What good are alumni networks if they're all too busy to respond?

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What good are alumni networks if they're all too busy to respond?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 26, 2016 12:59 pm

I haven't cold emailed anyone yet. Before I was about to embark on that campaign, I asked someone I knew if they could introduce me to [some other people they knew].

They said "even if I knew, why would they reply to you, someone they've never met before? They're busy billing, worrying about their family, etc."

I mean, I get that these people are all busy and that response rates will be low because of that. But how does "networking" even get off the ground if the people already in your network won't even refer you to other people because they deem that it's not even worth a try?

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kalvano

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Re: What good are alumni networks if they're all too busy to respond?

Postby kalvano » Tue Jul 26, 2016 1:44 pm

The person you talked to sounds like an ass. A lot of people will help you because they remember how much the uncertainty of job hunting sucks and they'll want to help however they can, or are just good folks willing to answer questions / have coffee / whatever.

I would ask someone else for an intro or references.

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zot1

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Re: What good are alumni networks if they're all too busy to respond?

Postby zot1 » Tue Jul 26, 2016 1:48 pm

I agree with above poster.

I would definitely make the time. That's why I come to TLS too.

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Re: What good are alumni networks if they're all too busy to respond?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 26, 2016 8:25 pm

During the meeting, whenever I asked "do you suggest that I speak with any particular people at [Firm 1] or [Firm 2]," they kept returning to the same response: "I highly doubt it would help because they're busy etc...I think your time is better spent doing interview preparation."

And when I replied "I know most won't respond, but the few who do may be a great resource in finding out information unique to their firm," they'd just say "you can find that online on their websites!"

And I said "Well I'm thinking that that's the bare minimum the interviewer will expect you to have done" but eventually I just dropped it and move on.

Should I send this alum something like "Thanks for taking the time to meet with me. As you had suggested, I've spent the last few days pondering and rehearsing bullet point answers to anticipated questions about my profile. Since the interviewer wants to see that I've 'done my homework,' I'm also researching these employers.

I've followed your suggestion of going to their websites, but after visiting more than a dozen firms' websites, they all say the same vague things. I've compiled a list of [school] alums at each firm whom I'm about to contact to ask if they have the time for a quick chat over email or on the phone. As you said and as I understand, they are likely all busy; hence, I agree that most probably won't have the time to reply at length.

Nonetheless, if even a few reply (e.g., during their lunchbreak), that can only help my candidacy more than the baseline of doing nothing but emailing my resume to the HR recruiter. I remember that you said my focus should be on, and my time is better spent on, interview preparation; to that end, I've been doing that too. In fact, I hope the few who do respond can share interview pointers that worked for them. Before I email my list of alums independently, I was wondering whether you can help my outreach to alums more targeted. For example, if you think anyone at [Firm 1] would be really helpful, that'd be great. Thanks"

Please Don't Quote

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Re: What good are alumni networks if they're all too busy to respond?

Postby pancakes3 » Tue Jul 26, 2016 8:36 pm

who is giving you that shitty advice?

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Re: What good are alumni networks if they're all too busy to respond?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Tue Jul 26, 2016 8:46 pm

It sounds like whoever you're talking to doesn't want to connect you to people, for whatever reason (they're a jackass, they don't like you, they don't have a good relationship with anyone at that firm). I don't think there's any point in emailing them to argue your point again because they've said - apparently more than once - that they're not going to do what you want them to do. If you have a list of alums, just email them; you're not going to get any help trying to go through whoever you met with.

Tl;dr - I don't think the problem is with alumni networks, it's with whoever this person was you met with.

(To be brutally honest it sounds to me like this person thinks you need to work on your self-presentation skills before reaching out to people at firms.)

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zot1

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Re: What good are alumni networks if they're all too busy to respond?

Postby zot1 » Tue Jul 26, 2016 8:53 pm

It could just be that the alum is already helping someone else with connections and doesn't want to do it for you as well.

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Re: What good are alumni networks if they're all too busy to respond?

Postby imalreadyamember? » Tue Jul 26, 2016 9:26 pm

Does this person know you well and/or your grades and acumen? Maybe they're uncomfortable connecting you with people for other reasons.

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Re: What good are alumni networks if they're all too busy to respond?

Postby lavarman84 » Tue Jul 26, 2016 9:32 pm

They don't want to connect you. Just do it yourself.

