Feb 22, 2024

Written By Georgia Purcell

Building a Network in Human Rights Law: Key Contacts and Strategies

Feb 22, 2024

Written By Georgia Purcell

We’ve all had the importance of networking stressed to us time and time again – but what actually are the benefits? Networking is more than the act of exchanging business cards or establishing superficial connections. It is a fundamental element of career development and professional growth, particularly in the field of human rights law.

Identifying key contacts in human rights law

Your first point of call is legal professionals and practitioners. These are the ones you’ll meet at networking events, seminars, and workshops, and developing relationships with them will offer you opportunities for direct engagement with professionals in the field. 

Beyond this, you can move into forging connections with human rights organisations and NGOs, both in the UK and internationally. They’ll be able to share insights on what it’s like working in the field, and will direct you to internships or volunteering positions. Once you apply to roles, they’ll remember your interest in their work, helping you stand out from other applicants.  

Finally, don’t underestimate the impact of your teaching staff! Building relationships with lecturers, researchers, and other students is a great way of expanding your network of people who are also interested in human rights law. This may even open up doors for you to participate in academic conferences, seminars, and research projects. 

Strategies for effective networking in human rights law

When preparing for legal events and conferences, research the speakers, set networking goals, and practise effective communication techniques. It is also important to follow up with contacts after events to maintain relationships and continue the conversation – do it as soon as possible so you’re fresh in their mind. 

One of your best tools to follow up with is LinkedIn – you can optimise your LinkedIn profile to attract attention from professionals in the human rights field. Participate in LinkedIn groups or other online forums dedicated to human rights law to share insights, ask questions, and connect with like-minded professionals. You’ll have a strong network before you know it!

Conducting informational interviews with professionals in human rights law can expand your network and provide valuable insights. Approach these interviews as learning opportunities rather than job-seeking endeavours. Not only will you have learnt a lot, but the person you’re interviewing will no doubt be impressed by your proactive attitude. Win-win!

Joining professional associations or networks focused on human rights law provides access to resources, networking events, and mentorship opportunities. There are many prominent associations that you can join and participate in, such as the Human Rights Lawyers Association (HRLA) or the Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales.

Building and nurturing relationships 

Networking is a two-way street, so be sure to share your expertise too. Don’t be afraid to offer your network and resources with people you’ve met and offer your support on their research or work. Give them the same respect they’re giving you by asking thoughtful questions and being genuinely interested in their work. 

Overcoming networking challenges

All of this might be pretty scary if you’re naturally quite an introverted person! It’s best to take networking with a pinch of salt: set small, achievable goals (speak to two people), and seek out smaller and more intimate networking opportunities. 

It’s important to remember that the people we’re meeting are human just like us – they probably feel like it was only moments ago that they were in your shoes feeling intimidated by the big personalities in the room. Be gentle with yourself and remember there are lots of different ways to network. Although a lot is done in person, there are websites, video conferences, and social media platforms to take advantage of.



The importance of intentional and strategic networking in the field of human rights law cannot be overstated. With a robust network, you’ll find doors opening for you that weren’t before, and you’ll find yourself staying on top of field development simply by chatting with friends. You’ll also be able to find people who are open to providing support, mentorship, and guidance as you navigate your career in human rights law. 

Apply these tips and techniques to build meaningful connections, advance your career, and make a positive impact in the human rights community. Leverage your network to achieve your professional goals and contribute to human rights advocacy. Before you know it, you’ll be the boss of networking!


Becoming a Lawyer