Tuesday, November 15, 2011
That's the message from this post at the Lawyerist blog.
Networking during law school is easy to avoid, but doing so is a huge mistake. Most students will take time away from their academic obligations in order to travel to a long-shot interview. Those same students should be focusing on taking time at home (even when law school is a temporary home) to meet practicing lawyers and judges. Look to your professors, especially adjuncts, for additional community ties. Talk to the students who are from your school’s city and ask them to introduce you to lawyers they know locally. Even if you don’t plan to practice where you attend school, the practitioners in your school’s town will likely be the easiest to access. Take advantage of their expertise.
On adjusting expectations:
My law school experience was that career services and my classmates alike over-emphasized the importance of trying to get a big-firm job. I was quite surprised when my school’s administration later shared the statistic that the majority of our students ended up in firms with between 5 and 15 attorneys. While that may not yet be the reality at your school, it’s worth thinking early about alternatives to big-firm practice: small firms, and public service.
Both small firm life and public service may allow a lifestyle that’s less concerned with billable hours. Government employees may work fewer hours than their private-sector counterparts, while good benefits packages help equalize any relatively lower pay. Small firm practice will allow you to interact directly with your clients, which can be quite rewarding. Public service will enable you to work on issues closer to your heart.
Finally, there’s always the opportunity of solo practice, should you be brave enough to strike out on your own.
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