networking summer before law school

A forum for applicants and admitted students to ask law students and graduates about law school and the practice of law.
pixy22
Posts: 12
Joined: Thu Sep 15, 2016 12:37 am

networking summer before law school

Postby pixy22 » Thu Jun 22, 2017 2:17 pm

Hello! I start 1L this fall. Do you think it's okay to reach out to alums to meet for coffee? There are a few that went to both my college and law school. Or should I wait until school starts? Also, I live in a major city and several firms there are having networking receptions for law students. Do you think I could start attending those?

I plan on updating my resume this summer and starting draft cover letters. Also, I hope to start creating a list of firms to apply to.

For 2Ls/3Ls, is there anything you wish you had done as a 1L in terms of networking/building contacts?

User avatar
UVA2B
Posts: 3128
Joined: Sun May 22, 2016 10:48 pm

Re: networking summer before law school

Postby UVA2B » Thu Jun 22, 2017 3:24 pm

There is nothing wrong with reaching out to alumni from your school and inquiring about getting coffee. You might get cold-shouldered/ignored quite a bit because people tend to be busy and don't have time to waste on meeting up with 0Ls to discuss law school or whatever, but you might get one or two to agree to it. I doubt anyone who didn't like it would ever give it more than a prompt delete and move on.

Do not try to attend networking events designed for law students. These are events that are part of a recruiting effort by the firm for rising 2Ls to gain interest in applying to the firm for next summer. It's not for incoming 1Ls to get a jump start on networking (at least in every reception I've been to or heard about. I'm open to being wrong on this if a practicing attorney wants to trump this).

You're probably getting a little ahead of yourself in the career planning now. Your resume will likely be completely redone in the fashion legal employers will expect it to be, and that will be provided by your career services. Similarly, your career services will likely have writing workshops that put you in a great position to draft effective cover letters, and their guidance will be helpful enough that anything you write now you'll like scrap when that time comes.

As for 1L year, it'll partially depend on what you want to do, but your primary focus needs to be school and grades. Firms interested in your law school will hold networking events in the spring of 1L year that gives you every opportunity to learn how to interact with practicing attorneys and to hone your ability to make small talk amongst lawyers.

It's your last summer before embarking on this career. Enjoy that fact and worry less about getting ahead of the curve at Hastings in networking. If you want Biglaw out of Hastings, you're going to need to kill 1L year academically first and foremost, which you mostly can't prepare for now.

User avatar
mjb447
Posts: 1242
Joined: Fri Jul 26, 2013 4:36 am

Re: networking summer before law school

Postby mjb447 » Thu Jun 22, 2017 3:40 pm

UVA2B wrote:Do not try to attend networking events designed for law students. These are events that are part of a recruiting effort by the firm for rising 2Ls to gain interest in applying to the firm for next summer. It's not for incoming 1Ls to get a jump start on networking (at least in every reception I've been to or heard about. I'm open to being wrong on this if a practicing attorney wants to trump this).

This is consistent with my limited experience and with what I've heard from others. If any attorneys remember a 0L from an event like this, it's as likely to be for negative reasons ("Remember that weird 0L who didn't understand the purpose of this event and tried to corner you and talk your ear off?") as positive ones. Unless, I suppose, the materials for the event specifically mention that 0Ls are welcome.

nyu2019maybeplease
Posts: 99
Joined: Fri Jul 08, 2016 12:54 pm

Re: networking summer before law school

Postby nyu2019maybeplease » Thu Jun 22, 2017 6:38 pm

Technically, I've seen a few 0Ls at the NYC events this summer. That said, they were all SEO fellows (if that's what the program calls them) at the relevant firm.

That said, if hastings is anything like my school culturally, nothing wrong with shooting out some 'can we grab coffee?' e-mails.

Mockingbird42
Posts: 35
Joined: Thu Dec 03, 2015 7:03 pm

Re: networking summer before law school

Postby Mockingbird42 » Fri Jun 23, 2017 12:02 am

If you are trying to network, make sure you know why its worth it to start now rather than waiting 3 months. I networked before a I started law school but I did so 1) to make sure I knew enough about law to justify giving up my 100K+ job and moving away from my family and 2) to start looking for a job in a very specialized area of law.

If you don't already know 100% what your want to do after you graduate, there is no reason to start now. I agree with the above poster; its going to come across as weird. There is no harm in waiting until school starts.

User avatar
renc56
Posts: 331
Joined: Fri Dec 02, 2016 1:26 pm

Re: networking summer before law school

Postby renc56 » Sat Jun 24, 2017 2:43 pm

SEOS, particularly those in NYC, are invited to these networking receptions. I had the opportunity as a 0L/SEO to go to my firm's reception earlier this summer and see how rising 2Ls interacted with attorneys. Prior to the students' arrival, our HR sent out a firm-wide e-mail with everyone's resume, the attendance list, and which candidates they had met at other events/wanted to keep in touch with.

While it's fun to drink free alcohol and eat food, not sure how useful it is for a 0L if you are not in SEO or in a non-NYC/DC city as a SEO. I'm only going to one networking event because a former SEO (practicing attorney for a few years) recommended that I go and meet with certain people. Otherwise I doubt it'll be useful but at least I won't have to cook dinner that night?

