Networking your way to a dream job in law! Interview with David Artingstall

David Artingstall

How did I start my career as a legal recruiter?
I was senior partner at a substantial firm of Solicitors in Greater Manchester. The firm had grown to around 100 staff and I had worked my way up from joining the firm as an assistant solicitor to senior partner. I had been at the firm for over 25 years. There were only 2 equity partners including myself and I received an offer to buy my shares from a couple of ambitious salaried partners. Having worked in the law for such a length of time, and believing the offer to be a fair one, I sold my shares and decided to work outside the law but still keep my connections within it.. Hence the move in to legal recruitment.
I work essentially on my own with a handful of lawyers at any time helping them find new career opportunities. Often the solicitors I work with are at associate / junior partner level and have hit a glass ceiling at their current firms. I will make enquiries on their behalf, maintaining their anonymity, and generate interest in them with suitable firms.

Networking is essential to my business. That said it is important to network wisely. Good networking events for me are those where there are plenty of lawyers, and people who work with lawyers, present. Many of the lawyers I have helped up the legal ladder, I have met at networking events.

Is it hard to find a good job in the law?
Yes it is. It’s very hard to get in at the ground floor. Training contracts are very hard to come by. Once you are in the profession try and choose a pathway that will see you working in an area of the law where you will have a busy future. Things change. Some areas of the legal market are very susceptible to the health of the wider economy. When the economy is prospering lawyers in property and in corporate / commercial are much in demand. When the economy slows they are often the first to go! Some areas are influenced by Government policy. Cuts to legal aid have affected areas such as crime and family law. Personal injury faces challenges in light of Government reforms.
Whatever role you take its important to try and build your own contacts of referrers and clients. Firms will pay more for people who have their own business plan and connection. Back to the importance of networking!!

Networking Tips
Don’t talk too much about yourself. If you are meeting people possibly for the first time don’t launch off all about yourself and your business and try to sell yourself and your services. The hard sell approach puts people off. People don’t like pushy people and remember…People do business with people they Like!
Instead ask people about themselves, their businesses, the challenges they face, why they chose to go into that area of work etc. People often like to talk about themselves and if you find out about them you may spot opportunities where you think you might be able to help them in the future.
Don’t be afraid of networking. It doesn’t come easy to a lot of people but it makes it easier if you remember – everyone is there at a networking event for the same reason. To meet people whom they might be able to do business with
Always take some business cards along. Ask if people are on Linked In and suggest it might be good to Link in as a means of keeping in touch. Follow up after the meeting with a brief e mail saying it was good to meet and hopefully see them again in the future. That way they have your contact details to hand. Then keep in touch.

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Paul T Lajszczak – investor in people with passion

Hi Paul, it is a pleasure to interview one of the most successful investors and networkers in the UK. Can you share with us how it all began? 

Im in UK for over 12 years before I did several businesses in Poland. Since I was child I always did something and was very active. I was playing violin, selling goods on market in Poland during, selling insurance, running recruitment business and many other things.  I just love changes, new projects and challenges which are very often crazy that people around me do not believe whether it was a joke or real plan for future.  I love meeting people and do business with them. I cannot work as employee as I am very independent and always see new opportunities or trying to improve existing projects. 

You are also an unique networker who as a resident of Dubai is connecting with businesses in the Middle East. How different is to network in Dubai in comparison to UK or Poland? 

Yes, I have been dealing with entrepreneurs from Middle East market for more than two years now. I also have been doing business in UK, Poland and many other countries. Actually, the question is very good as I am currently in Dubai on yet another business trip. There are so many differences between Europe and this region’s way of doing business, in particular you have to take into account:  1. Culture and Religion  2. Way of life 3. Trust   UK 1,2,3 is mixed everybody do things as they like and  in my opinion, there are not really set of business rules.   In Poland, you need to understand point 1 before you get into 2 and earn trust. Middle East is similar but you need to first start from point 3 and earn trust, then you have an opportunity to understand real culture, religion and after way of life  

That is very interesting. Can you share with us any tips that has been a key to your success? 

