- “It’s not just what you know, it’s who you know.”
- “Network, network, network.”
Ok, got it. No doubt you’ve heard this advice time and time again, whether you’re a current or future law student (or any other professional really).
But while you know that the network you build is a key factor in your success, the big question for most students remains, how and where to start? Our new podcast, Networking 101, runs down the essential tips you’ll need as a law student to start you on the road to making connections that inspire, inform and provide value to you and to those you connect with.
Our guests all told us that there are a number of things that law students can do to start building a network right away.
Jessie Kornberg, is the Executive Director of Ms. JD – a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing women in law school and the legal profession.
She says there are organizations and campus activities that you can leverage to make connections. “Use Ms. JD or whatever organization, your journal or your affinity group or whatever. Use the activities that you engage in on campus to your advantage in this process and use Ms. JD as the excuse because that first act, that first cold call, is awkward. You don’t want to have to call and just say, “Hey, I’m Jessie Kornberg. I don’t know anything about what you do but I think maybe I want to do it. Will you tell me what you do and how to get your job?” That’s a terrible question to have to ask but if you can call and say, “Hey, I’m Jessie Kornberg. I’m third year student at this law school. I’m volunteering for Ms. JD and I’m putting together a panel. I wondered if I could talk to you about it.” That’s a much, much easier question to ask. I would say start with your professors. Start with your fellow students. Start with career services. Go to your alumni network and the professional bar association. Use your extracurricular activities to leverage those resources to your advantage and get started. It’s work everyday to do this but it’s still worth it.”
Northwestern law student Katherine Hayes says it may be intimidating but it’s essential to make those connections. “I think sometimes the student/professor model, particularly in law school can be a little bit intimidating and students are reticent to admit when they don’t know something or sometimes I think to approach someone who seems like an authority figure and I think it took me three years of law school to realize that that’s silly. Some of the people who have been my biggest champions in law school are my professors. Granted, I’ve done really well in their classes and I’ve worked really hard but they’re people who helped me. They’re people who have recommended that I be involved in things and asked me to be involved in things and I think that’s a huge bonus. I think students are too often frightened almost, because I don’t know what else to say, even with professors who are really approachable. I think they just don’t think about those contacts as being something that they should take advantage of. I highly recommend talking to professors and the other thing, too is even if a professor doesn’t have a direct connection for you, they know someone who does. If you’ve built the rapport and done the work, I think that that’s a great way to start building your network.”
Other guest include:
- Frank Kimball, Owner, Kimball Professional Management, a legal search firm that places partners and associates in law firms. They also speak to students at many of the nation’s top law schools and write about legal careers. Kimball is also a Principal in Kimball Partner Group, a partner level attorney search firm.
- Kimberly Encinas, a litigator at Munger, Tolles & Olsen, LLP in Los Angeles.
Tune in to the full show to hear more on this topic!