Emailing random Alumni who have jobs.

(Study Tips, Dealing With Stress, Maintaining a Social Life, Financial Aid, Internships, Bar Exam, Careers in Law . . . )
Connor Benz
Posts: 113
Joined: Wed Sep 04, 2013 10:49 pm

Emailing random Alumni who have jobs.

Postby Connor Benz » Fri Jan 17, 2014 3:10 pm

So you know how you go on firm or government websites looking up people who went to your law school (mainly on firm websites) to see where alumni are ending up in the work world. Would it be weird to send a random Alumni who you never met before an email about getting a job? Has anyone ever done this and what would you say?

User avatar
gdane
Posts: 12318
Joined: Sat Sep 26, 2009 2:41 pm

Re: Emailing random Alumni who have jobs.

Postby gdane » Fri Jan 17, 2014 3:37 pm

Don't do it. No one likes getting unsolicited messages from random people asking for things. You have no one to refer you to that person. Just saying "hi, I see we went to the same school. Can you help me get a job please?" Isn't going to fly.

Plus, they may not have anything to do with hiring. Not a good idea dude.

It's A Lion
Posts: 1770
Joined: Sun Jan 12, 2014 2:10 pm

Re: Emailing random Alumni who have jobs.

Postby It's A Lion » Fri Jan 17, 2014 3:42 pm

While some alumni may feel obligated to respond, many will probably ignore you. You might get more responses if you email asking for an "information interview" (discussion about the legal market/advice, etc.). The benefit of meeting or speaking with the alum is that you you might stick in their mind if something happens to come up.

User avatar
Carlo Von Sexron
Posts: 336
Joined: Tue Nov 05, 2013 4:48 pm

Re: Emailing random Alumni who have jobs.

Postby Carlo Von Sexron » Fri Jan 17, 2014 4:07 pm

It's A Lion wrote:While some alumni may feel obligated to respond, many will probably ignore you. You might get more responses if you email asking for an "information interview" (discussion about the legal market/advice, etc.). The benefit of meeting or speaking with the alum is that you you might stick in their mind if something happens to come up.
This is the recommended way of going about things, but I wouldn't even call it "an informational interview," at least not to that person's face. Email them, explaining who you are and why you're reaching out to them ("I'm interested in patent law" or "I'm interested in small firms in the area"). Invite the person out for coffee or lunch whenever's convenient for him. If they ignore you, move on. If they're down, be presentable but don't wear a suit, and keep it short, no more than 45 minutes.

Questions to ask:
How did you end up practicing X law?
How did you find the firm you're working for now?
Who's someone you think I should reach out to? Can you introduce me to that person?

And so forth. NEVER ASK FOR A REAL JOB INTERVIEW.

Networking is degrading and awkward, but I think a lot of attorneys know how hard it is for new grads right now. Younger lawyers, those practicing for ten years or less, are more likely to be sympathetic and humor you for 30-45 minutes.

User avatar
Gamecubesupreme
Posts: 509
Joined: Tue Apr 14, 2009 8:54 pm

Re: Emailing random Alumni who have jobs.

Postby Gamecubesupreme » Fri Jan 17, 2014 4:24 pm

On a similar topic, if you ask out an alumni for lunch or something, are you expected to pay for them?

Or is it better going Dutch?

User avatar
guano
Posts: 2268
Joined: Mon Feb 18, 2013 9:49 am

Re: Emailing random Alumni who have jobs.

Postby guano » Fri Jan 17, 2014 4:57 pm

Gamecubesupreme wrote:On a similar topic, if you ask out an alumni for lunch or something, are you expected to pay for them?

Or is it better going Dutch?

If the alumni doesn't foot the bill, you've got no chance

User avatar
holdencaulfield
Posts: 478
Joined: Sun Apr 26, 2009 7:12 pm

Re: Emailing random Alumni who have jobs.

Postby holdencaulfield » Fri Jan 17, 2014 4:58 pm

Gamecubesupreme wrote:On a similar topic, if you ask out an alumni for lunch or something, are you expected to pay for them?

Or is it better going Dutch?



The alumni will generally pick up the tab. If not, go dutch; don't try to pay for them.

User avatar
yossarian
Posts: 1303
Joined: Tue Dec 17, 2013 2:45 pm

Re: Emailing random Alumni who have jobs.

Postby yossarian » Fri Jan 17, 2014 5:11 pm

Gamecubesupreme wrote:On a similar topic, if you ask out an alumni for lunch or something, are you expected to pay for them?

