Trainee blog: Networking in Bristol

The skill of being a well-rounded solicitor extends far beyond the documents and emails. For some key tips on how to get the most out of networking events, please visit Lucy's blog here.

Trainee solicitors should not shy away from chances to build their networking circle and experience. For those in Bristol and the surrounding areas, there are a host of opportunities that juniors can get involved with at the outset of their career.

Social committee and business development

  • Joining or assisting the social committee of your firm is a certain way to work with those colleagues who are actively pursuing and organising social events. In a similar vein, a firm's marketing and business development department will be actively seeking and promoting networking opportunities appropriate for all levels of qualification.
  • Communicating with both teams will point you in the right direction of useful internal and external events on offer. One event that I discovered and attended through these channels was the Michelmores Property Development Club, which is a key network of professionals and advisers across the South West property development industry.
  • For a further insight into the social events that Michelmores run, please visit Sophie's blog here.

Junior events

  • Throughout Bristol there are a host of committees aimed at bringing like-minded juniors together. The committees can be sector-specific (such as the Junior Lawyers Division) or non-sector specific (such as Bristol Young Professionals).
  • The committees organise a variety of events and talks which are designed to engage juniors and promote networking amongst its members. These events are important for juniors to develop and grow their networks beyond the workplace in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere.
  • When deciding which events and talks to attend, it is important not to neglect online events. It is great that in-person events are now re-starting, but it does not mean that the remote world of networking will instantly cease. Embrace the technology that is available and use it to your advantage to also meet with people beyond your locality.

Sector events

  • Sector specific events attract a variety of people working in your business sector in many different roles. These events can open your network beyond the legal profession.
  • First Thursday Club, for example, is a monthly networking event that brings together those in the construction industry in Bristol. Other sector specific events may include awards ceremonies and dinners that your business development department will have an awareness of.

Conferences

  • Conferences are a great way to listen to and meet experts in your industry. But equally as important, they provide ample opportunity for you to speak to those in attendance.
  • Recently I attended the Bristol Planning Law and Policy Conference 2022, this provided me with great networking opportunities with those operating in both the same industry and profession. Online platforms have also been essential in enabling access to market-leading webinars and talks from the comfort of your desk, many of which have an integrated networking function.

Sports events

  • Sporting events provide a fun and often competitive way to connect with just about everyone in the corporate world. The Michelmores social committee has been instrumental in providing numerous sporting opportunities in the Bristol area and beyond.
  • Recently, Michelmores has participated in events including the Bristol Business Fives charity 5-aside tournament as well as the corporate football and netball leagues in Bristol. These events are always well-spirited and provide a form of networking away from the drinks or conference style events typically associated with networking.