Having Coffee with an attorney

“Go ask an attorney out to coffee, they’ll totally say yes!” – Every career services office at every law school ever.

Needless to say, I’ve done it twice. The first time, the attorney was really nice but really realistic and essentially told me that I’d never be hired in biglaw because of my grades, so I should look elsewhere and not think any less of myself if I work as in-house counsel or in the government.

This was my reaction

He was right, I didn’t get hired and I don’t want to do biglaw. I want to have a life even if that means not earning $100,000+ my first day out of law school. I’m okay with that.

I’m having coffee with an attorney at the firm I work with now who is an alum of the fellowship I’m currently in. Here are some tips to make sure you’re getting everything out of this meeting.

1. Do some basic research on the person you’re meeting. Know where they work, what school they went to, and if they’re worked other places.
2. Bring a notebook with any questions you have and a pen to write down their answers. For instance, if you’re interested in a particular field and that attorney works in that field, ask them how they got there. What jobs did they have before hand? What classes did they take? Did they do any clinics? Internships? Externships?
3. Depending on the attorney (one you work with vs. one you don’t know), bring a resume. Some will give you tips on how to revise it, and will be able to tailor their advice to your experiences.
4. Besides asking questions, ask for advice. How do they balance work/family life? How late should you stay at work? How can you impress the partner? What is something they know now, but didn’t know when they started that they wished they did?
5. Offer to pay for their coffee. Chances are they’ll say no, but it’s still a nice thing to do.
6. Keep the meeting between 30-60 minutes.
7. Ask for their business card.
8. Send a follow up email the second you’re able to. Thank them for taking the time out of their busy day to meet with you and how valuable you’ve found their advice. They might not answer right away, if at all, but they will read it and feel good.

Remember, that attorney, at one time or another, was exactly where you are right now. Don’t be intimidated. Be friendly.

Want to Build Business? Here’s How to Be a Better Networker

These are great tips for law students about how to have a successful networking experience. Don’t forget to bring and ask for business cards and send a follow up email the next day!

The National Law Forum

Few would argue that networking always has been and likely always will be an important aspect of building and maintaining a successful law practice. Networking is how lawyers connect with prospective clients and referral sources, build trust and loyalty, and develop the types of individual relationships that can lead to new business.

It’s also time-consuming and, for most of us, not particularly easy or fun.

So, it is not surprising that more and more busy lawyers have embraced social media and digital marketing to expand their network of contacts. While these tools give us a platform for making connections on a large scale, the relationships we develop this way typically are not as deep as those we nurture through in-person contact.

6 Lawyer Networking FAQS

When coaching attorneys on their business development activities, I frequently am asked for pointers for how to make in-person networking less time-consuming and more effective…

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I like the way you work it. No diggity.

I sing that to myself every morning when I walk into work. If I don’t treat myself like the badass I am, who will?

Tomorrow is the end of my second week of my summer job at a law firm and I’ve learned so many new things! For instance, don’t email the woman who has 243 unread emails in her inbox for help. Chances are she won’t answer and you’ll miss a chance to sit in with a partner in a new client meeting.

Me when I found out I missed my 10 AM meeting with a partner

Talk about a great impression! I’m so glad that I was able to finish a brief instead of selling myself like career services told me to do. Speaking of other things career services told us to do, they never told us how to handle a happy hour with the firm. I mean, it seemed easy enough: go to the happy hour, DO NOT get drunk, tell a few stories/make everybody fall in love with me/make them realize I would be perfect to offer a job to and then go home. Unfortunately, they never said what to do if the partners go on about their houses and boats in the Hamptons and how to handle the feelings of mediocrity.

Here are some other tidbits of advice I picked up:

Tip #1. Always be the best dressed intern in the office. If you don’t have great business clothes (like me), just pray the other interns dress worse than you. AKA always keep a pair of heels and a blazer at work and only wear your hair in a ponytail once a week.
Tip #2. If your firm says there is free coffee in the kitchen, and to help yourself to it, drink 24 ounces a day to show them that you take their advice seriously. Whenever you get coffee, rush back to your seat so you look incredibly busy and stressed so they can see you mean business
Tip #3: Pray that you sit in a desk that everybody has to walk by first thing in the morning. This way everybody will see you were there earlier than them and left later than them. Also, hope that seat is by a bathroom because there’s nothing worse than walking across the entire floor 12 times a day because of that 24 oz coffee you drank.
Tip #4: If badges are required to get into the building, make sure that you’re going into the right one. Nothing makes you look like a stupid child if the security guard has to inform you that it’s the wrong building and that’s why the badge isn’t working, but because you thought the magnetic part was removed because it was next to your credit card.
Tip #5: Treat this job like it’s a two month job interview. Ask for advice and feedback often. If they have nothing to give you, it means that they don’t care or you are so perfect they can’t find a single fault with your work, personality, or overall being (aka me). If activities and events are planned, attend and socialize.
Tip #6: If grades come out while at work, it’s probably in the best interests of everybody around you if you either: (a) don’t check or (b) bring your makeup into the bathroom, check, cry, and then go back to work. The best lawyers can power through the rough times and fall apart later, at home, in the comfort of sweatpants and lots of donuts.
Tip #7: Every partner was once where you are right now and they know it sucks. Go to them for help and ask questions. When all else fails, just quote Legally Blonde.

PS: JUNE 5TH IS NATIONAL DONUT DAY. DUNKS WILL HAVE FREE DONUTS. BE FREE AND EAT DONUTS!

PPS: Be sure to keep a running list of all the work completed and all observations that you go to. This way, if you’re trying to get a job out of it, you’re already prepared with what you’ve done.

