This well-known adage has a very profound meaning for legal job seekers, one that too many attorney job candidates ignore or discount at their peril.
For deeply ingrained psychological reasons that I can neither fathom nor articulate, a disproportionate number of lawyers are uncomfortable with face-to-face contact. Consequently, when the technology revolution came along and made it possible for them to communicate via email or social media websites like Facebook and Twitter, they took advantage of electronic communication options like no other profession.
This is especially the case with legal job seekers, a group that as a whole seems to relish impersonal contact and communications over the exertion and sweaty palms that might accompany face-to-face contact. Unfortunately, this overreliance on online interaction at the expense of on-site contact disadvantages them in the intensely competitive world of legal job competition.
Avoiding mano-a-mano interaction at all costs is a bad idea, especially when it comes to identifying and nurturing your networking contacts. Set aside for the moment that studies consistently reveal that 50 percent of communication is non-verbal, i.e., visual cues. Visual cues do not resonate via the Internet.
You need to imprint yourself on your contacts if you want them to assess the cut of your jib and go the first step for you (not to mention the extra mile). You cannot do that electronically. The only way to accomplish that is to sit across the table from them and talk to them face-to-face.
Email and social media websites have their place in a legal job search, just not when you are trying to make an impression and motivate someone to do something positive for you.