How to network?

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t14underground
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How to network?

Postby t14underground » Sat Jun 05, 2010 5:50 pm

I go to a t10 in a state I have no desire to remain in. It's not even very close to where I want to work. I basically came here based on the school's "national" job placement with the insane belief that I would be able to return home to NYC/LA/Chi after graduation. I've heard a read a few threads on here where people have said that they are going to use networking as a fallback plan if OCI doesn't pan out for them. It also seems like the majority of TLS regular posters are attending or going to attend a t14, so I'm going to guess there's got to be some people here that aren't attending law school in the market they want to ultimately end up in. So my question is: what are you doing to try to network your way into a law firm in your home market? ... I read Mathies post on LSD, and actually asked him personally what he thought, and it sounds like there aren't a ton of great ways to network being so far away from the market I want to ultimately be in (i.e. it isn't exactly realistic to attend local bar events, etc). What makes matters worse is that I couldn't even get back home for this summer because I ended up having to stay out in this state to work for a shitlaw firm this summer (because I couldn't find anything else and knew I needed to do something this summer). Any suggestions or thoughts would be appreciated.

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thesealocust
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Re: How to network?

Postby thesealocust » Sat Jun 05, 2010 6:32 pm

edit: n/m
Last edited by thesealocust on Sun Jun 27, 2010 2:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Renzo
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Re: How to network?

Postby Renzo » Sat Jun 05, 2010 6:46 pm

If you're a rising 2L, you're late. 1L job search was the time to start. But, start by making contact with every firm you'd consider late July/early Aug, before recruiting season starts. If they think you're using them as fallbacks, you're not going to get anywhere, but if you write some convincing cover letters before you even start the OCI process, it'll look like you really want to work in that city.

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NayBoer
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Re: How to network?

Postby NayBoer » Sat Jun 05, 2010 6:49 pm

I'm assuming everybody going to Michigan can sympathize with OP.

Matthies' basic advice is to ignore USNWR and rank the schools on geography. Which works for the small percentage of law students who aren't anti-social weirdos that thought they had avoided the networking requirements of the business world by becoming lawyers. That said, his advice is clearly the best way to get a job aside from OCI (and the process itself is valuable even without OCI, so it's arguably the best way to get a job besides your dad handing you one).

From a distance, the easiest contacts are people you already know who may know (or themselves be!) lawyers. Maybe you can wrangle some sort of lunch meeting for the next time you're in town, to get advice (and to make a contact) if you play it right. If you know people in business, chances are some of them will have some connection to a law firm. I realize this may require a little more aggressiveness than you'd normally be comfortable with, and use your own judgment on the level of persistence you think is right.

t14underground
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Re: How to network?

Postby t14underground » Sat Jun 05, 2010 9:11 pm

thesealocust wrote:Hope OCI works out, network 2L summer. You've pigeon-holed yourself at this point. Networks are all about locality and connection. If you are close enough to people, they'll take your calls from across the world. If you're not close to people and just starting out, you'd better be able to offer to have coffee with them a block from their office.


Renzo wrote:If you're a rising 2L, you're late. 1L job search was the time to start. But, start by making contact with every firm you'd consider late July/early Aug, before recruiting season starts. If they think you're using them as fallbacks, you're not going to get anywhere, but if you write some convincing cover letters before you even start the OCI process, it'll look like you really want to work in that city.


I probably should have prefaced with a little background info. I'm rising 3L that transferred into my current school last year. I ended up with 6 worthwhile interviews out of OCI last year, and none of those turned into offers. (By worthwhile I mean firms I actually had a shot at -- I also got 5 of my bids towards the bottom of my list at v20 firms because almost no one bid on those thanks to the CSO's scare tactics about bidding cautiously.) I probably missed something important here, but here's more background info if you are interested: viewtopic.php?f=27&t=109486

NayBoer wrote:I'm assuming everybody going to Michigan can sympathize with OP.

Matthies' basic advice is to ignore USNWR and rank the schools on geography. Which works for the small percentage of law students who aren't anti-social weirdos that thought they had avoided the networking requirements of the business world by becoming lawyers. That said, his advice is clearly the best way to get a job aside from OCI (and the process itself is valuable even without OCI, so it's arguably the best way to get a job besides your dad handing you one).

