Q: When you’re talking with lawyers outside of the office, such as at a voluntary bar association event, what types of topics are appropriate to discuss…and what types of follow up help bolster a first impression?
A: You might ask what drew them to the event, or what they do, or–if they are more senior–what kinds of issues or trends they see as most central to the profession. Topics that would be inappropriate are those that would be inappropriate in any professional conversation.
Short emails make it easy to follow up–mention an idea you had in thinking about your initial conversation, send along an article on the topic you were discussing, or let them know you would like to take them for a quick coffee to continue the conversation, depending on their geographic proximity and the context (seeking a mentor? a new job?).
All in all, it’s great that you’re attending bar association events, being mindful about how to make an impression and maximize the expenditure of your time and effort, and focusing on how to follow up afterward to extend your reach and continue the connections.