It should. You sure don’t want to be perceived as one who has a “what can you do for ME” approach to networking. For business development purposes, that is not a reputation any lawyer wants to be tagged with.

Trey Ryder’s current “Law Marketing Alert” (free sign-up here) has a feature article by Signe Dayhoff who tells us (part of which I agree with) that when you join any organization you should go the extra mile, and as a result build goodwill that will produce results down the road. Dayhoff goes on to say that volunteering your time should be:

“…without any ulterior motive (huh?). This means you are helping because you want to share, not because you desire a quid pro quo for it (hmmm). This whole-hearted altruism engenders a sense of trust and gratitude in those with whom you network (true, but…). This makes networking a solid basis for your referral-based network.”

I don’t disagree exactly, but back to the real world. I too believe you have to be genuinely interested in helping others, and not acting totally out of self-interest.  But that doesn’t mean that you can’t have “any” self interest, or not have some hope of a business development return sooner rather than later.

Maybe it’s semantics or a question of timing.

In any event, it does make complete sense to build trust and goodwill before expecting a return on your invested time in a networking organization.