From a distance, the easiest contacts are people you already know who may know (or themselves be!) lawyers. Maybe you can wrangle some sort of lunch meeting for the next time you're in town, to get advice (and to make a contact) if you play it right. If you know people in business, chances are some of them will have some connection to a law firm. I realize this may require a little more aggressiveness than you'd normally be comfortable with, and use your own judgment on the level of persistence you think is right.


What's difficult is getting back into town. I am working 5 days a week for most the summer (basically the only time I have off this summer is OCI week, and the week before school starts). I suppose I could get home some more weekends after school starts again though. On the other hand, I don't really know a lot of people that know lawyers. I guess my a few of my friends have used attorneys in the past for traffic tickets, DUIs, etc, but I'm not so sure how I would even go about trying to talk to them. I guess one other thing I should have mentioned is that I'm primarily interested in the ch.11 corporate reorganization or finance practice areas, which tend to be something only practiced at larger law firms (I know, I'm screwed at this point. But I have a relatively strong background in business, and I just can't see myself doing something like this personal injury shit I'm doing this summer). Thanks for the advice though, I do appreciate it.

Nightrunner wrote:Have you considered contacting alumni who work on those areas? If they got there from where you are, they probably know something, and there's a small chance someone might actually help make contacts.


I guess this is another background thing I probably should have mentioned. To answer your question, yes, I've sent a lot of emails to alumni last year. The problem was that they never reply. I usually just sent an email telling them that I am also a student at X school and am interested in practicing in the area that they are practicing, and then ask them if they could give me some suggestions or advice. However, I don't blame them for not responding. It seems like basically all the alumni from here that went to a law firm, went to a larger law firm. And I was a 2L, so it wasn't so clear how much they could even do at that point (i.e. it almost felt like I was asking them for help in getting a job, even though that's not what I said, and being that law firms only hire at the beginning of 2L year, it wasn't so clear how much they could do for me).

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lostjake
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Re: How to network?

Postby lostjake » Sat Jun 05, 2010 9:29 pm

I'm a 0L here. If you're going to be working in some shitlaw sweatshop over the summer, which it sounds like you are, maybe you should consider just getting on a plane and hustling in your desired location? At this point I don't see how working in a crappy law firm is going to help you out, unless you plan on opening up shop on your own. I'm from Michigan, and I don't see any jobs in the near future.

t14underground
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Re: How to network?

Postby t14underground » Sun Jun 06, 2010 10:44 am

lostjake wrote:If you're going to be working in some shitlaw sweatshop over the summer, which it sounds like you are, maybe you should consider just getting on a plane and hustling in your desired location? At this point I don't see how working in a crappy law firm is going to help you out, unless you plan on opening up shop on your own.


Interestingly, the CSO told me that I should take this shitlaw summer position over working for a judge this summer (even though there's no possibility of a full-time job offer at this firm at the end of the summer). I guess it makes sense in that it is work experience at a law firm, but it doesn't make a lot of sense because it's not the type of practice area I have any interest in, nor is it the type of compensation and hours I think would be worth practicing law for (i.e. the attorneys there are required to bill 170 hours a month, which is more than a lot of large law firms require, for under $37K /year -- so basically 70 hours a week for $37k /year, I can't beleive attorneys are willing to do this).

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nealric
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Re: How to network?

Postby nealric » Sun Jun 06, 2010 11:03 am

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mbw
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Re: How to network?

Postby mbw » Sun Jun 06, 2010 11:18 am

I'm going to hijack this thread just slightly, however on a not unrelated query: if your interests are subject-matter-based, not geographical, is there a set "right way" to network? I've started joining organizations and am preparing to submit papers to student writing competitions in this area, but I wonder if there are resources that lay out in detail how to go about networking in particular specialties (I suspect this would be relevant to those interested in public interest careers in general as well.)

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Core
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Re: How to network?