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Re: What good are alumni networks if they're all too busy to respond?

Postby BigZuck » Tue Jul 26, 2016 9:57 pm

I know it's just a hypothetical email but I wouldn't send an attorney an email that is that long, especially if you're just trying to get job search advice.

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Re: What good are alumni networks if they're all too busy to respond?

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Wed Jul 27, 2016 5:43 am

A. Nony Mouse wrote:(To be brutally honest it sounds to me like this person thinks you need to work on your self-presentation skills before reaching out to people at firms.)

This.

This whole thread is a red flag.

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Re: What good are alumni networks if they're all too busy to respond?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 27, 2016 6:31 am

dixiecupdrinking wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:(To be brutally honest it sounds to me like this person thinks you need to work on your self-presentation skills before reaching out to people at firms.)

This.
This whole thread is a red flag.

+1. This, so this! CR. CR!!

During the in-person meeting, we had talked about interview prep for ~15-20mins during which they gave me pointers on how to answer questions. It was only toward the end that I asked them for other alumni.

So when they said that they think my time is better spent practicing interview answers, that was in reference to/in recap of our earlier discussion...about practicing interview answers. It wasn't as if they had raised the suggestion for the first time only in response to my asking for other alumni.

Like "yea I know this meeting didn't mention or touch on interviewing at all, but based on the interaction we've just had (which btw has absolutely nothing to do with interviewing), I think you need to brush up on interviewing before I'd feel comfortable trusting you to send a 2 paragraph email to one of my former colleagues."

It seemed more like they genuinely thought that people being busy, hence most won't respond (which is admittedly true) justifies not trying at all.

Or yea, it could all be one red flag. Everytime someone refuses to do something (for whatever reason), it must reflect poorly on me.

For contrast, I had a similar meeting a while back (during which my self-presentation skills must've been worse, if anything, than how they appeared in the recent situation described in the OP). When I asked that earlier person for other alumni, they openly strolled down memory lane and recalled that most of their LS friends are now out of the law entirely.

But hey, I guess that too was just a passive-aggressive way to tell me "actually I know plenty of people who could help you, but I don't feel comfortable introducing you to them until you work on your self-presentation skills." I mean, what CAN'T be code for that?

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Re: What good are alumni networks if they're all too busy to respond?

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Wed Jul 27, 2016 7:19 am

Let me be more specific. The fact that you won't let it go is a red flag. This person took time out of their day to help you and drew a reasonable line at introducing you to other alumni. It doesn't matter why they don't want to. You're not entitled to anything further from this person and need to move on. Now - the fact that you won't do that, makes me wonder whether there might be other issues with how you present.

This is all speculative, but you've gotten the right answer from everyone else in the thread: some people will help you and some people won't. And this person did help you. Just not as much or in the way that you wanted. I think you need to not badger them about it, and perhaps consider whether there are ulterior reasons.

Just food for thought. Genuinely not trying to be a dickhead about this.

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Re: What good are alumni networks if they're all too busy to respond?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Wed Jul 27, 2016 9:32 am

Everything dixiecup said. The proposed email is just not something you should be sending.

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Re: What good are alumni networks if they're all too busy to respond?

Postby Yeezus Wept » Wed Jul 27, 2016 9:56 am

Anonymous User wrote:
dixiecupdrinking wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:(To be brutally honest it sounds to me like this person thinks you need to work on your self-presentation skills before reaching out to people at firms.)

This.
This whole thread is a red flag.

+1. This, so this! CR. CR!!

During the in-person meeting, we had talked about interview prep for ~15-20mins during which they gave me pointers on how to answer questions. It was only toward the end that I asked them for other alumni.

So when they said that they think my time is better spent practicing interview answers, that was in reference to/in recap of our earlier discussion...about practicing interview answers. It wasn't as if they had raised the suggestion for the first time only in response to my asking for other alumni.

Like "yea I know this meeting didn't mention or touch on interviewing at all, but based on the interaction we've just had (which btw has absolutely nothing to do with interviewing), I think you need to brush up on interviewing before I'd feel comfortable trusting you to send a 2 paragraph email to one of my former colleagues."

It seemed more like they genuinely thought that people being busy, hence most won't respond (which is admittedly true) justifies not trying at all.

Or yea, it could all be one red flag. Everytime someone refuses to do something (for whatever reason), it must reflect poorly on me.

