Networking Question

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RCO2012
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Networking Question

Postby RCO2012 » Wed Dec 18, 2013 12:20 pm

I hope someone has some advice on this. I am hoping to gain some contacts that I can keep in touch with as I roll into my 1L year next fall. I currently live in my target market, and so of course, I would like to initiate relationships prior to leaving for LS that I can maintain during 1L. The company I currently work for utilizes a firm that I am interested in and the firm also has alumni from my future school which practice in the area I'm most interested in. Obviously, I'm hoping to build a networking relationship foremost and if that turns into an offer for an SA position, that would be great, if not, that's fine as well; however, I will not solicit any type of SA information as I believe that would not be appropriate since I currently work for their client. Can anyone give me some advice on getting in touch with these people (I have their contact information), I'm just not sure what the proper/best way is to initiate a conversation of this nature through email. Should I mention that I am an employee of one of their clients? I work in an executive position that works closely with legal, so if needed I could glean some information on the firm from our counsel if anyone thinks that would be necessary or helpful. Any advice would be appreciated.

Thank you!

RCO

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RCO2012
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Re: Networking Question

Postby RCO2012 » Wed Dec 18, 2013 9:28 pm

Anyone?

TooOld4This
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Re: Networking Question

Postby TooOld4This » Thu Dec 19, 2013 8:22 am

Does your current employer know you are leaving? If so, this is easy. Stroll down to legal. "Hey Bob, you know I'm going to law school in the fall, right? I was wondering if you could recommend someone at FirmImInterestedIn who might be willing to talk to me. I think I'm interested in X practice area, so that would be ideal, but at this point I think I would benefit from speaking to anyone, since my questions are still very general at this point."

If your current employer doesn't know, then think twice about reaching out now, since it could get back. If you aren't worried about it getting back, just send an email to the alumnus in he practice group you want, explaining you are starting SameLawSchool next year and are interested in TheLawTheWebSiteSaysTheyPractice and ask to meet for coffee. No need to drop the name of your present employer in this case.

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MarkinKansasCity
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Re: Networking Question

Postby MarkinKansasCity » Thu Dec 19, 2013 8:31 am

Another possibility is to ask the school(s) you applied/were admitted to to put you in touch with their alumni. I spoke to 6 alumni at various firms in the area before I started law school this way. I've made it a point to reach out to them just often enough so that they remember who I am. The law schools were happy to do it, especially since in my case it was in the context of deciding where to go. It's also a great excuse to ask for a meeting, since you don't need anything from them yet.

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RCO2012
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Re: Networking Question

Postby RCO2012 » Thu Dec 19, 2013 12:25 pm

TooOld4This wrote:Does your current employer know you are leaving? If so, this is easy. Stroll down to legal. "Hey Bob, you know I'm going to law school in the fall, right? I was wondering if you could recommend someone at FirmImInterestedIn who might be willing to talk to me. I think I'm interested in X practice area, so that would be ideal, but at this point I think I would benefit from speaking to anyone, since my questions are still very general at this point."

If your current employer doesn't know, then think twice about reaching out now, since it could get back. If you aren't worried about it getting back, just send an email to the alumnus in he practice group you want, explaining you are starting SameLawSchool next year and are interested in TheLawTheWebSiteSaysTheyPractice and ask to meet for coffee. No need to drop the name of your present employer in this case.


Current employer knows that I'm going to law school, but I don't think they have put two and two together yet (I report to the President, not legal). If I wanted to avoid dropping the name of the company, could I mention some other ties that may involve the company without directly stating their name and still be safe in your opinion? For instance, if I said something along the lines of "I work for a company that has utilized your firm in the past and was impressed with the work completed"? I'm not sure if I should be worried about it getting back or not since they are already aware that I'm going to law school. I also have some other ties to the firm, for instance a couple of their senior partners conducted sessions that I attended at a conference last year that was focused on their main practice area. They also have monthly information sessions that focus on regulatory law (which is what I focus on in my current position) that I have attended pretty consistently over the last year. Any of this worth mentioning? I know in my region (a major market that has a lot of alumni from the school I will be attending) it is sometimes important to stand out from the other hundreds of individuals that are current students or recent graduates for them to have a reason to want to actually speak with you in any significant capacity long term. Thanks for your suggestions!

