The Importance of Networking in Law School?

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thenorth
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The Importance of Networking in Law School?

Postby thenorth » Thu Apr 23, 2015 9:28 pm

Hello all. I've created this thread to elicit responses mainly from current students and recent grads, but also from individuals with any familiarity or even anecdotal evidence that speaks to the importance of "networking" while in law school and how those networks impact future career prospects and local professional connections.

I'm a 0L and recently attended a dinner with current students and professors and the dean of a potential school nearby. The students seemed distinctly split between placing serious importance on the value of networking and socializing while in school and working like a dog in the library to achieve failsafe grades. Presumably the ideal studentship would involve a sensible balance of both; some schools, however, depending on rank etc., require different strategies with respect to these.

So,
For 0Ls: what approach do you intend to take with respect to networking this coming fall and why?
For current students and grads: what was your approach upon entering law school and how has it changed and why?
Last edited by thenorth on Thu Apr 23, 2015 9:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

BigZuck
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Re: The Importance of Networking in Law School?

Postby BigZuck » Thu Apr 23, 2015 9:31 pm

What do you mean by networking?

Traynor Brah
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Re: The Importance of Networking in Law School?

Postby Traynor Brah » Thu Apr 23, 2015 9:38 pm

Based on your post, I am going to suggest you resign yourself to "working like a dog in the library to achieve failsafe grades"

thenorth
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Re: The Importance of Networking in Law School?

Postby thenorth » Thu Apr 23, 2015 9:40 pm

I intentionally included the term networking in quotations because it gets tossed around a lot to mean different things. In this case I intend it to mean things like attending social events for the sole purpose of building a rolodex.

What is it, how does it work and why does it work?---or does it?
Last edited by thenorth on Thu Apr 23, 2015 9:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

thenorth
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Re: The Importance of Networking in Law School?

Postby thenorth » Thu Apr 23, 2015 9:42 pm

Traynor Brah wrote:Based on your post, I am going to suggest you resign yourself to "working like a dog in the library to achieve failsafe grades"


Please explain.

Winter is Coming
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Re: The Importance of Networking in Law School?

Postby Winter is Coming » Thu Apr 23, 2015 9:49 pm

Networking means not being a weirdo, be normal, go to events, talk to people. Especially try to establish relationships with people you work with/for at clinics, jobs and internships.

BigZuck
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Re: The Importance of Networking in Law School?

Postby BigZuck » Thu Apr 23, 2015 9:50 pm

I think just being a normal person and talking to others and making an actual human connection if at all possible is the way to go. But being a business card-collecting try hard probably works for some people too I guess. To me that's usually pretty obnoxious and I just can't hang with people who suit up at every opportunity and only want to talk to other people if they think that it will help them climb one more rung up the ladder but to each his own.

I've done "networking" events 1L year and around OCI and I don't think I've ever got anything out of them other than free booze/food and awkward conversation but I'm sure someone has benefited from those things. I'm also not the most social or extroverted person in the world, so that's probably a factor there.

You don't necessarily have to do a whole lot of networking to get a job at some schools. At other places or depending on your grades or whatever pretty much the only way you can get a job is through making personal connections. I'm not sure that's the same thing as "networking" though.

BigZuck
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Re: The Importance of Networking in Law School?

Postby BigZuck » Thu Apr 23, 2015 9:51 pm

thenorth wrote:
Traynor Brah wrote:Based on your post, I am going to suggest you resign yourself to "working like a dog in the library to achieve failsafe grades"


Please explain.

I'm not him of course but your diction is just kinda British-y or pretentious or something

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fisheatbananas
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Re: The Importance of Networking in Law School?

Postby fisheatbananas » Thu Apr 23, 2015 9:57 pm

Networking becomes more important if you attend a lower ranked school, because you'll need connections to get you jobs. Just having good grades might not be enough

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starry eyed
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Re: The Importance of Networking in Law School?

Postby starry eyed » Fri Apr 24, 2015 7:52 am

For thenorth's school, networking will be more important than grades in my opinion.

T14? less so bc most of the class is getting biglaw based off an interview that they did not have to network for

OL: i plan on taking it easy until the last month before exams, then put my head in the books.
Last edited by starry eyed on Fri Apr 24, 2015 7:53 am, edited 1 time in total.

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pancakes3
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Re: The Importance of Networking in Law School?

Postby pancakes3 » Fri Apr 24, 2015 7:53 am

thenorth wrote:
Traynor Brah wrote:Based on your post, I am going to suggest you resign yourself to "working like a dog in the library to achieve failsafe grades"


Please explain.


Hah.


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Clemenceau
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Re: The Importance of Networking in Law School?

Postby Clemenceau » Fri Apr 24, 2015 8:10 am

I think networking is worthwhile. I dont think its worth it to send a linkedin request to every fool with a jd, but making nice with established attorneys in the market where you'd like to practice seems like it would be beneficial.

Maybe some people will say its not worth the time/effort when youre a 0L cuz t14 and cuz oci, but that seems fairly shortsighted. I imagine having a solid network in place could certainly help you land on your feet post-biglaw or if you strike out or something.

But idk. 0L so I can't exactly testify to this. I might just be the strive-y type that actually believes that the insufferable small talk will pay off one day.

