Let’s be real. Getting into law school is a journey that requires hard work and dedication, but you do not have to be the most intelligent student in class. Should you attend class? Yes. Should you study often? Yes. Do you have to make a 4.0? No. While maintaining stellar academic achievement can only benefit you in the long run and make the application process for law school easier, you must not overlook the importance of building a personal network. The saying “It’s not what you know, It’s who you know” holds much value in the legal profession. Just think about. You are in the year 2015. You have gotten into law school, graduated, and passed the bar – just like most of your peers. You have earned the right to attach the initials J.D. at the end of your name. Congratulations! Now what? Exactly! This is a good time to use your personal network you created to open the door for opportunities. You call an attorney in the Dallas area, whom you interned for over the summer before your senior year began. BOOM! You landed a job. Again, Congratulations! You might not have had the best grades in law school, but you sure appear more intelligent than the straight- A guy and gal you sat in between who have yet to find a job.
It is not always as easy as I have made it sound though. What if that attorney did not have a position to allow you to become a junior partner? Then what? This would be a good time to make other phone calls, fills out more applications, and hope for the best. Now I hope you are beginning to see the importance of building professional relationships – your network. Alright. We know networks are important, but how do you start the process of building these relationships? That is where many students tend to run into trouble, so do not feel like you are the only one. I will leave you with some helpful hints. Some may work for you and others may not. That is why it is called a process; one which you should begin immediately.
- Have an open mind! Not everyone is exactly like you. Your small group of friends can only get you so far. Talk to people in class (not while the professor is speaking though). Join in study groups.
- Become involved in and around campus. Be careful not to spread yourself too thin, however. Join the organizations you love, and give yourself the potential to hold leadership positions.
- Apply for an internship at a law office, or two, or three. You can even apply for internships or jobs with local officials. (Representatives, Judges, etc.)
- Always be friendly. You never know who you might cross paths with today!
- Remember names. You might meet someone who can help you achieve a goal. Remembering his or her name and job title will direct you to the right section of the phone book when the time comes.