Postby Core » Sun Jun 06, 2010 2:28 pm

t14underground wrote:
lostjake wrote:If you're going to be working in some shitlaw sweatshop over the summer, which it sounds like you are, maybe you should consider just getting on a plane and hustling in your desired location? At this point I don't see how working in a crappy law firm is going to help you out, unless you plan on opening up shop on your own.


Interestingly, the CSO told me that I should take this shitlaw summer position over working for a judge this summer (even though there's no possibility of a full-time job offer at this firm at the end of the summer). I guess it makes sense in that it is work experience at a law firm, but it doesn't make a lot of sense because it's not the type of practice area I have any interest in, nor is it the type of compensation and hours I think would be worth practicing law for (i.e. the attorneys there are required to bill 170 hours a month, which is more than a lot of large law firms require, for under $37K /year -- so basically 70 hours a week for $37k /year, I can't beleive attorneys are willing to do this).

Whoa. That's crazy. What market is that in?

Alyosha
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Re: How to network?

Postby Alyosha » Sun Jun 06, 2010 9:14 pm

Also, what about clerkships? Your 1L grades must have been stellar if you transferred. I've heard they can be a back way into biglaw, at least in a normal economy. Bankruptcy clerkships might be particularly relevant to your interests, though I'm not sure they lead to biglaw with the same frequency other federal clerkships do.

t14underground
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Re: How to network?

Postby t14underground » Sun Jun 06, 2010 9:32 pm

Core wrote:
t14underground wrote:
lostjake wrote:If you're going to be working in some shitlaw sweatshop over the summer, which it sounds like you are, maybe you should consider just getting on a plane and hustling in your desired location? At this point I don't see how working in a crappy law firm is going to help you out, unless you plan on opening up shop on your own.


Interestingly, the CSO told me that I should take this shitlaw summer position over working for a judge this summer (even though there's no possibility of a full-time job offer at this firm at the end of the summer). I guess it makes sense in that it is work experience at a law firm, but it doesn't make a lot of sense because it's not the type of practice area I have any interest in, nor is it the type of compensation and hours I think would be worth practicing law for (i.e. the attorneys there are required to bill 170 hours a month, which is more than a lot of large law firms require, for under $37K /year -- so basically 70 hours a week for $37k /year, I can't beleive attorneys are willing to do this).

Whoa. That's crazy. What market is that in?


MVP

Alyosha wrote:Also, what about clerkships? Your 1L grades must have been stellar if you transferred. I've heard they can be a back way into biglaw, at least in a normal economy. Bankruptcy clerkships might be particularly relevant to your interests, though I'm not sure they lead to biglaw with the same frequency other federal clerkships do.


I intend to apply broadly to fed clerkships, but I'm not too optimistic knowing that there were over 401,000 applications last year for 1,200 openings (up 67% from the previous year, and this year is expected to be the most competitive year for clerkships yet). I'm also not on a journal, which is going to be a killer for a lot of judges.

Renzo
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Re: How to network?

Postby Renzo » Mon Jun 07, 2010 11:14 pm

t14underground wrote:
Core wrote:Whoa. That's crazy. What market is that in?


MVP

Must be V or P. There's no law left in Michigan. Ann Arbor is too small and Detroit is on its way to becoming the Thunderdome.

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A'nold
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Re: How to network?

Postby A'nold » Mon Jun 07, 2010 11:17 pm

Link to Matthies' networking thread?

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lostjake
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Re: How to network?

Postby lostjake » Mon Jun 07, 2010 11:22 pm

Actually I'd say its definitely Michigan. 35k a year is pretty good money here, you can buy two houses with that kind of cash, so really its like big law monies. You can always bleed a $300 retainer from a poor person who thinks they have the next multi million dollar law suit, especially if you lead them into thinking it was their idea.

On a side note I was listening to the radio and heard of people selling vacuum cleaners to people for $2700 a pop. Some of these people were on SS and some had never made over 30k in their whole life. And of course the mark up on the vacuum is about 200%. Hopefully being a lawyer doesn't involve selling your soul like that.

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NayBoer
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Re: How to network?

