When I was in law school, I was incredibly busy. I often took an overload of classes (why, you might be wondering—but that is another post entirely). I spent a lot of my time writing and tutoring and working on law review. It was great, but I didn’t spend a lot of time becoming part of my legal community outside of law school.
At the time, I didn’t think this was a huge deal. I was immersed in the law school experience. I had a job at a law firm lined up so I knew I had a place to go after graduation. Why did I need to go out there and network all the time?
Well, it still would have been a good idea (besides, I didn’t stay at the law firm my entire career). Also, I would argue that today it is even more important for students to get out and meet people in the legal community. Not only will they be your colleagues in the coming years but meeting practicing lawyers and other law students can be a valuable learning experience for you. For example:
(1) You may learn about an area of law that is of interest to you.
(2) You may learn about what an attorney actually does during the day in a job that interests you (trust me, most law students don’t know what lawyers do day-to-day).
(3) You may make a connection that you can call on in the future when it is time to job hunt.
These are just a few of the reasons you should get out there and network. I wish I had done more of it in law school, as I network all the time now (send me an e-mail and you are almost guaranteed a coffee date if you want one). Networking is part of being a smart businessperson and, guess what, even if you are on track to be an attorney, you still need to be a smart businessperson.
So go out there and check out what is going on in your community. Or travel somewhere else to meet folks in a new community. Building your network will definitely be a good thing for your career.
Here’s all of Job Hunting 101:
- Job Hunting 101: It’s Not All About You
- Job Hunting 101: Project a Consistent Image
- Job Hunting 101: Don’t Neglect Your Headshot
- Job Hunting 101: What Makes You Unique?
- Job Hunting 101: Google Yourself
- Job Hunting 101: Did You Know Your Law School May Pay for Conferences?
- Job Hunting 101: Get Out and Meet People
- Job Hunting 101: Be Careful Who Your Facebook Friends Are
- Job Hunting 101: Follow Up
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Hello I ran across your website while looking through the student lawyer magazine while visiting friends in Georgia. I have daughter who is 16 years old and she believes she wants to be a lawyer and lobbyist. She knows she wants to advocate for people and their rights, but is not sure about what area (healthcare, business, etc.). I am trying hard to get her connected with people and camps related to law because I want her to make sure this is what she wants to do. She has difficulty expressing her thoughts in writing and I also feel that a public speaking class would be great. However I don’t know where to start to get her this help. We live in Mississippi and I am not sure where to start. I would be interested in resources in Mississippi or any of the surrounding states. Please let me know your thoughts.
Thanks for writing! I wonder if there’s a local chapter of Toastmasters she could visit? They do great work training people for public speaking in a supportive environment. Or a debate club in her high school?
Or perhaps a local lawyer would let her spend some time hanging out in the office or going along to court? That would be a great way to get some exposure to the legal profession!
Thank you for writing! I love to hear about young people who are interested in the law. If your daughter wants to work on her writing skills, it may be worth it to have her take a summer school class in writing or even work with a tutor. Writing skills are so important in the legal profession.
In addition, if she is interested in politics or lobbying she may be able to volunteer with a campaign in order to meet people who are lobbying or in the political realm. I agree with Alison that Toastmasters is a great idea. Or I took a speech class at the local community college during high school. Your daughter may look into classes there as she gets closer to graduating high school (if they have a program where high school students can take classes at the community college).