Or is it better going Dutch?


0L, so I can't speak to law, but this is basic etiquette. If you call the meeting you offer to pay.

The attorney will, however, likely feel obligated to pay if you are unemployed and they have an income. You can insist once. Anymore than once is self-defacing.

Easier in these meetings to get it out of the way in the scheduling. "Can I treat you to coffee/lunch/etc?"

User avatar
guano
Posts: 2268
Joined: Mon Feb 18, 2013 9:49 am

Re: Emailing random Alumni who have jobs.

Postby guano » Fri Jan 17, 2014 5:18 pm

yossarian71 wrote:
Gamecubesupreme wrote:On a similar topic, if you ask out an alumni for lunch or something, are you expected to pay for them?

Or is it better going Dutch?


0L, so I can't speak to law, but this is basic etiquette. If you call the meeting you offer to pay.

The attorney will, however, likely feel obligated to pay if you are unemployed and they have an income. You can insist once. Anymore than once is self-defacing.

Easier in these meetings to get it out of the way in the scheduling. "Can I treat you to coffee/lunch/etc?"
the firm will pay for it

User avatar
blurbz
Posts: 1229
Joined: Mon Jun 29, 2009 10:43 pm

Re: Emailing random Alumni who have jobs.

Postby blurbz » Fri Jan 17, 2014 5:20 pm

I've gotten a couple of these and I respond. I don't mind talking about the firm or market, and I think that conversation certainly might be helpful to some, but I don't have the pull to get someone a job or even a real interview. So feel free to reach out but go in with the expectation that you might have an informative conversation but not one that will necessarily lead to any immediate increase in opportunity.

That being said, if you go to lunch with me and end up having an interview at my firm later and you drop my name as someone you've spoken with, you better believe recruiting will reach out to me to ask what I thought of our lunch. So from that perspective, these meetings can still have a tangible impact.

Regarding paying: I always pay and I always expense it so it's really not a big deal to me.

User avatar
worldtraveler
Posts: 7662
Joined: Mon Oct 15, 2007 4:47 am

Re: Emailing random Alumni who have jobs.

Postby worldtraveler » Fri Jan 17, 2014 5:22 pm

I've gotten a few of these emails, and I think they're definitely a good thing to do but you have to be careful about tone. Don't outright ask for a job but just ask for their advice about a position or if they would be willing to review your resume or have any ideas for you.

And send a thank you email. I have helped out people before and set them up with contacts, and most I never heard from again. That didn't leave a favorable impression.

Honestly most interaction I get from law students is "Can you help me k thanks bai" and I don't respond to those.

User avatar
brotherdarkness
Posts: 3254
Joined: Thu Nov 08, 2012 8:11 pm

Re: Emailing random Alumni who have jobs.

Postby brotherdarkness » Fri Jan 17, 2014 5:24 pm

.
Last edited by brotherdarkness on Sat Jun 28, 2014 7:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Connor Benz
Posts: 113
Joined: Wed Sep 04, 2013 10:49 pm

Re: Emailing random Alumni who have jobs.

Postby Connor Benz » Fri Jan 17, 2014 6:20 pm

brotherdarkness wrote:
gdane wrote:Don't do it. No one likes getting unsolicited messages from random people asking for things. You have no one to refer you to that person. Just saying "hi, I see we went to the same school. Can you help me get a job please?" Isn't going to fly.

Plus, they may not have anything to do with hiring. Not a good idea dude.


I disagree. When I transferred, I tried to get a feel for the market I was entering by sending emails to the alumni of my new school and asking if they had a few moments to chat about their experience at my school, their experience at their firm, their practice area(s), etc. I sent less than 10 of these emails, but only one went unanswered. The rest were very, very helpful and didn't seem put off. A few of the alumni explicitly stated that they liked seeing that I was trying to figure out more about the firms by contacting alumni. Don't ask for a job, but I don't see the problem with asking for information.


But how is that going to get me a job? This is my mission. I know not to blatantly ask for a job, but would implying about one be off-putting?

User avatar
brotherdarkness
Posts: 3254
Joined: Thu Nov 08, 2012 8:11 pm

Re: Emailing random Alumni who have jobs.

Postby brotherdarkness » Fri Jan 17, 2014 6:27 pm

.
Last edited by brotherdarkness on Sat Jun 28, 2014 7:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
blurbz
Posts: 1229
Joined: Mon Jun 29, 2009 10:43 pm

Re: Emailing random Alumni who have jobs.

