(Written by Desiree Nordstrom, a WIL Committee member.)
There will come a time when a stay-at-home mother/attorney will realize that all that time dedicated to her children is opening up. Many will want to return to the practice of law. Yet, it can seem daunting having been out of the legal “loop” for so long. That is why it is important for a stay-at-home mother to continue to network during her at-home years. It is hard to make that a priority when your children come first. But, here are a few suggestions that may help prioritize networking.
Communication With Established Contacts. Stay in touch with the co-workers, clients and colleagues in the legal field before putting your career on hold. Doing this will require little effort. A phone call, a text message, or an email will go a long way. This is simple because it does not require attending a luncheon or event outside of your home!
Extend Your Network. Do not rule out building a relationship with someone outside of your preferred practice area. You never know when a connection will come in handy.
Lunch, Maybe With Kids. Make an effort to set up lunch meetings. After all, being face-to-face with a colleague will help build a valuable relationship. You can trade babysitting with another mommy you know. Even better, if the colleague is child friendly, take your kid(s) with you! I recently attended a networking lunch with four female attorneys and three children. It was great to relate on all levels, i.e. legal, family, and spiritual.
An Evening Out. Talk to your spouse about attending evening events. You will be more likely to attend those events if they are on your calendar. Also, it will help your husband plan to be home with the kids if it is a calendar to which he is connected. My husband gets notification of events on my Google calendar. It helps us juggle life. I have found that going to evening events is not only beneficial for my sanity, but it also ensures that I accumulate the continuing education required by the State Bar.
Internet Networking. There are many social networking sites that can be used to network including LinkedIn, Facebook and Avvo. Keep your profiles updated, contact colleagues and contribute. Contributions can be made by writing articles and tutorials in your area of expertise. Five minutes a day, or less, can fulfill this from home.
Networking can be hard for every attorney, let alone the stay-at-home mommy. Networking should not be about finding work or business alone. Focus should be put on getting to know those you are networking with and creating a relationship. Building those relationships will go a long way when you are ready to jump backing in to the legal field when the children are grown.