There are many things which makes us successful and happy, however each person needs find his/her own way. I am 36 now I follow 36 guidelines which I learned over the years.   1. Everyone has some uniqueness & value 2. Kids teach you as much as you teach them 3. Every solution is hidden in plain sight 4. Mistakes are gifts 5. Critics just want to be loved & understood 6. The more you learn, the more there is to learn 7. You don’t need money to be happy, but it helps 8. Charity is caring about others 9. Leadership is nurturing other leaders 10. One act of kindness can change someone’s life 11. Don’t be bullied, but don’t hold grudges 12. Podcasts are the future 13. Never overthink if you do something that you believe in 14. Extreme/one sided opinions are dangerous 15. You get more haters the more fans you get 16. You know what to do, you just have to do it 17. If you don’t take things personally life is better 18. If you do the right thing it will pay no matter how long it seems to take 19. Someone is good at things that you’re not & will help you if you ask 20. If you understand money you understand people 21. Your best ideas are in alternative niches 22. Patience is advice none of us take but all of us need 23. Property keeps going up, even when it goes down 24. Anything can be an asset if set up wisely 25. Deep conversations with great people are a great fuel for fulfillment 26. No one wants to hear you whine 27. Relationships are never done & always need working on 28. Growth & contribution lead to happiness, not happiness itself 29. It can get better, or worse, in a nano-second 30. Before you try to change someone, look at yourself first 31. If you keep changing, you make little progress 32 The amount of sleep we all need is different so test your own 33 Technology is making life easier but making us more demanding/petulant 34 Everyone has a purpose & life transforms when you find yours 35 If you hate what you do, you change it 36 Money isn’t good or bad, it’s a reflection of you  Being alive is a great gift & you can get grey hair in your beard like me the day you wake on your 36th birthday.

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Is it more difficult to network with British?

Hi Simon, it is a pleasure to chat with one of the most successful entrepreneurs and networkers in the UK. Can you tell us when it all started?

Hello. My name is Simon. I came to UK more than 10 years ago. Like many Poles I was working in many different companies in Midlands – warehouses, building sites but from day one since I came to the UK I was sure that want to be a business owner. At the moment, I am proud to own several firms, including accountancy companies, recruitment agencies, consulting businesses and few others. I am an entrepreneur.

Can you tell us about Midlands Polish Business Midlands?

4 years ago I decided to start Midlands Polish Business Club with two of my friends. Our aim was to promote and support Polish business community in the UK. We also planned to consolidate Polish Businessmen as we know power is to work together rather than fight each other. We meet once a month after 6pm so all entrepreneurs can attend straight from work. At each event we do 60 seconds presentations of all attendees; therefore we get to know more about our businesses. With our meetings we have an opportunity to teach Polish entrepreneurs how to integrate and how to use properly networking in the UK.

Like me you are also a member of Business Network International [BNI] and you are successfully connecting with British entrepreneurs. Is it more difficult to network with British?

Networking fascinates me and I have discovered over the years how important is to be active in business networks. I attend BNI, local Chamber of Commerce and few other local networking groups. Networking is not about selling but about building relationships with people. These social connections are vital to your success. It is not easy to become recognizable person within British business community. It took some time to learn how to present myself, how to behave, how to communicate in other language. We must remember that British business community is very keen to work with migrants and there is nothing to be afraid. You have to build trust and then you will be able to do business.

Can you share with us any networking tip that has been a key to your success?

When you go networking for the very first time you must remember to prepare yourself.
You have to know answers to the following questions:
– Why you are going there?
-Who you are looking for?
-What type of business are you looking for?
-What do expect from the meeting?
You must be 100% sure why you are going there otherwise it might be a waste of your time. You also need practice your presentation skills or so called 60 seconds which you can use to clearly say who you are, what you do and how you can solve your client’s problems. Try to be a good listener and ask lots of questions instead of talking about yourself only. Do not forget to bring business card with you. Practice, practice and practice so next time you will become more familiar with networking etiquette. I wish you all good luck, Simon.


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A networking event is like a first date! Check out interview with Krystyna Czerwinska

Hi Krystyna, it is a pleasure to speak with one of outstanding Poles in the UK. Congratulations! Can you tell us more about yourself?

Thank you very much, Wojciech, the Outstanding Pole title it is an honor and the award given to me for the past six years of my hard work. It was worth it!

I am an entrepreneur, owner and director of Czerwinska Group of Companies operating in the area of Yorkshire. I am the founder of Yorkshire Polish Business Club – a networking club for entrepreneurs and professionals in the United Kingdom. I also sponsor many events for Polish community abroad and I am a committed humanitarian activist. Currently, I am studying law and I am an enthusiast of business and positive thinking. My motto is “The sky is the limit” provided that one works hard and has unshakeable self-confidence.

Can you tell us about Czerwinska Group?

One day, a bit over six years ago, I decided to utilize all my language and leadership capabilities. I dedicated my work to Polish and other communities from the Eastern Europe living in the UK. My colleagues and employees named the business: “Czerwinska Group of Companies”. Apart from administrative, accounting and translation services, we also liaise with law firms and insurance brokers to help with various issues like debt management, assisting individuals and companies in their first steps in the United Kingdom.

You are also very experienced networker who is connecting with both Polish and British. Can you share with us how Krystyna Czerwinska does networking?

I always learn something new during networking sessions. I observe people, I listen to people and I do not talk too much about myself. I do not like when people judge me by just knowing what I do in life. I like to create personal relationships with people I meet, and I always think of how I could work with them in business, and how I could help them. I am a true giver and I believe that giving what you have got the best and helping with no expectations, always comes back. It is always a good idea to show value.