Postby blurbz » Fri Jan 17, 2014 6:31 pm

Connor Benz wrote:
brotherdarkness wrote:
gdane wrote:Don't do it. No one likes getting unsolicited messages from random people asking for things. You have no one to refer you to that person. Just saying "hi, I see we went to the same school. Can you help me get a job please?" Isn't going to fly.

Plus, they may not have anything to do with hiring. Not a good idea dude.


I disagree. When I transferred, I tried to get a feel for the market I was entering by sending emails to the alumni of my new school and asking if they had a few moments to chat about their experience at my school, their experience at their firm, their practice area(s), etc. I sent less than 10 of these emails, but only one went unanswered. The rest were very, very helpful and didn't seem put off. A few of the alumni explicitly stated that they liked seeing that I was trying to figure out more about the firms by contacting alumni. Don't ask for a job, but I don't see the problem with asking for information.


But how is that going to get me a job? This is my mission. I know not to blatantly ask for a job, but would implying about one be off-putting?



I mean, just by reaching out everyone KNOWS that the best case scenario is that the person you contacted is in a position to, and does, give you a job. But that's just not going to happen very often. These sorts of cold calls will rarely, if ever, result in "getting" you a job. Instead, they should be used to learn about firms, practice areas, and markets. You'll be better informed so that if you DO wind up in the enviable position of having multiple offers, you'll be able to make a more informed decision. More likely than that, though, is that you might take something we talked about at lunch and bring it up in an interview so that you appear to have done more research. If you say, "I talked to Associate about this earlier...." or "I know you do X because I spoke with Associate..." or "Associate mentioned blahblahblah, could you tell me more about that?" you'll appear to have done more research and be better informed. It's just another way of arming yourself so you're more likely to make a positive impression at an interview.

That's how these are supposed to help you. If you go into them thinking the ONLY positive outcome is that I give you a job, you're going to be disappointed.

User avatar
guano
Posts: 2268
Joined: Mon Feb 18, 2013 9:49 am

Re: Emailing random Alumni who have jobs.

Postby guano » Fri Jan 17, 2014 9:11 pm

Connor Benz wrote:But how is that going to get me a job? This is my mission. I know not to blatantly ask for a job, but would implying about one be off-putting?

Do not blatantly ask for a job, and really, there's no need to imply either, because they know damn well why you're contacting them. But, you don't want them to feel like a tool, they want to feel useful. Ask them about their job, about their career, about their company. Ask them if they have any advice for you, if they can look over your resume, what classes they can recommend.
If you get the feeling that things are going really well, and you think the person would go for it, you might be able to ask them if they have any advice about what to do to get a job at their firm.

Basically, let them offer to forward your resume to recruiting (or anything else employment related), don't ask for it.

User avatar
A. Nony Mouse
Posts: 22787
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2012 11:51 am

Re: Emailing random Alumni who have jobs.

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Fri Jan 17, 2014 9:21 pm

I think you need to think of contacting alumni in this way as a longer-term job search strategy - you don't ask them for a job, they're (almost certainly) not going to give you a job. But the more people you talk to and get your name in front of, the more likely someone will think of/recommend you when they hear about an opportunity. Remember that you're not just looking for a job, you're trying to build a career, in a relatively small profession.

I have no problem replying to alums who contact me (which, admittedly, has been few), but it is better if there's some kind of connection, or something specific besides same school (e.g. "you went to my school and you work in my hometown/preferred practice area/for my roommate's uncle" or whatever).

TooOld4This
Posts: 638
Joined: Sat Jul 23, 2011 11:09 am

Re: Emailing random Alumni who have jobs.

Postby TooOld4This » Sat Jan 18, 2014 8:51 am

Do not ask for a job. Do not imply that you are asking for a job. The most you should do is ask about the process, and only at the end if it has gone well. Here you have to tread delicately. You can get information about how the organization hires, timing, etc. but do not ask them to do anything.

The reality is that close to zero percent of the alumni you contact will have any pull in hiring you. There are processes. There are committees. There are HR departments. There are budgets. Recommending someone for a job puts that person's reputation on the line. Do not ask someone who knows almost nothing about you to do that. If you are so impressive that they want to, they will advocate for you without being asked.

User avatar
IAFG
Posts: 6665
Joined: Mon Jun 15, 2009 1:26 pm

Re: Emailing random Alumni who have jobs.

