Networking: I want to give up (anyone else feeling the same?

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Networking: I want to give up (anyone else feeling the same?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Dec 12, 2010 1:26 am

I am sure that everyone has heard of the fairy-tale-like story of someone who met a lawyer during a networking event whose friend's brother's classmate's friend found them a job. I have done extensive informational interviews and have attended many, many networking events. Although I have met many wonderful people in the process, I have not met anyone who was able to provide me with job leads.

I am a 2L, and am scared to death. I really don't know if I can get a job for next summer. My stats: lower T1 school in the Bay Area, bottom percentile...

Does anyone have similar experiences? How are you dealing with this? Would you keep networking or do you just give up? If you have inspirational stories, please do share them here too:)

2009 Prospective
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Re: Networking: I want to give up (anyone else feeling the same?

Postby 2009 Prospective » Sun Dec 12, 2010 2:05 am

I don't think you should be looking at networking through such a shortsighted lens. I'm assuming you probably just started with engaging in informational interviews and attending events this semester? You can't just assume that you'll be placed on the fast track to a job just from one preliminary interaction with an attorney.

Rather, I think it would be more appropriate at this point to think of networking as something that might be beneficial after graduation if you're still job searching. Even if you do have a job lined up by then, it's still always nice to put your name out in the legal community and have lawyers that you can remain in touch with. In the meantime, continue staying in touch with whichever contacts you think you've made a useful connection with. At least that's how I've been approaching the whole "networking" thing myself.

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20160810
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Re: Networking: I want to give up (anyone else feeling the same?

Postby 20160810 » Sun Dec 12, 2010 3:24 am

Lower T1 school in the Bay Area, huh? Nobody will ever figure out that puzzler...

If you have bad grades at the school I'm about 99.9% sure you attend, unfortunately you probably are boned for a firm job whether or not you network (though it's never bad practice to do so). Start looking at unpaid PI/gov options (whatever's left, apply widely) and by-the-hour work for small local firms. It ain't great, but it's better than nothing.

And for the love of god, get off TLS and study for finals. Bumping up your grades over 2L is the only thing you can to to give yourself a fighting chance of landing something in spring/3L OCI.

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Re: Networking: I want to give up (anyone else feeling the same?

Postby Aqualibrium » Sun Dec 12, 2010 3:31 am

SBL wrote:If you have bad grades at the school I'm about 99.9% sure you attend, unfortunately you probably are boned for a firm job whether or not you network


And for the love of god, get off TLS and study for finals. Bumping up your grades over 2L is the only thing you can to to give yourself a fighting chance of landing something in spring/3L OCI.

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dood
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Re: Networking: I want to give up (anyone else feeling the same?

Postby dood » Sun Dec 12, 2010 4:45 am

...
Last edited by dood on Sat Dec 25, 2010 6:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Networking: I want to give up (anyone else feeling the same?

Postby ksimon2007 » Sun Dec 12, 2010 5:15 am

dood wrote:the most effective networking is done prior to law school. i dunno man, people generally like to help, but also dont like being taken advantage of. and you networking now just looks like u'r trying to get a jorb then never talk to that person again. i would try to get a job at any firm, even if its a solo that pays u $8/hr - then when u approach lawyers u can drop the "oh i was working on X and my firm" and they wont think u'r just trying to hustle them for a jorb at their firm. then make friends, build a relationship, wait a couple months or years and then causally mention working for their firm.

just like picking up a chick, u gotta put in the work to show u'r valued by others, not desperate to hookup with any chick, and are looking for more than a 1 nighter.

good luck brah.


Haha good stuff. I would tend to agree about networking being most important before law school. I only have about 4 partner connections, but they have all been made during my undergrad experience. Having folks take an interest in you for 4+ years will help. Seeking that help , if you really will need it, when trying to secure a job will make things a little more interesting.

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Re: Networking: I want to give up (anyone else feeling the same?

Postby 20160810 » Sun Dec 12, 2010 5:20 am

ksimon2007 wrote:
dood wrote:the most effective networking is done prior to law school. i dunno man, people generally like to help, but also dont like being taken advantage of. and you networking now just looks like u'r trying to get a jorb then never talk to that person again. i would try to get a job at any firm, even if its a solo that pays u $8/hr - then when u approach lawyers u can drop the "oh i was working on X and my firm" and they wont think u'r just trying to hustle them for a jorb at their firm. then make friends, build a relationship, wait a couple months or years and then causally mention working for their firm.

just like picking up a chick, u gotta put in the work to show u'r valued by others, not desperate to hookup with any chick, and are looking for more than a 1 nighter.

good luck brah.


