Whether you’re just starting out in law school or finally wrapping up, there’s never a better time to network than when you’re still in school. Networking should be a lifelong pursuit, really. The people you meet, the connections you make, and the impressions you instill in others can help you progress at just about any stage in your career. So why wouldn’t you want to start as early as possible?
Unfortunately, many law school students don’t know how to network. Besides setting up a LinkedIn profile and attending the occasional guest lecture, there seems to be little opportunity to get out and get social. But you don’t have to take a class to learn the tricks of the trade. In fact, just make a few small adjustments can make you a person of interest before you even think about graduating. Read on to pick up a few law school-friendly networking tips.
Get Out Of The Library
I know this might be difficult for some, but getting out of the library and into social interactions is the number one best way to network. You won’t meet the lead partner of the top firm in the country by burying your head in a bunch of textbooks. You probably won’t even meet someone who knows someone who knows that lead partner. I think you get what I’m saying; no honest networking ever happened in a library.
Networking is all about social interaction. It’s about showing people how put-together you are, how conversational, charismatic, and knowledgeable you are. It’s also about putting the right vibes out there, dressing for the part, and piquing someone’s interest. And if this sounds familiar, then yes, networking is just like dating. Think of each new connection as a complete stranger you’re trying to convince that you have something they need. Just like when you’re picking up a girl at a bar, you should be putting your best foot forward. Because no one calls the guy who is a complete jerk.
So let’s have a quick recap of the first step. You need to get out there and you need to make a great first impression while doing so. It’s easy enough, right?
Get Off The Internet
I’ve already hinted at this point but it’s so important it should be said again. LinkedIn might be the social media platform for business relations, but it’s not going to get you anywhere near the kinds of jobs and connections that live, in-person, face-to-face meetings will. Essentially, there’s not a whole lot that a future employer can tell from your LinkedIn profile. You might look good on paper, but what about your personality and your work ethics? Having a couple of connections that can speak for you can really come in handy in these situations.
Meeting people is not just about having to access to that one person; when you make a connection, you have access to their entire network. Explore what kind of companies your new connections are friendly with, who they know, and what kind of opportunities they can put you in front of. Knowing a few people that know many more can set even the most cut-and-dry LinkedIn profile page far apart from the rest.
Meet The Right People
Every college holds networking events, social functions, and forums that are designed to introduce students to industry leading professionals. By all means, you should be attending these events regularly. And don’t forget to come prepare with some simple business cards and/or a resume. But sometimes, these events don’t get the hiring manager for the law firm you’re hoping to intern with. So what’s a law student to do? Meet them!
If you’ve done your research and you know who can help you start your career off on the right foot, then you should know where you can meet the right person, or at least the connections that can make that happen. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your network and ask for an introduction. Find out what kinds of events your dream boss likes to attend and get yourself an invitation. This might be a little ruthless, but at the same time, you’re demonstrating your ambition and determination. Your resume is already looking good.
Law school isn’t just for studying textbooks, going to lectures, and staying up for countless all-nighters. It’s also for networking with professionals who will help you once you’ve put the textbooks and professors behind you. Your career doesn’t start with graduation, it starts the moment you stepped foot onto your college campus. So get your best shoes polished, your favorite tie ironed, and those business cards printed; with these tips, you’ll be schmoozing and networking your way to the top of the food chain before you even order your cap and gown.
Pete is a conpywriter working for Cecil & Geiser, whom are dedicated to protecting the state of Ohio. With decades of experience getting clients the results they need, they still treat every client as if they’re the only case in their office. If you’ve been injured in a car accident, contact them for a free consultation and have the best Columbus Injury Lawyer in your corner.