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Did you know there is more to practicelaw than just forms?  practicelaw is designed to be a repository of resources intended to help your practice.  Similarly, the MSBA’s practiceblawg is a blog for the Association to share with you how the MSBA can help you improve your efficiency and grow your practice.  The MSBA offers members a number of products and services and is always looking for ways to better serve its members and provide greater value.

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by Joe Kaczrowski | Jul 06, 2015

On this day in 1957, during a heat wave and in between a dog show and a brass band, a chance meeting between two teenagers would change the face of rock and roll. Lawyers are often told of the importance of networking, both within the profession and amongst potential clients, but is all networking the same? Is it enough to shake hands, take business cards and connect on LinkedIn?

With John and Paul it wasn't simply a "Hi, my name is..." sort of introduction. In fact, were that the extent of the exchange, the pair may never have joined forces. During the meeting, both saw something in the other, a skill or talent, and a shared passion.

While it is important to get your name (and face) out there, there is more to successful networking. As demonstrated half a century ago, a successful connection is often premised on a demonstration of talent or personality. To establish your brand and make a lasting and meaningful impression look for ways to demonstrate your expertise and what makes you you.

Last year MSBA Sections held over 250 CLE programs. Getting involved with a section in your practice area, and speaking at a CLE is a great way to highlight your knowledge and ability. The MSBA's On-Demand program and the various district bars also are often looking for speakers and topics.

The MSBA's flagship publication, Bench & Bar, also relies on members for much of its content. Getting published is another great opportunity to demonstrate your expertise and establish your brand.

Similarly, the MSBA recently launched a new blog, the Small Firm Soapbox, which covers a number of topics relating to the practice of law and challenges faced by those in the profession. Being a guest blogger is another great way to share your story and highlight your uniqueness and passion.

The new MSBA directories, MN Find a Lawyer and the Colleague Directory, both offer members a way to include additional details about themselves and their practices beyond the standard name, rank, and serial number found in a yellow pages type listing.

Whether at a MSBA event or elsewhere, be clear on your objectives. The goal should be more than just getting another business card or LinkedIn Connection. Will that person remember you? Did you show something about yourself that will make them want to follow up with you (or mention your name to family and friends)? And as with Paul, remember it's a two-way street; once you see something in someone else you then have to convince them you are similarly a person of substance. When doing the meet-and-greet thing, look not only for people that can help you but also for ways you can provide value to or help those you meet. Your elevator speech may not include a Little Richard medley, but consider all we likely would have missed if those many years ago that 15-year-old had simply said "Hi, my name is Paul."