Postby NayBoer » Tue Jun 08, 2010 1:57 pm

If you have a specific subject matter interest and no contacts and no SA or clerkship that relates to it, then you need to get into the field some other way. Going to relevant conferences, CLE, etc. is one way. Reading the specialty publications helps (e.g. for tax law Tax Notes is pretty big, as is Tax Lawyer). And joining the state Bar section helps. Maybe also consider joining the local/city bar. Law schools in your area may offer seminars on the subject. Try following up with the relevant professors to hear their suggestions for learning more (or even ask them the best places to network in that field).

You can even try emailing the authors of articles in your field (especially practicing attorneys). Asking one or two intelligent (but not pretentious) questions about the subject of the article (especially covering an area alluded to but not entirely explained in the article) is a good opener. If comfortable, you can finish the email by briefly asking about conferences, CLE or other events that might be held in the area for you to learn more. That will give you a little direction on where to look. If you're lucky, the author will be involved in some event and then when you attend you'll have an ice-breaker ready. Just don't be too wordy, since the author may be quite busy, and don't try too hard to impress with your knowledge.

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mbw
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Re: How to network?

Postby mbw » Tue Jun 08, 2010 2:45 pm

NayBoer wrote:If you have a specific subject matter interest and no contacts and no SA or clerkship that relates to it, then you need to get into the field some other way. Going to relevant conferences, CLE, etc. is one way. Reading the specialty publications helps (e.g. for tax law Tax Notes is pretty big, as is Tax Lawyer). And joining the state Bar section helps. Maybe also consider joining the local/city bar. Law schools in your area may offer seminars on the subject. Try following up with the relevant professors to hear their suggestions for learning more (or even ask them the best places to network in that field).

You can even try emailing the authors of articles in your field (especially practicing attorneys). Asking one or two intelligent (but not pretentious) questions about the subject of the article (especially covering an area alluded to but not entirely explained in the article) is a good opener. If comfortable, you can finish the email by briefly asking about conferences, CLE or other events that might be held in the area for you to learn more. That will give you a little direction on where to look. If you're lucky, the author will be involved in some event and then when you attend you'll have an ice-breaker ready. Just don't be too wordy, since the author may be quite busy, and don't try too hard to impress with your knowledge.


Thanks, NB. It's kind of an unusual situation, as I have extensive graduate work/publications in the non-legal side of this subject-matter interest, and while I still have lots of contacts with these folk, I know none of the legal eagles who work the area (although I did notice some have affiliations with with members of my school's faculty, so maybe that's an area to explore as well.) Unfortunately, it's so highly specialized that I don't expect to find that anyone in my local bar association in upstate NY would have a clue about it, let alone to offer seminars (I haven't even met with my career center yet, as I figure they'll be clueless too.)

I suspect you're right and I should just start to approach some of the authors of works I'm using in my own current research. Never been good at that type of outreach, but I guess it's time to learn.

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NayBoer
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Re: How to network?

Postby NayBoer » Tue Jun 08, 2010 3:07 pm

My boss does a lot of writing and speaking on his specialty areas, so he gets both references and questions (and short emails saying thanks) in response to some of his works. That's where I got the idea. Professors are probably a decent resource as well.

If they can recommend anything where practicing lawyers will be found getting CLE or making contacts, then it could be valuable to attend. Though watch out - some conferences will draw in people countrywide, which isn't going to help you as much if you want to focus exclusively on the local market. The benefit to these events is that most of the other attendees are also trying to make contacts.

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mbw
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Re: How to network?

Postby mbw » Tue Jun 08, 2010 3:38 pm

NayBoer wrote:My boss does a lot of writing and speaking on his specialty areas, so he gets both references and questions (and short emails saying thanks) in response to some of his works. That's where I got the idea. Professors are probably a decent resource as well.

If they can recommend anything where practicing lawyers will be found getting CLE or making contacts, then it could be valuable to attend. Though watch out - some conferences will draw in people countrywide, which isn't going to help you as much if you want to focus exclusively on the local market. The benefit to these events is that most of the other attendees are also trying to make contacts.


Actually, I'm definitely not interested in the local market, so national, and even international, is fine with me.

RW65
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Re: How to network?

Postby RW65 » Tue Jun 08, 2010 5:59 pm





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