Edit: Also people will be confused af if you're a 0L at these events. So if you're not invited, it would be weird to ask for an invite.

carsondalywashere
Posts: 474
Joined: Tue Apr 04, 2017 7:33 pm

Re: networking summer before law school

Postby carsondalywashere » Wed Jul 12, 2017 6:15 pm

Would winter break be a better time for networking since you've at least started law school and will have more to discuss? I was planning on reaching out to alums in my home market before school started, but most of my questions are very generic employment ones or are related to law school.

mrtux45
Posts: 241
Joined: Thu Oct 20, 2016 9:08 am

Re: networking summer before law school

Postby mrtux45 » Thu Jul 13, 2017 9:44 am

I think winter makes more sense than right now. I've tried reaching out to alums of my undergrad/lawschool in jobs that I want. I cold emailed maybe 20 people over a span of a couple of months and got responses from about half..most of those responses came when my email was more focused on choosing a law school rather than generic job questions.

Based on my experience, something that a previous poster mentioned seems to be true: these people are busy and talking to a 0L about law school is literally their lowest priority (which is completely fair and expected, imo)

User avatar
Nebby
amateur huffpo
Posts: 30524
Joined: Sat Feb 01, 2014 12:23 pm

Re: networking summer before law school

Postby Nebby » Sun Jul 16, 2017 8:37 am

Wait until you have a semester of school before networking. Otherwise, you won't have much to talk about. Ideally, start reaching out to alums right after New Year's.

However, if there is a 1L summer job you're interested in and an alum works there, then reach out in early November and try to set up an informational interview. You can't start applying to summer internships as a 1L until December 1st (ABA rule), so setting it up in early November will provide you adequate time and you'll at least have something to talk about then.

Informational interview is a common term and people understand it as basically a "so what do you do?" type of meeting. As a bonus, informational interviews can turn into something more. I had an informational interview fall of 2L and it turned into a unicorn internship during spring 2L.

carsondalywashere
Posts: 474
Joined: Tue Apr 04, 2017 7:33 pm

Re: networking summer before law school

Postby carsondalywashere » Wed Jul 19, 2017 10:02 pm

Nebby wrote:Wait until you have a semester of school before networking. Otherwise, you won't have much to talk about. Ideally, start reaching out to alums right after New Year's.

However, if there is a 1L summer job you're interested in and an alum works there, then reach out in early November and try to set up an informational interview. You can't start applying to summer internships as a 1L until December 1st (ABA rule), so setting it up in early November will provide you adequate time and you'll at least have something to talk about then.

Informational interview is a common term and people understand it as basically a "so what do you do?" type of meeting. As a bonus, informational interviews can turn into something more. I had an informational interview fall of 2L and it turned into a unicorn internship during spring 2L.

I'm going to go this route.


Btw, is it insane to message a partner/firm shareholder/very senior associate from your law school/undergrad/high school?

User avatar
existentialcrisis
Posts: 488
Joined: Mon Mar 21, 2016 11:23 pm

Re: networking summer before law school

Postby existentialcrisis » Wed Jul 19, 2017 10:22 pm

carsondalywashere wrote:
Btw, is it insane to message a partner/firm shareholder/very senior associate from your law school/undergrad/high school?


The times I've done it I always did a more junior person, because I assumed they'd be more into talking to me than someone more senior but I don't actually know that that's the case.

I think undergrad/law school is fine, even better if they went to both. I personally wouldn't have done high school, but I went to a big public school. I actually think high school alums could be great for networking if you went someplace with a strong alumni network that people stay connected to.

carsondalywashere
Posts: 474
Joined: Tue Apr 04, 2017 7:33 pm

Re: networking summer before law school

Postby carsondalywashere » Thu Jul 20, 2017 8:50 am

existentialcrisis wrote:
carsondalywashere wrote:
Btw, is it insane to message a partner/firm shareholder/very senior associate from your law school/undergrad/high school?


The times I've done it I always did a more junior person, because I assumed they'd be more into talking to me than someone more senior but I don't actually know that that's the case.

I think undergrad/law school is fine, even better if they went to both. I personally wouldn't have done high school, but I went to a big public school. I actually think high school alums could be great for networking if you went someplace with a strong alumni network that people stay connected to.


I guess I could be the guinea pig and report back :lol:

User avatar
Nebby
amateur huffpo
Posts: 30524
Joined: Sat Feb 01, 2014 12:23 pm

Re: networking summer before law school

Postby Nebby » Thu Jul 20, 2017 10:12 am

To be honest, high school could only work in certain circumstances.

For instance, if you went to a large public high school, it probably doesn't make much sense. Perhaps if you went to a small rural high school or small private school, I could understand it. I went to a small rural high school with a graduating class of 33 students, so if anyone reached out to me who also went there I would definitely meet them as I like to help others from my hometown succeed. But if I grew up in say the Dallas metro area and went to a high school with 1500 students, then I'd think it was a little odd.




Return to “Ask a Law Student / Graduate”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: SolemnMan and 5 guests