Remember to pick the right event! Not every networking event will be suitable for you, so it is a good idea to do some much needed research beforehand. Find the events that are tailored to your industry, will help you attract prospects and that are aimed at your target market.

Can you advise on any networking technique that has been a key to your success?

I am always myself and I believe this is the most important. Always be yourself. Do never try to be somebody else, and never lie. During the networking sessions I have learned to ask (this always surprises people), what is their last project they worked on instead of ‘’what do you do’’? This piece of information tells me more than a title or a job description of a person. Far too many people make the mistake of trying to pitch and just sell to everyone they talk to. This is a huge mistake, it will push people away and leave you marginalized wondering why nobody wants to talk to you. I also do not like to waste my time- as the time is essential when you network- I try do not speak to the person I already know. For beginners it can be a little bit awkward saying hello to a stranger but what you need to remember is that many people in the room are in the same position – and all people there are to build relationships.

Remember that the networking should not finish when the session finishes. The most important part is after the networking session, where you phone the person you want to do the business with, you invite that person for a coffee and lunch. A networking event is like a first date, if you do not follow up with people you have just met then they may think you were not really interested.

Thank you Krystyna, wish you more success and happiness in your life & keep networking :]


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Interview with Michael Frackowiak

Hi Michael, thank you so much for finding time to speak with me today. Can you tell us more about yourself?

Hi Wojciech. Thanks for having me. My name is Michael and I am Making Men Look Smarter. How? By telling them what to wear and what not to wear, when, how and why! I am a strong believer that there is certain amount of time that we have got when we meet new people and if we send the wrong signal, make bad first impression, that relationship is in jeopardy. I am not saying however that it is impossible to recover from bad first impression, but why would not want to give ourselves the best chance to succeed?
That was a very long answer for seemingly easy and straightforward question, but i believe in this. Men are notoriously difficult to convince that they should break their own habits of what to wear and how to wear things, as no one teaches that. We, men, are the creatures of habits. At school we have classes about Biology, History and Statistics, but nothing about making good first impression, and how to dress well.

You have become an absolute expert in helping Men to dress smartly and confidently. Where this passion came from?
The idea behind the pocket square business, which is a very niche and narrow market, came from seeing a lot of people not looking at their best when wearing a suit.
Too frequently there is something missing. Often people are spending lots of money on expensive suits. They will go out there and get the Ted Baker or Hugo Boss suit for £500.
Then they put it together, go for a night out and are surprised that no one notices their fine suit. I can guaranteed, that if they would spend extra £30 on a pocket square, match it with socks and watch…boom…they get a lot of compliments for both a suit and the entire look.
So the idea was simple – to help guys look their best! Plus, I get to try all the fancy colours and designs first, so it is also lots of fun for me!
I have actually created a blog post that talks about pocket squares specially for lawyers and solicitors:
I can also revel that very soon, probably at the start of the 2017 we will also be making suits, which will very much complete the look. Handmade, Italian, extremely nice suits! You are one of the first people to know about this!

You are also a fantastic networker who is very comfortable with connecting with both British and Polish entrepreneurs. Is networking great part of your business?
Networking has got some bad connotations. People say ‘networking’ and feel ‘ughhh’. I think the reason for that is that we – you – networkers in general messed it up for everyone. General population hears ‘networking’ and think of a bunch of people, in a dingy, tiny room, exchanging business cards, trying to sell each other some bullshit products insurance. But in majority of cases it is not like that at all.
You talk, You listen, You see how you can help the other person.
As simple as that.
Networking is great as you only ever going to buy and sell from people.
The truth is that, you go to a shop and you like the jacket, you are about to buy it, but the store-assistant is giving you some bullshit sales-pitch, he is nagging you to buy this jacket and also shoes. What do you do?
You leave.
You don’t make purchase.
As people buy and sell from people. Networking is just a fancy name of saying how different people can help each other making their business or their network of contacts better.

Can you share with us any networking tip that has been a key to your success?

One tip – always be nice to people and listen more. Don’t talk – just listen
What i mean by this is that you should always listen first. You will be surprised how does that change how people perceive you.
There is a book called Charisma Myth by Olivia Fox-Cabane. In that book there is a very interesting story which i would like to paste here as it profoundly changed the way i look at networking in general:
“IN THE TORRID London summer of 1886, William Gladstone was up against Benjamin Disraeli for the post of prime minister of the United Kingdom. This was the Victorian era, so whoever won was going to rule half the world. In the very last week before the election, both men happened to take the same young woman out to dinner. Naturally, the press asked her what impressions the rivals had made. She said, “After dining with Mr. Gladstone, I thought he was the cleverest person in England. But after dining with Mr. Disraeli, I thought I was the cleverest person in England.” Guess who won the election? It was the man who made others feel intelligent, impressive, and fascinating: Benjamin Disraeli.”
That sums it up pretty well!


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