FloridaCoastalorbust
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Re: The Importance of Networking in Law School?

Postby FloridaCoastalorbust » Fri Apr 24, 2015 10:15 am

0L. Networking has put me in a good place. I got internships and a nice job after undergrad because of it. So I plan on doing the same in law school, b/c that's largely the way the world works. Nepotism rules the land, so take advantage of it.

As for 1L networking, I'll go to a few events and make friends early on, but I plan on making grades the fundamental priority. I'll do the brown-nosing after 1L.

Traynor Brah
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Re: The Importance of Networking in Law School?

Postby Traynor Brah » Fri Apr 24, 2015 10:30 am

FloridaCoastalorbust wrote:0L. Networking has put me in a good place. I got internships and a nice job after undergrad because of it. So I plan on doing the same in law school, b/c that's largely the way the world works. Nepotism rules the land, so take advantage of it.

You were looking for "cronyism," not nepotism

Alhe5015
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Re: The Importance of Networking in Law School?

Postby Alhe5015 » Fri Apr 24, 2015 10:32 am

BigZuck wrote:
thenorth wrote:
Traynor Brah wrote:Based on your post, I am going to suggest you resign yourself to "working like a dog in the library to achieve failsafe grades"


Please explain.

I'm not him of course but your diction is just kinda British-y or pretentious or something



"Studentship"

+1

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sd5289
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Re: The Importance of Networking in Law School?

Postby sd5289 » Fri Apr 24, 2015 10:34 am

"Networking" = boomer flame.

The connections I made working (summer jobs, RA positions, clinic) were far more valuable in landing me a FTLT job after graduation than random people I met at alumni events.

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ymmv
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Re: The Importance of Networking in Law School?

Postby ymmv » Fri Apr 24, 2015 10:34 am

If you're pursuing PI or aiming for biglaw at a school without strong OCI placement, then yes, network early and often in the least aspie way possible.

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Iwanttolawschool
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Re: The Importance of Networking in Law School?

Postby Iwanttolawschool » Fri Apr 24, 2015 10:42 am

0L here. But for me personally, I've fallen ass backwards into sweet jobs/hookups from just being social. I think if a social butterfly is at the class median, they're definitely in better shape than some awkward introvert at median.

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LawmanDan
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Re: The Importance of Networking in Law School?

Postby LawmanDan » Fri Apr 24, 2015 2:00 pm

ymmv wrote:If you're pursuing PI or aiming for biglaw at a school without strong OCI placement, then yes, network early and often in the least aspie way possible.

What's the best way to network effectively?

Traynor Brah
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Re: The Importance of Networking in Law School?

Postby Traynor Brah » Fri Apr 24, 2015 3:07 pm

LawmanDan wrote:
ymmv wrote:If you're pursuing PI or aiming for biglaw at a school without strong OCI placement, then yes, network early and often in the least aspie way possible.

What's the best way to network effectively?

again, if you have to ask ...

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starry eyed
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Re: The Importance of Networking in Law School?

Postby starry eyed » Fri Apr 24, 2015 9:11 pm

Iwanttolawschool wrote:0L here. But for me personally, I've fallen ass backwards into sweet jobs/hookups from just being social. I think if a social butterfly is at the class median, they're definitely in better shape than some awkward introvert at median.


i agree with you but damn that's a shitty way to phrase it lol

thenorth
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Re: The Importance of Networking in Law School?

Postby thenorth » Fri Apr 24, 2015 10:24 pm

Iwanttolawschool wrote:0L here. But for me personally, I've fallen ass backwards into sweet jobs/hookups from just being social. I think if a social butterfly is at the class median, they're definitely in better shape than some awkward introvert at median.


I understand being social in law school is a good way to establish basic connections with likeminded people, some of whom may eventually recommend or connect you later, as a result of your likemindedness. This is a bit different from the form of networking I originally asked about, but the distinction may be helpful. What I witnessed was people passing out business cards (some current students had created their own "business" cards) after only a few minutes of conversation. The event was a mix of lawyers and students, so this may turn out to be an extreme example. The type of socializing you mentioned is probably normal, while what I saw may become more necessary or useful only in 2L/3L. Some students also mentioned receiving work after being recommended by professors.

BigZuck
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Re: The Importance of Networking in Law School?

Postby BigZuck » Fri Apr 24, 2015 11:00 pm

What did you, personally, think when you saw those kids without jobs handing business cards to grownups?

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BmoreOrLess
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Re: The Importance of Networking in Law School?

Postby BmoreOrLess » Sat Apr 25, 2015 12:37 am

I've definitely found networking events useful just because it is one more chance to talk to an attorney which can always help prepare you for interviews. I need to frame my work experience in a way that looks better than it actually is, and the networking events have been extremely beneficial to try out different angles to see how they work in a mostly safe environment. Oh and free food/booze is pretty sweet.

As far as actually getting a job through them, they seem pretty useless.

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Big Red
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Re: The Importance of Networking in Law School?

Postby Big Red » Sat Apr 25, 2015 12:39 am

BigZuck wrote:What did you, personally, think when you saw those kids without jobs handing business cards to grownups?


People can't actually do this?




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