Haha good stuff. I would tend to agree about networking being most important before law school. I only have about 4 partner connections, but they have all been made during my undergrad experience. Having folks take an interest in you for 4+ years will help. Seeking that help , if you really will need it, when trying to secure a job will make things a little more interesting.

IMO your best bet is to start out by saying that you're hitting the job market and ask your connections just generally if they have any advice. If they want to help you out at that point, they'll know what to do. Being more direct that that is just too solicitous for my tastes and seems likely to be off-putting for them.

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Re: Networking: I want to give up (anyone else feeling the same?

Postby ksimon2007 » Sun Dec 12, 2010 5:54 am

SBL wrote:
ksimon2007 wrote:
dood wrote:the most effective networking is done prior to law school. i dunno man, people generally like to help, but also dont like being taken advantage of. and you networking now just looks like u'r trying to get a jorb then never talk to that person again. i would try to get a job at any firm, even if its a solo that pays u $8/hr - then when u approach lawyers u can drop the "oh i was working on X and my firm" and they wont think u'r just trying to hustle them for a jorb at their firm. then make friends, build a relationship, wait a couple months or years and then causally mention working for their firm.

just like picking up a chick, u gotta put in the work to show u'r valued by others, not desperate to hookup with any chick, and are looking for more than a 1 nighter.

good luck brah.


Haha good stuff. I would tend to agree about networking being most important before law school. I only have about 4 partner connections, but they have all been made during my undergrad experience. Having folks take an interest in you for 4+ years will help. Seeking that help , if you really will need it, when trying to secure a job will make things a little more interesting.

IMO your best bet is to start out by saying that you're hitting the job market and ask your connections just generally if they have any advice. If they want to help you out at that point, they'll know what to do. Being more direct that that is just too solicitous for my tastes and seems likely to be off-putting for them.
\

Makes sense. I'm going to be sitting down with a partner at a reputable D.C. firm in March. By then I will have chosen a law school, probably...We will likely talk about many things, but a law firm job/summer associate gig is probably not going to be the focus of our conversation...how do you think I should approach him about this...

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Re: Networking: I want to give up (anyone else feeling the same?

Postby nealric » Sun Dec 12, 2010 11:45 am

Just throwing this out there:

My experience is that "networking events" are completely pointless. What you want are events that are not "networking events", but will allow you to network. An example of a good event would be a CLE function in a practice area you are interested in. Alternatively, bar association meetings can be good networking events.

Also, you are 2L. Networking won't necessarily mean that someone will just hand you a job because you met them at some event. But if you cultivate connections down the line, you never know what opportunities they could create.

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Dustin.
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Re: Networking: I want to give up (anyone else feeling the same?

Postby Dustin. » Sun Dec 12, 2010 12:00 pm

OP: Have you read this yet? I know you are a 2L, but there is some solid advice in there.

http://www.lawschooldiscussion.org/general-board-for-soon-to-be-1ls/my-advice-to-the-starting-1ls-(long)/

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Re: Networking: I want to give up (anyone else feeling the same?

Postby Kohinoor » Sun Dec 12, 2010 12:26 pm

ime, networking is useful unless you need it to be.

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Re: Networking: I want to give up (anyone else feeling the same?

Postby Black-Blue » Sun Dec 12, 2010 6:22 pm

"Networking" is a myth propelled by Career Services as a way to push the blame for students' failure to secure employment to the students themselves.

A Network isn't something you can even actively build. You either have it or you don't.

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nealric
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Re: Networking: I want to give up (anyone else feeling the same?

Postby nealric » Sun Dec 12, 2010 6:52 pm

A Network isn't something you can even actively build. You either have it or you don't.


Of course you can build a network. But it takes time- often more than most law students have to work with.

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Re: Networking: I want to give up (anyone else feeling the same?

Postby Aqualibrium » Sun Dec 12, 2010 7:08 pm

Black-Blue wrote:"Networking" is a myth propelled by Career Services as a way to push the blame for students' failure to secure employment to the students themselves.

A Network isn't something you can even actively build. You either have it or you don't.



I don't agree. I had to build my network because I didn't know anyone where I went to school, let alone in the legal community. I think where many people have issues with networking is 1) starting too late and 2) thinking that someone is supposed to offer you a job as the result of your efforts.

Networking is about building relationships and getting advice, you shouldn't go into it expecting to "get something " from a person other than advice you can eventually use to develop your own career path. You should also start trying to cultivate those relationships as soon as you hit the ground in law school.