For contrast, I had a similar meeting a while back (during which my self-presentation skills must've been worse, if anything, than how they appeared in the recent situation described in the OP). When I asked that earlier person for other alumni, they openly strolled down memory lane and recalled that most of their LS friends are now out of the law entirely.

But hey, I guess that too was just a passive-aggressive way to tell me "actually I know plenty of people who could help you, but I don't feel comfortable introducing you to them until you work on your self-presentation skills." I mean, what CAN'T be code for that?


Man OP, you're really coming off as a toxic person. I wouldn't want to introduce you to my colleagues either.

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Re: What good are alumni networks if they're all too busy to respond?

Postby BaiAilian2013 » Wed Jul 27, 2016 11:41 am

Anonymous User wrote:
dixiecupdrinking wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:(To be brutally honest it sounds to me like this person thinks you need to work on your self-presentation skills before reaching out to people at firms.)

This.
This whole thread is a red flag.

+1. This, so this! CR. CR!!

During the in-person meeting, we had talked about interview prep for ~15-20mins during which they gave me pointers on how to answer questions. It was only toward the end that I asked them for other alumni.

So when they said that they think my time is better spent practicing interview answers, that was in reference to/in recap of our earlier discussion...about practicing interview answers. It wasn't as if they had raised the suggestion for the first time only in response to my asking for other alumni.

Like "yea I know this meeting didn't mention or touch on interviewing at all, but based on the interaction we've just had (which btw has absolutely nothing to do with interviewing), I think you need to brush up on interviewing before I'd feel comfortable trusting you to send a 2 paragraph email to one of my former colleagues."

It seemed more like they genuinely thought that people being busy, hence most won't respond (which is admittedly true) justifies not trying at all.

Or yea, it could all be one red flag. Everytime someone refuses to do something (for whatever reason), it must reflect poorly on me.

For contrast, I had a similar meeting a while back (during which my self-presentation skills must've been worse, if anything, than how they appeared in the recent situation described in the OP). When I asked that earlier person for other alumni, they openly strolled down memory lane and recalled that most of their LS friends are now out of the law entirely.

But hey, I guess that too was just a passive-aggressive way to tell me "actually I know plenty of people who could help you, but I don't feel comfortable introducing you to them until you work on your self-presentation skills." I mean, what CAN'T be code for that?

OP sounds exactly like the anon who started the horsepower/flair thread. (viewtopic.php?f=23&t=266820)

Anyway, for whatever reason, this person does not want to introduce you, period. It's not happening, and any further efforts to make it happen will be destructive.

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Re: What good are alumni networks if they're all too busy to respond?

Postby JazzOne » Wed Jul 27, 2016 11:58 am

I know you don't want to believe this OP, but you're coming off very desperate. If we can sense that through a few forum posts, the people around you must be cringing. This forum provides a lot of tough love. Now it's up to you to take the lesson to heart and improve your character.

Networking is extremely important. But if you're emailing attorneys to argue with them, you're doing it wrong.

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Re: What good are alumni networks if they're all too busy to respond?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 27, 2016 12:34 pm

JazzOne wrote:I know you don't want to believe this OP, but you're coming off very desperate. If we can sense that through a few forum posts, the people around you must be cringing. This forum provides a lot of tough love. Now it's up to you to take the lesson to heart and improve your character.

Networking is extremely important. But if you're emailing attorneys to argue with them, you're doing it wrong.


Sorry, I must've forgotten my conference room/black tie manners at the door when I entered the hallowed halls of top-law-schools.com/forums/anon_posting.php

In person, I dropped the matter after one reply "well yes I know they're busy but it could only help." The longer discussion before that about career path, interviewing, etc. went smoothly.

I posted that email draft to crowdsource whether I should send it, as I had already had my own reservations. To advise that I not send the email (which I've heeded) is one thing, but I couldn't see how dixiecup, before his/her elaboration, could've been so certain that, in an in-person meeting that explicitly discussed interviewing pointers, the alum's suggestion that I practice my interview skills was a backhanded way to imply that my interaction with them until then made them doubt my self-presentation as deficient and in turn explaining the alum's discomfort with putting me in touch.

A discomfort which, btw, was itself (as dixiecup clarified) speculative based on my uncouth anonymous posting on this honorable discussion board, not on the alum's self-professed belief in cold-emailing's futility.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Wed Jul 27, 2016 12:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: What good are alumni networks if they're all too busy to respond?