The importance of a thank you

thankyou

 

A few weeks ago, I had gotten an e-mail about a job fair that was being hosted at a nearby law school. I glanced through the firms, decided what the hell, and bid for about 9 out of 15 spots. I pushed the fair out of my head and focused on work for a few weeks. See, I go into something with low, if not non-existent, expectations about what will happen. I always assume that my bids won’t be accepted, my email won’t get answered, I won’t hear back from the interview, etc, etc, etc. Fortunately, I was notified that three firms accepted my bids and that I had interviews with them. That was yesterday.

My mom raised my sister and I to always say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’; if we went to a friend’s birthday party as we were getting out of the car my mom would say, “make sure to say thank you before you leave!” I’m pretty sure she still says that when I go out. But, I digress. My interviews seemed to go well, at least two of them. None of them went horrible, but I felt as if I didn’t do as well with one of them. Fortunately, or unfortunately, the interviews are only 20 minutes long, just long enough to sell yourself and catch the employer’s interest for a callback interview.

The second after I left each interview, I sent a thank you email to each interviewer, thanking them for their time and if they needed anything else to let me know. I know it’s not much, but here’s to hoping that my good manners will help me stand out a little bit and get a call back interview. I heard back from two of the interviewers thanking me for my thank you email and assuring me that if they need anything else that they will ask for it.

Fingers crossed I hear back!

 

Update: You guys must have had your fingers crossed for me, because I heard back today! I got rejected from one firm. I’m really not surprised at all. It was my last interview of the day and when I left, I knew it didn’t go very well. Oh well. At least this rejection was quick and (relatively!) painless. If you will excuse me, I’m going to eat my feelings and take a nap underneath my desk.

OCIs, job fairs and networking, oh my!

Can we not, am I right? If you readers are in a position similar to mine, you probably still have a few weeks left at your summer internships. How can you even think of next summer, yet? Easy.

figureoutlater

You see, 2L/3Ls are given a lot more freedom with their job hunts. As a 1L, you can’t make contact with Career Services until November 1 and can’t send resumes out to employers until December 1. As a 2L/3L, there aren’t any restrictions like that and the madness begins pretty early. Like now.

A few weeks after I took my last final, I got my first email from career services advertising symplicity and various job fairs.

Me:

danny-oh-no

I gave myself a few weeks to focus on my internship, journal comp and moot court comp and told myself that after July 6 I would start looking at job fairs/ocis. Well, I kind of screwed myself by doing that because the deadlines for the first round of OCIs* were July 11. Fortunately, the first round was mostly/entirely big law and their requirements for summer associates were pretty strict, so I wasn’t eligible anyways. I bid on a few, but I’m not getting my hopes up. At my school there’s ten rounds of OCIs, but most rounds are still empty. I’m going to wait about a week or two before checking again. I have heard that only 4% of the class will get job offers through OCIs so don’t put your full faith into them.

This brings me to job fairs! Career Services advertised a diversity job fair that was taking place in the beginning of August, so I checked those out too. You see, my grades aren’t what I’d like them to be. Typical, right? Nobody, unless you’ve made law review, is entirely happy with their grades. Mine aren’t terrible, but there’s two grades that I received that really bring me down. I figure that a job fair could give me a better shot, at least compared to OCIs so I bid on 9 firms. I heard back today and 3 firms accepted by bids. I’m actually pretty excited, but I don’t want to put all my eggs in one basket. Just because I have interviews doesn’t mean I’m going to be offered a position. But still, it’s a step in the right direction!

running

Lastly, networking*. Everybody knows that in order to get a job, it’s not what you know, but who you know, right? Well the legal field is like this, but even more so. I’m terrible at networking. Horrible. I’m very shy, so meeting new people is hard enough, but forget meeting new people and try and schmooze my way into getting an interview. My roommate and I are both going to force ourselves to attend local bar association meetings during the school year to meet new people. My LS has relationships with the local bar associations so law students usually get memberships for free. If it’s free, it’s for me, right? Why not go? Besides, if I keep forcing myself to go out of my comfort zone eventually it will become second nature to me. (Fingers crossed!)

My point is, apply early and apply often. I know that when school starts, I tend to get really overwhelmed and focus only on school work. Doing all of this work now, when I’m not in school, is really only beneficial to me.

Happy job hunting! 

Definitions:
*OCIs – On campus interviews. Students bid on employers to interview with and submit various required documents like a resume, cover letter, writing sample and transcripts. The employers, if they like you, will accept your bid and interview at school. These take place from the middle of August through October. All types of firms will usually do OCIs.
*Job fairs – Pretty self-explanatory. The bidding process is similar to OCIs, but students can also show up on that day and see if there are any open time slots for the particular firm that they want to interview with and write their name in. Pretty neat, since it gives you a second chance .
*Networking – Also pretty self-explanatory. Meet employers, other law students, and learn about what each person does. The main goal of networking, obviously, is to make connections with potential employers, get their business cards and keep in contact with them.

 

 

I got two PI interview requests for summer work!

A few weeks ago, school e-mailed us and urged us to bid on public interest jobs for the summer. I really didn’t want to. Not to say there’s anything wrong with doing public interest work, at all. The people that do give everything to help others and I admire them. I’m just not sure that that area of work is what I’m interested in and I’d feel bad if I took a spot that should have belonged to somebody else.

Looks like I’ll get my chance to figure out if it’s for me or not because I have two interviews with PI groups at the end of the month!

It’s not as if I’m a shoe in for these positions, but it will be great if I do get one! I wouldn’t have to worry about finding summer work later in the semester AND I’d be able to do some PI work. Even if I don’t like it, it’s only for, what, 12 weeks-ish? I can deal with helping people for 12 weeks.

Grades are officially being released tomorrow. The financial module ends tomorrow. I’m feeling pretty good.
Also, I bought my Barrister’s dress and solidified my plans for it and my birthday is in 11 days! Weeeee!