Hopefully you are convinced that you need to be out there networking! If you still are not comfortable trying it, don’t worry – you won’t be until you do try it. But, come by the Career Services Department and check out some of these great resources for more information on networking:
Category Archives: Networking
The biggest obstacle most people face in networking is getting the other person to start talking! Once you get the conversation started, it usually flows from there. The great part about being a student is that once you meet a practicing attorney and they find out you are a student who is interested in anything about them – their practice area, their geographic area, their career path, whatever! – they are usually willing to do all the talking from there! This is great for you because you can (1) meet a new contact, and (2) hopefully learn something that will be valuable in determining your career path.
So it is helpful to always have some “fall-back” questions ready that you can ask whenever you want to get the conversation started. (Don’t forget, an impromptu networking opportunity may be waiting for you in line at Starbucks!). After you have found out what the person does and where he or she works, here are some suggestions to get the conversation rolling:
- What is your typical work day like?
- How much variety is there in your work?
- What experience did you have to get your job?
- What professional organizations do you belong to?
- What do you see as the major issues / trends in the field today?
- What do you wish you had known about your position / this field before you started?
- What do you like (or dislike) about your position / this field?
- What classes do you recommend I take during law school?
- What recommendations do you have for me regarding a job search strategy?
- Is there anyone else you recommend I talk to about this position / field / geographic location? May I tell them you referred me?
Now get out there and START MAKING CONNECTIONS!
When I encourage students to network by attending bar functions, they typically look for luncheons or receptions. Although those types of events are great to attend, there are countless other opportunities to network with law firms and attorneys at many other less traditional bar events.
For example, one of my 1L students took the initiative to attend a bowling event sponsored by a local bar association, and he walked out that night with an offer for an internship. And he didn’t have to present a resume or schedule an interview! Through casual conversation, the attorney was convinced the student would be a good fit for his office. So when you’re looking for networking opportunities, scour the calendar for off-beat events like tree plantings, home building drives, golf outings, or even a Karaoke night. Check with the local bar association for tips on what type of attire is appropriate and come eager to have fun. Because if you are having fun, that means you are talking with people, which is – networking!
Small law firms tend to hire based on their need for an extra pair of hands, and they most often hire someone with whom they have a connection. You can create that connection by networking at local Bar Association events. Most Bar Associations have events year round, including luncheons and socials. Bar associations also sponsor continuing education seminars, which are s-u-p-e-r-b opportunities to network with lawyers in your chosen area of law. For example, check out the events listed below sponsored by the Dade County Bar Association in the upcoming months. (Generally, you do not have to be a member of the Bar Association to attend the event.) Then, call or meet with a Career Services Counselor to plan your strategy for creating your connection at the event!
Dade County Bar Association – Prosecuting and Defending a Foreclosure Case in the Eleventh Judicial Circuit, June 27, 2011
Labor and Employment Law Committee – Recent Developments at the EEOC, Locally and Nationally, June 28, 2011
Real Property Committee – Condominium Associations in Financial Distress Seminar, June 29, 2011
Business Law Committee – Demystifying the Securities Law – A Practitioners Approach to Getting the Deal Done, June 29, 2011
Dade County Bar Association – Legal Line, July 6, 2011
Dade County Bar Association – Passing the Gavel Ceremony for Judge Linda Ann Wells, July 14, 2011
Dade County Bar Association – Investiture of Victoria Brennan, July 15, 2011
Construction Law Committee – Commercial General Liability Seminar, July 29, 2011