Postby glitched » Wed Jul 27, 2016 12:37 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I haven't cold emailed anyone yet. Before I was about to embark on that campaign, I asked someone I knew if they could introduce me to [some other people they knew].

They said "even if I knew, why would they reply to you, someone they've never met before? They're busy billing, worrying about their family, etc."

I mean, I get that these people are all busy and that response rates will be low because of that. But how does "networking" even get off the ground if the people already in your network won't even refer you to other people because they deem that it's not even worth a try?


I don't think networking means blasting alumni from your school because you have that one connection just to have a meeting to satisfy your personal agenda. Networking is a much more fluid process that typically begins at events or social gatherings. It just so happens that coming from the same school is one of the easiest first connections to make when meeting someone new at a professional event, so in that sense alumni networks are very helpful. Also alumni networks help with making another connection that's relatively easy to make, such as shared professors, shared organizations, shared experiences, and shared people you know. Then you take it from there. So what good are alumni networks if they're all too busy to respond? Your question answers itself. They're really good when you're both in a place where neither of you are too busy to respond.

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Re: What good are alumni networks if they're all too busy to respond?

Postby loh » Wed Jul 27, 2016 12:52 pm

Forget about that guy and you do you. Dont argue with people especially those who made it clear they dont want to help you. Dont be an aspie.

Everyone needs help especiallh in the beginning and there is no shame in doing your best and looking eager and hardworking. But keep your dignity and class intact.

Ive had many partners who gave me great advice and lengthy email responses all because we shared our alma mater. Most dont respond. But u move on. Nothing in this process is personal.

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Re: What good are alumni networks if they're all too busy to respond?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Wed Jul 27, 2016 1:38 pm

OP, I guess one of my concerns is that you're taking the alum's statement that cold contacts don't work at its face value. It may be that the alum really believes cold contacts don't work. It may be that he said that as a way to kindly refuse to give you contacts. Obviously none of us were there for the conversation and you were, so you're in the best position to evaluate what happened. Just keep in mind that from the way you've described it here, it sounds like you are a little fixated on getting something very specific out of this alum, and it comes across as a little off (the email is way too focused on refuting each specific point they made; as you describe the conversation it sounds like you're arguing too long with someone who's trying to help you). That doesn't mean you're wrong about what happened, but it's worth acknowledging that maybe it's not coming across the way you mean it to.

And again, wrt to the original question, you don't have any evidence yet about how alumni will respond to your emails. You have one conversation with one guy who could have meant many things.

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Re: What good are alumni networks if they're all too busy to respond?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jul 28, 2016 1:11 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Sorry, I must've forgotten my conference room/black tie manners at the door when I entered the hallowed halls of top-law-schools.com/forums/anon_posting.php

In person, I dropped the matter after one reply "well yes I know they're busy but it could only help." The longer discussion before that about career path, interviewing, etc. went smoothly.

I posted that email draft to crowdsource whether I should send it, as I had already had my own reservations. To advise that I not send the email (which I've heeded) is one thing, but I couldn't see how dixiecup, before his/her elaboration, could've been so certain that, in an in-person meeting that explicitly discussed interviewing pointers, the alum's suggestion that I practice my interview skills was a backhanded way to imply that my interaction with them until then made them doubt my self-presentation as deficient and in turn explaining the alum's discomfort with putting me in touch.

A discomfort which, btw, was itself (as dixiecup clarified) speculative based on my uncouth anonymous posting on this honorable discussion board, not on the alum's self-professed belief in cold-emailing's futility.


LOL, yeah, you're coming off totally nice and sincere now. If you just send your proposed email, the attorney will definitely be cool introducing you to the alums.

If you "dropped the matter after one reply," then your OP was seriously misleading.

Anonymous User wrote:During the meeting, whenever I asked "do you suggest that I speak with any particular people at [Firm 1] or [Firm 2]," they kept returning to the same response: "I highly doubt it would help because they're busy etc...I think your time is better spent doing interview preparation."

And when I replied "I know most won't respond, but the few who do may be a great resource in finding out information unique to their firm," they'd just say "you can find that online on their websites!"

And I said "Well I'm thinking that that's the bare minimum the interviewer will expect you to have done" but eventually I just dropped it and move on.


