Legal Networking on a Shoestring Budget

August 19, 2013

So, you’ve graduated law school and passed the bar. Now comes the hardest part, finding a job. One of the best ways to find yourself employed nowadays is to network, network, network. But that can get tricky when you are on a limited income and paying off debt from tuition or other bills. Networking should be primarily about building relationships and setting roots in the legal field. If the primary goal of networking is just to look for a job, well, that won’t get you very far. Networking is a give and take situation with a lot of nuances.

Here at Lincoln, you are in the unique position of studying with currently practicing legal professionals (lawyers and judges). This is a great first step towards broadening your legal network from your first day in school.

Here are some ideas on how you can expand your social network.

  • Volunteer. For one thing, its free for you, and free for the organizations with which you volunteer.  VolunteerMatch.org is a great way to find volunteer opportunities in the legal sphere. There are a number of non-profit legal organizations in the Bay Area looking for help. You can find short-term positions working with various advocacy groups, or free internship positions around the Bay Area. You can also volunteer on a bar association committee.
  • Social Networking Sites. You can leverage social media websites to get your name out there to prospective employers. Take advantage of Linkedin groups to find out about social events, free webinars, and opportunities for both law students and law graduates.
  • State & County Bar Memberships. You can find student-rates, or new-graduate rates when registering with bar associations. The Santa Clara County Bar Association offers a number of career development resources as well as discounts for members.
  • Alumni Association. Join your school’s alumni association, and stay in touch with your classmates.
  • Make time to meet new people regularly. Weekly, or monthly. Make sure to connect with new faces at every social gathering you attend. Be interesting, be polite and be prepared for every event you do attend.
  • Say Yes. As simple as it sounds, one of the best ways to brighten your horizons, is to have a say-yes attitude. Say yes to joining the SBA or Law Review at your school, say yes to internship and volunteer opportunities. Say yes to getting out of your comfort zone. You never know who you will meet when you go down a different path in life.

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