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RCO2012
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Re: Networking Question

Postby RCO2012 » Thu Dec 19, 2013 12:28 pm

MarkinKansasCity wrote:Another possibility is to ask the school(s) you applied/were admitted to to put you in touch with their alumni. I spoke to 6 alumni at various firms in the area before I started law school this way. I've made it a point to reach out to them just often enough so that they remember who I am. The law schools were happy to do it, especially since in my case it was in the context of deciding where to go. It's also a great excuse to ask for a meeting, since you don't need anything from them yet.


I've already committed to the school, because it is my top choice, so I can't use that last suggestion. I have asked the Director of Admissions (because he offered) to put me in touch with an alumnus of the school that focused on the practice area that I'm interested in. However, that was almost a month ago, so I'm not sure how long I should wait for a response from him before following up (especially since it's around the holidays now). Or should I just shoot an email to the generic admissions address noting that I had previously contacted the director, but I understand he is busy, so I wanted to follow up through this address?

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bandenjamin
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Re: Networking Question

Postby bandenjamin » Thu Dec 19, 2013 1:04 pm

Get in touch with the alumnus at the firm, ask if they want to go have coffee and tell war stories. Actively engage in listening to their stories about law school, law, and life in general. Don't worry about a potential future job. While you might know all about being an executive, you don't know a damn thing about law, or law culture. Take the opportunity to learn about that. They'll understand, they were there once too. If it turns in to a job later, great, if it doesn't then you'll have a new friend, which is also great.

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RCO2012
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Re: Networking Question

Postby RCO2012 » Thu Dec 19, 2013 1:16 pm

bandenjamin wrote:Get in touch with the alumnus at the firm, ask if they want to go have coffee and tell war stories. Actively engage in listening to their stories about law school, law, and life in general. Don't worry about a potential future job. While you might know all about being an executive, you don't know a damn thing about law, or law culture. Take the opportunity to learn about that. They'll understand, they were there once too. If it turns in to a job later, great, if it doesn't then you'll have a new friend, which is also great.


Agreed. I'm pretty sure I can't solicit information regarding a job in any case as I'm currently employed by a client of theirs, so that is not the intent. I just want to make sure I have the opportunity to meet with the person prior to leaving the region. Also, is it common for them to want to meet during business hours (their main location is about 45 minutes from where I work). I don't want to solicit an opportunity to meet and then not be able to meet at the time they requested. I would guess that they would be reasonable about this, but I've also heard stories that imply that no matter what time or day they say, you must be available. I think the firm in my region only has one alumnus at the associate level, should I focus on them or should I also get in touch with the principal and counsel that are also alumni? Should I try to speak with the associate first, then go to the principal/counsel if I'm not successful? Also, I'm guessing I should wait until after the holidays are over to even try to get in touch, right?

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bandenjamin
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Re: Networking Question

Postby bandenjamin » Thu Dec 19, 2013 1:27 pm

RCO2012 wrote:
bandenjamin wrote:Get in touch with the alumnus at the firm, ask if they want to go have coffee and tell war stories. Actively engage in listening to their stories about law school, law, and life in general. Don't worry about a potential future job. While you might know all about being an executive, you don't know a damn thing about law, or law culture. Take the opportunity to learn about that. They'll understand, they were there once too. If it turns in to a job later, great, if it doesn't then you'll have a new friend, which is also great.


Agreed. I'm pretty sure I can't solicit information regarding a job in any case as I'm currently employed by a client of theirs, so that is not the intent. I just want to make sure I have the opportunity to meet with the person prior to leaving the region. Also, is it common for them to want to meet during business hours (their main location is about 45 minutes from where I work). I don't want to solicit an opportunity to meet and then not be able to meet at the time they requested. I would guess that they would be reasonable about this, but I've also heard stories that imply that no matter what time or day they say, you must be available. I think the firm in my region only has one alumnus at the associate level, should I focus on them or should I also get in touch with the principal and counsel that are also alumni? Should I try to speak with the associate first, then go to the principal/counsel if I'm not successful? Also, I'm guessing I should wait until after the holidays are over to even try to get in touch, right?


Personally I'd reach out to all of them, and see if you can be available when they are. Think of it more along the lines of hanging out with a new friend to get their side of stuff. Law school is a long grind, and you don't know for sure where you'll be on the other side of it. You might decide your passion is in maritime law and you'll focus exclusively on that in practice, having no further interest in the firm you previously were hoping to work at, but you'll still have those awesome contacts to refer you cases when their buddy's Yacht is sunk because a dock owner refused to let them tie down in the storm. (Torts sucks FWIW).

