As a young lawyer I used to think networking meant going out hustling work. Rather than just enjoying myself at social events or rotary meetings and the like, I felt the pressure of trying to get new clients. It wasn’t enough for me to enjoy meeting good people and getting to know them as friends.

The funny thing is the more I would have relaxed and enjoyed myself, the more success I would have had in doing client development. The reason being that the best form of client development for lawyers is engaging others so as to learn more about them, their families, and what they do. In return, you’ll get the opportunity to do the same.

This interaction could be at a Rotary meeting, playing in a softball league, or standing on the sidelines at your kid’s soccer game. Just getting out there and enjoying yourself is the name of the game.

It’s the same in online networking. Being active by publishing a blog, using Twitter, and the like, you get the opportunity to meet more people. And if you’re using these social media tools strategically, you’re meeting people within your target audience of clients, prospective clients, referral sources, and their influencers (bloggers, reporters, association leaders etc).

Louisville employment and civil rights attorney, Dan Cannon, a regular blogger and Twitter user explains how simple the concept is in an interview at 22 Tweets with Lance Godard.

I’ve had a lot more opportunity to let people know what I do. So, of course, you’re more likely to get the right clients … I’ve tried to run a really transparent practice, letting tweeps know what kind of cases I’m working on, etc.

People like to do business with the people they like. We like to buy from people we consider our friends.

It’s even more true in the case of legal services, where people trust lawyers so little. When people meet a lawyer and get to know them as friend, that’s who they’re coming to in a time of need. They’ll even tell others who need a lawyer that they know a lawyer ‘who’s actually a pretty nice guy.’

So relax, have some fun blogging and using social media tools such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, and meet some new colleagues and friends. You’ll be surprised at the results.