It’s hard to imagine time in law school for anything beyond studying. Yet as the school year begins, you’ll find yourself juggling class and studies along with extracurricular activities such as on-campus interviews, paid jobs on campus, law review and moot court. How do you make the most of your busy schedule?
Begin building your network now. Your fellow law students will one day be your professional peers. They can and will hire you or refer business to you. You will meet practicing attorneys and other legal professionals who come into your classrooms or interact in other ways with you on campus. Even as a student, don’t miss the opportunity for personal introductions, exchanging business cards or connecting on LinkedIn. Make a great first impression. Follow up with thank you notes or emails when appropriate. Learning how to balance your multiple school priorities will help prepare you for balancing multiple priorities in your legal career. To make networking part of the equation now will help you build the network you’ll need later in your job search or to build your law practice.
During your law school journey, you will be trying to determine what to do with your legal career. Extracurricular activities can assist you in narrowing down your options. If you have panic attacks before moot court, you may want to consider transactional law. If working in your law school’s elder clinic provides deep satisfaction, perhaps you have identified an area of practice that will pay the bills as well as bring personal fulfillment. Damon Duncan, a Greensboro lawyer and member of the charter class at Elon University School of Law, says, “As a young lawyer one of the best pieces of advice I've received is to get involved in a meaningful way. There are a lot of opportunities to get involved where all you do is show up to a meeting once every few months but being involved in a meaningful way means taking a leadership role and doing a really good job in that role. Taking a leadership role in a committee, group or organization allows you to meet more people, give back to the community and add balance to your life." A quick review of Damon’s website profile shows that Damon has taken this advice to heart as he volunteers in the legal profession, in his community as well as gives back to his law school.
Love What You Do
Success looks different for everyone. At this point in your journey, it may be hard to imagine what the next few years will bring. Navigating a variety of activities while you are in school may help you find your passion.
Camille Stell is Vice President of Client Relations for Lawyers Mutual. Camille has worked as a paralegal, business developer and a law firm recruiter. She loves that the Student Resource Center (visit @LMLNC_SRC) allows her to continue providing career guidance for law students.