PART TWO - FIRST THINGS FIRST - BAR ASSOCIATIONS
During orientation week in the main forum area (if you visited the campus this is the area where the tables are and the big wide hall that leads through the building from the front doors, its named after Dean Yegge who was a great man I had the pleasure of taking a class with before he died, well he actually died during our class, but he was the best of the best) there will be booths for all types of student groups and organizations. They will have info about joining, about law reviews, about moot court, about everything. There will be one booth with almost no students at it. This is the American Bar Association booth. GO TO IT. Everyone else will ignore it, watch, tell me if I'm wrong.
Anyway the ABA is the national organization for lawyers. It's not that great for local networking, but by joining you get some resources that I found very valuable. Its $25 (or was when I joined) and for that you get a magazine called 'Student Lawyer" which is pretty good and always has some decent tips, tricks and advice on law school, hot practice areas, legal writing, job tips ect.
You also get the ABA magazine which is really good for finding out what is actually going on in the real legal world. Places like Above the Law are great if you plan to work at a huge firm in NYC but completely useless for info about the profession for 99.9% of the rest of us. The ABA rags are much better for knowing what's really going on, what the trends are ect.
If you want to join a particular section group, like say the Environmental law Section or the Trial lawyers Section that might add 10-15 dollars each section to your membership. No real reason to do this now unless you know you want to practice X. You will also get the ABA e-mail newsletters and a chance to be part of the ABA government as a student representative if you wish. Again not all that helpful for Denver stuff, but worth the $25 a year if for nothing more than learning the lingo and how the profession actually works outside in the real world. Join if you can unless your flat ass broke.
The CBA (or the Colorado Bar Association) join this. There won't a be a booth at the school likely, and you don't even need to wait till school starts, just as soon as you get your law.du.edu email join. ITS FREAKING FREE. Sadly most of your classmates won't even know it exists till like 2L. Join it. Why law students don't join the local bar association of the profession they want to enter is beyond me, but most don't.
Again if you want to join specific sections that will cost extra, no need yet unless you know for sure you want to practice X. Once you join and get your membership number go to the website and join as many of the free list servers as you can. Young lawyers Division is good, Student Section is good, Jobs one is good (jobes one now lets you see what types of jobs are being offered, what skills are requested and who's highering, good info to keep tabs on all through law school to spot trends/firms for later research). The CBA sends out weekly e-mail newsletters that list all the upcoming events and functions, this will be critical for networking (more on the where/when/how in later posts). Membership website: --LinkRemoved--
(DBA) Denver Bar Association your membership in the CBA includes membership in one of the local bar associations, for most of you, you will want to choose the Denver bar Association, but if you want to work elsewhere in the state then choose to join that bar association imstead so you get info on what's going on there function and event wise that you could attend.
(SBA) Student Bar Association - the names kind of a misnomer, it's really the student government. It's pretty much just the school, and you will be working with the school and other law students, Great if your a student government type, and they do work their ass off for us students, but you're not going to be meeting many working lawyers or judges through the SBA, mostly just other law students. Good organization, join if you wish get involved, JUST REMEMBER TO GET OUT OF THE SCHOOL AND MEET WORKING LAWYERS AND JUDGES. Networking with your classmates is great, but they won't have jobs to offer you and may even be competing with your for the same job. Just something to consider. The SBA is NOT a replacement for joing the CBA is what I am trying to say (but you can do both, nothing wrong with that so long as you remember what I wrote in all caps above!)
A note on student groups. They are great ways to get to know about a field of law, to meet people with similar interests and to make friends. I encourage you look around and maybe join a few BUT REMEMBER YOUR NETWORKING SHOULD BE FOCUSED ON OUTSIDE OF SCHOOL. You need to meet real lawyers and judges too, not sjut law students. You also don't have to join up right away, you can join most student groups anytime.
PRO TIP: Almost every student group will have regular meetings between noon-1Pm at least once a month and they invite everyone to come (there is at least one like everyday for some group). Go to these, see what they are about. But the biggest tip: THEY GIVE U FREE FOOD! I'm a pasty white fat guy, but I went to the Black Students Association meetings, the Gay Students Associations Meeting, the Lantino/a, the Women's Student Association, the Law Republicans, the Law Demarcates, hell if we had a commie group I would have gone to that too. Why? Because I did not pay for lunch for two years straight
They ALWAYS HAVE MORE FOOD THEN THEY NEED, you will see leftovers in every classroom. So go, eat their food, listen to their speech and join up if you like. But seriously if you do it right there is no reason you need to ever buy lunch agan.
Personal example of the above suggestions two: When you fill out your bar app you need to list 3 or 4 (can't remember) lawyers or judges as personal references. I was shocked, stunned, and a bit outraged at how many of my intelligent, hard working well meaning classmates could not find three lawyers or judges they knew well enough do this after four years in law school (I was in the part-time program). Seriously WTF. The most common reason for this was while they had internships or clerking jobs they never really connected with their employers, or stayed connected after they left. That, or just as common, there were so involved in school groups they never got out into the real legal world to meet actual people who were already lawyers and judges. Don't fall in that trap. Be active in school, but make time to be active in the real legal community as well, that pays off more in the long run.