By Ursula Furi-Perry, Esq. • August 22, 2010•Writers in Residence, Law School
Your professional career doesn’t start when you graduate law school—rather, it begins during law school. If you are a current law student, you shouldn’t just be aiming to get through your classes and coursework; you should also aim to build, cultivate and maintain a professional network of peers, attorneys and legal professionals.
A new academic year is beginning. Take this opportunity to work on your networking skills and start establishing your professional network.
Ten tips to consider:
1. First, establish professional, cordial relationships with your professors. Introduce yourself; impress in class by being prepared and attentive; and be polite, friendly but proper.
2. Talk with your professors, administrators and others you trust about your career plans, goals and interests, and ask for advice, resources and referrals.
3. Keep your interactions with faculty, staff and administrators appropriate—engaging in inappropriate relationships will undoubtedly leave an impression (whether to professors or potential employers) that you are unprofessional.
4. Also establish professional, appropriate and collegial relationships with your peers. Remember: your group of classmates will be your group of colleagues in just a few years.
5. Take every opportunity to network with attorneys. For example, attend events at your law school that will be frequented by practicing attorneys, and ask to be matched with an alumni mentor or ask to speak with alumni about the work they do.
6. Join student organizations—not only will they allow for networking opportunities, but involvement in them might also help you stand out among other job candidates.
7. Look outside the law school. Many state, national, local, and specialty bar associations allow law students to join as student members (sometimes for free or at a fraction of the cost of membership) and provide for great networking opportunities and professional development.
8. Find out about various career choices and opportunities. Don’t limit yourself: law school is the time to find out what interests you and pinpoint your career goals.
9. Use informational interviews to find out about working in a particular position, field or work environment.
10. Remember that good networking skills ought to extend to your social network--be appropriate and professional in all of your online activities and interactions!