Sorry, posted anon accidentally. JazzOne here.

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Re: What good are alumni networks if they're all too busy to respond?

Postby fxb3 » Thu Jul 28, 2016 3:08 pm

I think basically everyone's advice and comments to the OP are spot-on. So-called alumni networks are a very minor part of this whole game, you just can't expect them to be a cure-all.

I'm a V20 senior associate and long-time on-campus interviewer, thought I would give my two cents. If someone from my school wanted to chat about the firm, I'd happily have coffee or chat on the phone. If they then had particular, defined interests outside of my own practice, AND I thought they were a reasonable candidate for us, I'd be happy to help if they asked me to connect them with James Q. Associate, also an ABC University alum, in our XYZ practice group.

But if it seemed like all they wanted to do was "connect" with someone who is essentially the same as me in terms of what they can offer you, I'd probably make excuses. This is not middle school cotillion. You don't need a certain number of names on your dance card. If you're going to pursue a job with us through OCI or otherwise, it will reflect well on you that you sought me out and mention that in your screener. But it doesn't really help you more to say that in addition to James, you also talked to Jack, and Bob, and Jenny, if they're all in the same practice and all you really did was ask them the same general questions. So that's one reason I might gently try to avoid setting you up on dates with four other people at the firm, because it won't help you and it won't help us.

The other reason would be if I got a sense from our conversation that you really did need to work on something else (e.g. interview skills) or otherwise were obviously incompatible with getting a job at our firm. Even for friends of mine who are alums of the same school, it involves a certain amount of social capital to say, "hey, will you have coffee with this guy," and I don't want them coming back to me saying, "why the hell did you think that person was worth our time?"

I can't say what happened here, OP. Maybe that guy was just a jerk. Maybe his thinking is different from what I've written. But as an experienced recruiter, I strongly urge you to calmly and rationally take the commentary in this thread at face value. Good luck.

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Re: What good are alumni networks if they're all too busy to respond?

Postby Bluem_11 » Thu Jul 28, 2016 3:59 pm

FWIW when I was looking for work and mass mailing as a 2L, I shot for the moon on some firms on my mass mailing that were out of my 'target range' and got a screener with a big-time firm because one of the partners at the office went to the same school as me (I didn't go to a T20) and the HR lady referenced him my resume to do a phone interview.

That was a one-time occurrence but hey it's something.

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Re: What good are alumni networks if they're all too busy to respond?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jul 28, 2016 4:36 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Sorry, I must've forgotten my conference room/black tie manners at the door when I entered the hallowed halls of top-law-schools.com/forums/anon_posting.php

LOL, yeah, you're coming off totally nice and sincere now. If you just send your proposed email, the attorney will definitely be cool introducing you to the alums.

If you "dropped the matter after one reply," then your OP was seriously misleading.

Sorry, posted anon accidentally. JazzOne here.


Yes, because forgetting your manners at the door = coming off as totally nice and sincere. I was responding to the line of thought of "if you're this way with us, anon randos on TLS, then you must be way worse in person." As if there's no such thing as tailoring my demeanor to the setting, such that I behave exactly the same on this venerable forum that allows for anon_posting.php as I do at black-tie cotillons.

But let us continue with this enriching dialogue where you dissect how many times I said I replied.
You're making my day here. When the guy quoted below (who's actually helpful) tells me to take the commentary here at face value, I'm sure this is what he had in mind. So please proceed.

it involves a certain amount of social capital to say, "hey, will you have coffee with this guy," and I don't want them coming back to me saying, "why the hell did you think that person was worth our time?"

I can't say what happened here, OP. Maybe that guy was just a jerk. Maybe his thinking is different from what I've written. But as an experienced recruiter, I strongly urge you to calmly and rationally take the commentary in this thread at face value.

Thanks for this. I'm aware of the social capital required to go out on a limb and vouch for someone. That's why I've hesitated to ask my own peers/friends who are SAs/junior associates at firms, because I don't want to embarrass myself or them.

But I wasn't asking to be set up for a half-hour coffee date. In all likelihood, it'd be nothing more than a few email exchanges, maybe a quick phone call.

And maybe not even an email or a phone call. But is it too much to ask to ask an alum to forward my resume to their former colleagues, even if those colleagues are no longer with their original firms and have moved onto other legal employers?
Last edited by Anonymous User on Thu Jul 28, 2016 5:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.



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