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Networking Advice for Law Students Part IV: Pay It Forward (Be the Person Your Network Turns to for Help)

Women helping women. That's my motivation. It doesn't have to be yours (although if you haven't made a conscious decision to invest in women's success I challenge you to come up with a decent reason why not). If you're not feeling particularly altruistic, consider this: your network is only as valuable as your contacts think it is.

Don’t expect your professional network to pay dividends unless you are willing to earn it. This is basic golden rule stuff, you know “do unto others” and all that good stuff:

My network consists primarily of folks I contact through Ms. JD who help me with outreach to other students and professionals, who write guest posts for the blog, and who participate in Ms. JD events and programs. In return I provide all kinds of help: When NAWJ had an internship I not only posted it on Ms. JD, I got in touch with my contacts in D.C. and alerted student groups to the opportunity. When Catalyst issues a new report I ensure Ms. JD covers the release and analyzes the findings. When a 3L organizer at a local Ms. JD student group needs clerkship application advice I schedule a lunch and put her in contact with other contacts who are clerking for judges she’s considering.

Different connections will come to you with different requests. Be ready and willing to help out. Create an atmosphere of generous support and you can expect to encounter the same. You won’t regret it.

OK, that makes four:

1. Don't Waste Your Time Being Miserable - Network Through Something Interesting
2. Embrace the Professional Association Member Within
3. Follow-Up (Even on Business Cards) No Matter How Awkward
4. Pay It Forward (Be the Person Your Network Turns to for Help When You Can Give It)

 

Last, but not least, next week we conclude the series with:

5. The Harder You Work, The Luckier You'll Be

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