Postby IAFG » Sat Jan 18, 2014 9:22 am

Yes you should do this, and you should do it as a 1L and beyond. You shouldn't point out that you, really, just need a job, any job. You should express an interest in the work that person seems to be doing. When you do talk to alums, part of what you're hoping for is that they'll put in a good word, but the more important information is your cover letter filler. Keep good notes so you can use what you learn both for applying at that person's firm and for other firms doing similar work. The more conversations like this you have, the more you sound like a knowledgable and sincere candidate.

User avatar
presh
Posts: 7967
Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2008 1:00 am

Re: Emailing random Alumni who have jobs.

Postby presh » Sat Jan 18, 2014 9:31 am

Also, a warning - blatantly asking for a job (rather than the informational approach people are advocating here) is likely to actually hurt you. Because at the next lunch/water cooler break/alumni happy hour that person is going to gossip about "this idiotic email I got." That's not a reputation you want.

User avatar
guano
Posts: 2268
Joined: Mon Feb 18, 2013 9:49 am

Re: Emailing random Alumni who have jobs.

Postby guano » Sat Jan 18, 2014 10:42 am

TooOld4This wrote:Do not ask for a job. Do not imply that you are asking for a job. The most you should do is ask about the process, and only at the end if it has gone well. Here you have to tread delicately. You can get information about how the organization hires, timing, etc. but do not ask them to do anything.

The reality is that close to zero percent of the alumni you contact will have any pull in hiring you. There are processes. There are committees. There are HR departments. There are budgets. Recommending someone for a job puts that person's reputation on the line. Do not ask someone who knows almost nothing about you to do that. If you are so impressive that they want to, they will advocate for you without being asked.

As an addendum to this, it may be possible to glean inside knowledge like the firm's GPA cutoffs, or how far below they might be willing to go for an exceptional candidate. It's also possible to find out which departments are under or over staffed, which might help you express the right interests in a cover letter.

These bits of information can make a big difference for the borderline candidate

Connor Benz
Posts: 113
Joined: Wed Sep 04, 2013 10:49 pm

Re: Emailing random Alumni who have jobs.

Postby Connor Benz » Sat Jan 18, 2014 12:21 pm

Ok I think I got it, and you guys can tell me if I am wrong

There is nothing wrong with emailing random alums.
However, the purpose should be to get information about the firm and a specific area of practice where I can use this information in a interview with the same firm or a another firm that does the same type of work to sound/ appear knowledgable.

In the end of all, an email to an Alum will not equate a job, but it will enhance my knowledge of a particular field of interest.

Jan 14
Posts: 24
Joined: Thu Jan 09, 2014 12:56 am

Re: Emailing random Alumni who have jobs.

Postby Jan 14 » Sat Jan 18, 2014 2:12 pm

A couple of years ago I reached out to two alumni. We did lunch (I insisted to pay even though they both offered). I received a callback from one firm (unfortunately it came too late) and the other one was a bit weird since she spent most of the time telling me how she “did it”…. her experience was sort of helpful.

Tip… let them choose the meeting place.

User avatar
BarbellDreams
Posts: 2256
Joined: Thu Mar 19, 2009 6:10 pm

Re: Emailing random Alumni who have jobs.

Postby BarbellDreams » Sat Jan 18, 2014 3:06 pm

Expect roughly a 5-10% response rate, but absolute email alumni. It can help, get your foot in the door, open up ideas about the market, and, without actually asking for a job, imply that you want a job. It truly is a win-win (unless you're super awkward, in which case, you won't be getting past the first interview anyway, so focus on being less awkward).

As far as the bill, if they work in any halfway decent firm they will pay for you. As a partner from a V100 who agreed to meet with me said"You're still looking for a job, let me do you a favor and just pay for this. Its really not a big deal." He then probably expensed it to the firm or hell, just didn't care cause my $15 lunch is like a joke to him. Either way, at worst you get a free lunch. I've had almost all of the people that agreed to meet with me pay.

fluffythepenguin
Posts: 63
Joined: Wed Jun 20, 2012 2:32 pm

Re: Emailing random Alumni who have jobs.

Postby fluffythepenguin » Sat Jan 18, 2014 3:26 pm

Related question: If a first email goes unanswered, can I send a follow up email just in case they missed it (eg. the first email was sent over the holiday break)?




Return to “Forum for Law School Students”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: AZ123, heythatslife, Hikikomorist, idissent, lakers3, ponyboy7 and 11 guests