I didn't end up working with any of the firms of people in the network I had built, but the conversations I had with them enabled me to have a better understanding of what they were looking for, and how to market myself to other firms. They also enabled me to just be totally comfortable with who I was and what I wanted out of a legal career, and that translated to lots of interview success. I did get offers from firms of people in my network, and I did have them put in a good word at their firm and others, but the most valuable thing I got was their advice. Another thing that frequently amazed me was the fact that the attorneys I had befriended would very often talk to others in the firm about me. On more than one occasion I've had a hiring partner or recruiting coordinator who I was personally meeting for the first time say "oh yes, I know you, xyz likes you a lot." That is the mark of a strong network, even if for now I don't think I'll work for that firm, the fact that they know who I am and have a positive impression of me can't ever hurt. How many law students have any sort of reputation with members of the legal community?

Networking even extends to your classmates. Four of the interviews I got this OCI season were because the firms called up an upperclassmen that had worked for them and asked them who they should look at.

I think it's way off base to say that cultivating relationships with people who do what you want to do, and establishing your reputation in the legal community is some sort of myth. It's necessary if you want to have a successful legal career, and the sooner you start the better.

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Re: Networking: I want to give up (anyone else feeling the same?

Postby nealric » Sun Dec 12, 2010 8:03 pm

Networking is about building relationships and getting advice, you shouldn't go into it expecting to "get something " from a person other than advice you can eventually use to develop your own career path. You should also start trying to cultivate those relationships as soon as you hit the ground in law school.


Right. I think the #1 mistake people make is attempting to treat people as a means to an end. Think it about from the prospective a contact you might make. Which person would you rather intact with:

Person 1: Comes up to you during a "networking event" and non-so subtly asks you for a job.
Person 2: Identifies you as a knowledgeable person at a CLE event and asks thoughtful questions in an area of your expertise.

Approach networking as someone who is eager to get into the field and wants to learn. This can't be a phony ploy. The relationships have to be genuine before they are likely to lead to anything. Developing these relationships is helpful even if they don't directly lead to jobs.

Like I said above, most "networking events" I've attended are a complete joke. They end up being five desperate students swarming around one attorney who is only attending for the free food. Ideally, you want to be the only student in a room full of practitioners.

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Re: Networking: I want to give up (anyone else feeling the same?

Postby dood » Sun Dec 12, 2010 8:35 pm

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Last edited by dood on Sat Dec 25, 2010 6:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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nealric
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Re: Networking: I want to give up (anyone else feeling the same?

Postby nealric » Sun Dec 12, 2010 8:39 pm

Not free food bro, firms pretty much make it unspoken req that their associates and some partners are strongly suggested to attend these events.


Depends on the type of event and what kind of event we are talking about. If it's the "pre oci event sponsored by biglaw from x", it's probably the firm just sending people. If it's the career-services sponsored "meet a criminal lawyer day", it's probably the food coupled with some friend suckering them into it. Either way, most lawyers don't attend lame networking events because they are so eager to meet and hire law students.

An anecdote I forgot to mention. A month ago, I walked into a career-services sponsored networking event late and wearing a suit because I had come from somewhere else where I needed to be dressed up. Since I'm an LLM, most people don't recognize me. It was kind of silly how people just eagerly came up and introduced themselves, and then immediately disengaged once they determined I was a student.

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Re: Networking: I want to give up (anyone else feeling the same?

Postby James Bond » Sun Dec 12, 2010 9:02 pm

Black-Blue wrote:"Networking" is a myth propelled by Career Services as a way to push the blame for students' failure to secure employment to the students themselves.

A Network isn't something you can even actively build. You either have it or you don't.


This. Is. Retarded.

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Re: Networking: I want to give up (anyone else feeling the same?

Postby Aqualibrium » Sun Dec 12, 2010 9:16 pm

I agree with Nealric that large networking events are generally useless. Most of the contacts I made happened because I was willing to put myself out there and strike up individual conversations/ask people out to lunch.

I wont say networking events are totally useless though. Smaller events, usually hosted by law school organizations and restricted to their membership, have proven to be an invaluable resource for meeting people with similar interests to mine (I think that environment is probably similar to the one Neal described when he mentioned CLE's t other events).

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Cupidity
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Re: Networking: I want to give up (anyone else feeling the same?

Postby Cupidity » Sun Dec 12, 2010 9:17 pm

Become Bi-Curious, join an affinity Bar.

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Stanford4Me
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Re: Networking: I want to give up (anyone else feeling the same?

Postby Stanford4Me » Mon Dec 13, 2010 1:18 am

The only reason I have a network is because my dad's, friend's son is an attorney with a firm I'm looking at working with. Network is beneficial . . . I guess . . but it's not as easy as CS makes it seem.

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Re: Networking: I want to give up (anyone else feeling the same?

Postby eth3n » Mon Dec 13, 2010 1:42 am

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Re: Networking: I want to give up (anyone else feeling the same?

Postby dood » Mon Dec 13, 2010 2:10 am

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