Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Loyola (and the World) Is Your Networking Oyster

Welcome back to the Jury of Peers, reader! So let’s address the elephant in the room… you’ve probably heard it a million times: “Succeeding as a lawyer means Network. Network. Network.” To be honest, when I first came to Loyola and heard this, my heart sank a little. Not only would I have to read cases, write memos, try to survive cold-calling, apply for jobs, and eventually take the bar, but I would have to talk to people. And not just any kind of people: Strangers. Not just any kind of strangers: Strangers with law degrees, professional careers as attorneys, and perhaps even experiences in the field or area of law I would be interested in. Yikes. It was a lot to take in and definitely an intimidating thought as a 1L still trying to figure out law school.

In retrospect, the strong emphasis on networking during 1L actually is more beneficial in the long run. I think Loyola made it really easy to find and attend networking opportunities during 1L and grow to be more comfortable with them. So here, are a few examples of all the various networking experiences that are available to 1Ls during their first year:

· Spring Semester: All 1Ls participate in mock oral arguments as part of the final graded component of the course. This isn’t just an opportunity to network with other 1Ls in the different sections and the various legal research and writing professors! It’s an opportunity to network with the Loyola alumni who have volunteered to serve as the mock judges and who currently hold positions in different areas of the law. In my perspective, the legal writing department made it a fun and memorable experience to mark the beginning of the end of my 1L!

· Spring Semester: The Career Development Office hosts the Spring Law Firm Reception. This is an event that allows students to meet with representatives from different law firms and participate in “speed-interviewing.” It’s a great way to get your name out there and meet with firms all while having the convenience of being at Loyola. I participated in this event as a 1L, and it was definitely a learning experience! It taught me how to think on my feet, and I learned the importance of the 60-second elevator pitch when meeting new people and potential employers who inevitably ask: “Why law school,” “Why be a lawyer,” and “Tell me about yourself.”

· All-Year: Different law firms in the Los Angeles area host networking nights and invite Loyola students to come to their offices and meet with their attorneys. I participated in one of these networking nights in the final weeks of my 1L. I got to go to a “big-law” corporate firm housed in one of those big shiny skyrises in Downtown Los Angeles. I was in awe not only of the amazing views of my favorite city but also of how vast the firm’s network and presence were in the legal community. I may not be pursuing “big-law” after law school, but it was definitely a unique teachable moment!

· All-Year: The Career Development Office holds “Brown Bag Lunches.” This is an opportunity for 1Ls (and students from other years) to have lunch with some of their peers and a Loyola alumni from a particular area of the law. I personally haven’t had the chance to participate in one of these yet, but it’s on my list of things to do before I graduate!

Until next time friends!!!

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