By Jessica Nwokocha • July 16, 2012•Law School
School is out and ideally you would like to find yourself lying on a beach somewhere, spending the entire summer resting up from the marathon of a year that you endured. Reality has it that you really cannot afford to spend your summer lounging around. You can use the summer to get ahead, make your mark, and forge connections within the legal community. If you failed to network during the school year, summer is the perfect time to flex your social muscles. Here are 8 Ways to Be Productive Over Your Law School Summers:
1. Connect with all or most of your current contacts. Recall those individuals that you have fallen out of touch with over the past year or so? Well now is the perfect time to reconnect. Specifically with those people located in the city where you would like to work or the city that you are working in during the summer. Don’t be afraid to make contact. Chances are that if you made a good first impression on them, they would love to hear from you and receive any life updates you might have.
2. Lunch, lunch, and more lunch. Working professionals enjoy the infamous lunch hour when they can manage to leave their desks. If you are able to set up some lunch meetings, this would be a great way to link up with legal professionals, mentors, potential employers, etc. over the summer. This allows you more room to connect on a more personal level. Just make sure that you prepare by researching the individual you will be meeting with and establishing talking points beforehand.
3. Read up on the legal area that interests you, look at blogs, scholarly articles, news sites, etc. It is always helpful to be well versed on legal topics, partly because they make great conversation starters when talking to attorneys. If you know for sure what type of law you would like to practice, it never hurts to know about the current issues impacting that area. Being able to talk about those issues is a good indicator that your stated interest is reinforced.
4. Apply for law school scholarships. Let’s face it, applying for additional financial aid can be a tedious venture on top of the hustle and bustle of law school. There is an apparent lack of time when the school year is in full effect. But now that you have more free time on your hands, use some of that time to research and apply for a few of the many scholarships that are available.
5. Get to know the attorneys working in your place of summer employment. The first step to this is simply greeting everyone that you come across. A simple “good morning” or “how are you [insert name]?” never hurt anyone. These acts of politeness can help coin you as someone who is pleasant to work with and can lead to further conversations. Greetings will also help to make you comfortable sparking more meaningful conversation with the attorneys you encounter, who can serve as sound resources and provide a wealth of knowledge during your internship.
6. Make connections with other law students. If your internship or externship is buzzing with law students from all over the country, do not miss out on the opportunity to expand your network with other amazing students who will be potential colleagues. Be sure to go out for one-on-one or group lunches and to intern activities planned outside of work.
7. Join legal organizations. Have you been able to save up some money over the summer or have some extra funds? Well fill out a membership application for legal groups in the city where you are located or are interested in practicing. This is a wonderful way to meet working attorneys in your prospective practice area. In addition, make an effort to join specific sections of those organizations, which will allow you to meet individuals who can provide you with focused tips and advice.
8. Attend as many legal events over the summer as possible - Job Fairs, Professional Mixers, etc. Legal events can offer great assistance in casting your job search net far and wide. You never know who you will meet, how they may be able to help you in the future, or who they might be able to put you in touch with. This may force you to step outside of your comfort zone. But go ahead and give yourself a slight push and a dose of courage because the benefits of meeting new people at these types of events can end up paying dividends.