 3

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