Void wrote:I've never had any success at any kind of networking for the sake of networking, and never really known anyone IRL who has succeeded at finding a real/decent job this way. I think that knowing lots of people who can/will vouch for you or look out for your interests is totally an essential element of a job search, but IMO nobody who you meet once at an event designed for this type of thing is ever really going to give a shit about you- why would they? You can "network" by actually getting involved in internships or volunteering and get to know people slowly and organically. I'm pretty sure this is the only kind of "networking" that actually works.
I agree for the most part. There are some exceptions like a girl in my class who happened to come up to a small firm guy after he did some bankruptcy speech and got a FT job out of it. But, she is pretty hot and has a good personality.
I've gotten a few interviews from networking (not for full-time jobs, but for internships). But I networked like hell. I've gone to 7 conferences in the last two years. I have met and conversed with partners from at least 50% of the bigger firms (both biglaw and plaintiff) that practice in my area, and about 50% of the board members/commissioners/general counsel of the Fed agencies in my area. I've handed out over 200 business cards, and collected about 200 as well. I've gone out to dinner/drinks with like at least 50 lawyers. They almost always cover your tab if they know you are a student. That doesn't mean they can manufacture a job for you, but you at least get to have fun. I've had people buy me copious amounts of single-malt scotch, seafood, etc. One of them sent me a promotional gift pack from their firm in the mail (a set of coasters, which are pretty nice). I can use them while drinking myself to death over the next year or so.
I can't tell if it's going to make any difference right now for a permanent job. Out of the probably 200-300 I've connected with, maybe slightly more than about a dozen have asked for my resume or responded when I sent one out to them afterward. Most were like "we're not hiring right now, but I'll hold on to this for the future." Some forwarded it on to their hiring committee, after which I promptly received a rejection letter saying the firm isn't hiring anyone right now. About 50% of the people will forget who you are by the time the next time they see you, but there's generally only a few that will not want to at least talk to you.
There just isn't shit out there. The agencies I want to work for are on hiring freezes, and aren't even replacing people that retire/quit, Biglaw will hire you at OCI or as a lateral, but rarely straight out of law school, and plaintiff firms that aren't shitlaw pretty much only hire people with experience. And even if you get along well with a biglaw partner, the hiring committee isn't going to just be like, "well, so-and-so partner met this student at a conference, so let's take him on."
Still, there's like 6 or 7 people that keep in contact with me and say they'll keep their eyes open if something comes up.
In other words, it's a numbers game. At conferences, there's like a 100:1 lawyer/law student ratio. At your school's "networking events," it's like 1:10 lawyers/students, so your odds are terrible.
I don't really know if that's going to encourage anybody or not. But that's my experience. Even if it ends up being for nothing, getting drunk with attorneys is pretty fun, there's lots of free food at conferences (and most of the time it is good food), and you get to know the language of the profession. I can't say that it has worked so far as far as permanent job goes, but it's more fun than mass mailing.