Meet Interesting People (aka Networking)

The basic principle behind regularly meeting interesting people is that you can’t cram on creating community. Either you have diligently invested in relationships so that they are there when you need them – for a job or anything else -- or they aren’t. Treat networking like a class—create time in your schedule (an afternoon without classes) each week and use that time to meet one or two new interesting people.

Where to Start:


  1. Classmates— Friends want to work with friends, so build relationships now. Meet a classmate for lunch, walk to Café Allegro for a decent cup of coffee, scour the Ave for your new favorite happy hour spot, find a carpool buddy, create study groups, find a fellow sports fan and go to Husky games. During law school and especially after you graduate, classmates will be your #1 source of job leads. Often they will tell you about jobs that aren’t even advertised and walk your resume to the right person.
  2. Professors—Your professors are lawyers and lawyers know other lawyers, so get to know them. Ask questions either during or after class, email questions or comments about the class if you are shy, use office hours to ask questions or get feedback on how to improve your understanding of the material or test performance. This is especially important for clerkship applicants.
  3. Student Organizations—Nearly 40% of all student organizations at UW are housed within the law school, so join one! Or three. Meet 2L and 3L students and get connected with local attorneys practicing in your interest area through involvment in the Washington State, King County, or minority bar associations. Take on a project or leadership position with a student organization, if available.
  4. Lunch Speakers and Events—Go! Use these events to explore different practice areas. Never eat lunch alone -- use your lunch hour as a time to connect with others. Introduce yourself to speakers and presenters after the session, as they are often the most outgoing members of the bar. If you make a connection, consider following up with an informational interview.
  5. Your Assigned Mentor—Attend the Mentor/Mentee Reception hosted by CPLD to meet your mentor. Initiate regular contact, such as meeting at their office for coffee, attending conferences, CLEs, bar association meetings, or court appearances with your mentor. Set up a mock interview with your mentor. Ask your mentor questions about how to survive law school, choosing a career path, and what advice they have for your on how to get a job. 6. Informational Interviews—Reach out to attorneys practicing in an area that is interesting to you; invite them to coffee (you pay) at a time and place convenient for them. Gather information about what it’s really like to practice, how they got their first break, and ask what advice they wish they would have received as a law student. You are not asking for a job; you are making a connection with an interesting person that may lead to a job down the road. Keep in touch via LinkedIn if the meeting goes well.

Making Connections

  • If you have been given the name of someone and obtained permission to use the referral source’s name, email the new referral directly and ask to meet.
    • Example: “My career coach Holly Morris recommended/suggested that I contact you.”
    • Explain to the person that you are hoping to meet with them for about 30 minutes, so that you can learn about the career path and the kind of work that they do.
    • The focus is on building a relationship; this is not a job interview.
    • Try to schedule a time to meet a week or so down the road. Suggest meeting for coffee; if you suggest lunch be prepared to pay.
  • If you are sending a “cold” email to someone you would like to meet:
    • Explain to the person that you are hoping to meet with them for about 30 minutes, so that you can learn about the career path and the kind of work that they do.
    • Emphasize that you would like to learn about them and their occupation, and that YOU ARE NOT CURRENTLY SEEKING A JOB FROM THEM.
    • Give a brief explanation of who you are and what interests you about their practice area.
    • Do not send your resume or complete bio; remember that you want to keep the emphasis on them, but allow them to understand you.
    • Use a concise, relevant subject line in the email: “Informational Interview”
    • Try to schedule a time to meet a week or so down the road. Suggest meeting for 30 minutes for coffee; if you suggest lunch be prepared to pay.
  • Sample email to a new contact without a referral:
     
  • Dear Dan,

    I'm interested in learning more about what life is like for an employment attorney working for the Teamsters Union. I am a 2L student at the University of Washington School of Law and both of my parents have been involved on the labor side of unions (at Boeing and as a teacher), so I am curious to know more about what it is like to represent unions.

    Can I buy you a good cup of coffee and talk to you for 30 minutes about how you got started as an employment attorney, classes that you would recommend taking, and gather advice about how to make connections with other attorneys working in this field? My Friday afternoon is wide open and I can meet at a place that is convenient for you.

    Thanks,
    Kari Dady

Last updated 7/7/2014