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RCO2012
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Re: Networking Question

Postby RCO2012 » Thu Dec 19, 2013 2:50 pm

bandenjamin wrote:
RCO2012 wrote:
bandenjamin wrote:Get in touch with the alumnus at the firm, ask if they want to go have coffee and tell war stories. Actively engage in listening to their stories about law school, law, and life in general. Don't worry about a potential future job. While you might know all about being an executive, you don't know a damn thing about law, or law culture. Take the opportunity to learn about that. They'll understand, they were there once too. If it turns in to a job later, great, if it doesn't then you'll have a new friend, which is also great.


Agreed. I'm pretty sure I can't solicit information regarding a job in any case as I'm currently employed by a client of theirs, so that is not the intent. I just want to make sure I have the opportunity to meet with the person prior to leaving the region. Also, is it common for them to want to meet during business hours (their main location is about 45 minutes from where I work). I don't want to solicit an opportunity to meet and then not be able to meet at the time they requested. I would guess that they would be reasonable about this, but I've also heard stories that imply that no matter what time or day they say, you must be available. I think the firm in my region only has one alumnus at the associate level, should I focus on them or should I also get in touch with the principal and counsel that are also alumni? Should I try to speak with the associate first, then go to the principal/counsel if I'm not successful? Also, I'm guessing I should wait until after the holidays are over to even try to get in touch, right?


Personally I'd reach out to all of them, and see if you can be available when they are. Think of it more along the lines of hanging out with a new friend to get their side of stuff. Law school is a long grind, and you don't know for sure where you'll be on the other side of it. You might decide your passion is in maritime law and you'll focus exclusively on that in practice, having no further interest in the firm you previously were hoping to work at, but you'll still have those awesome contacts to refer you cases when their buddy's Yacht is sunk because a dock owner refused to let them tie down in the storm. (Torts sucks FWIW).


And if I'm not available when they are how should I respond? I don't want to gain an enemy in an attempt to secure a new "friend."

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bandenjamin
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Re: Networking Question

Postby bandenjamin » Thu Dec 19, 2013 8:31 pm

You might try clearing as much time as you can for a couple days, then suggest those ones. Just be as flexible as you can, they are busy and should understand that you are too. It's not one you're blowing them off to hang out with friends. Be honest about the other time commitment, and decide which is more important if it's borderline.

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RCO2012
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Re: Networking Question

Postby RCO2012 » Thu Dec 19, 2013 8:59 pm

Great! Thanks! Should I suggest dates when I first email or just ask if they would be open to grabbing coffee and let them suggest a date?

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bandenjamin
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Re: Networking Question

Postby bandenjamin » Thu Dec 19, 2013 11:02 pm

Personally I would try to include something at the end, like

I was wondering if you would be available to meet for coffee next Thursday or Friday (pick days where you have the most flexibility)

Keep it really lose and open, but give them a starting point so it doesn't turn in to an "I dunno, what do YOU wanna do" thing. It helps to have a starting point, so they can respond with "Sorry really swamped this week, but I might have some free time next Wednesday around lunch." If you're busy then, try to see if you can reschedule whatever you've got going on, if you can't. then in your reply make sure to note what you have going on, and provide them with your "normal" free times.

"Shoot, I've got an important presentation that day, I'm usually free Tuesdays and Thursdays if either of those work out for you. I'm really looking forward to meeting with you and hearing your perspectives......"

Make sure they don't get the impression you're saying no because you've just got something else you'd rather be doing.

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RCO2012
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Re: Networking Question

Postby RCO2012 » Fri Dec 20, 2013 5:48 am

bandenjamin wrote:Personally I would try to include something at the end, like

I was wondering if you would be available to meet for coffee next Thursday or Friday (pick days where you have the most flexibility)

Keep it really lose and open, but give them a starting point so it doesn't turn in to an "I dunno, what do YOU wanna do" thing. It helps to have a starting point, so they can respond with "Sorry really swamped this week, but I might have some free time next Wednesday around lunch." If you're busy then, try to see if you can reschedule whatever you've got going on, if you can't. then in your reply make sure to note what you have going on, and provide them with your "normal" free times.

"Shoot, I've got an important presentation that day, I'm usually free Tuesdays and Thursdays if either of those work out for you. I'm really looking forward to meeting with you and hearing your perspectives......"

Make sure they don't get the impression you're saying no because you've just got something else you'd rather be doing.


Great thanks for all your help.




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