The Benefits of Networking and Career Development Events

Amelia Dunaway is an LLS student blogger.

One of the things I love most about Loyola is their commitment to helping students network, learn more about various areas of legal practice, and connect them to established lawyers in those fields. I have found so many of the events at Loyola extremely helpful to helping me narrow down which area of law I’m interested in practicing, and helping me to make meaningful connections with lawyers who have experience with that particular area of law.

For me, one of the most helpful things that I have done was signing up for an Alumni Mentor. Prior to law school, I didn’t know a single lawyer. One of the first questions I asked my mentor was what I can do now, as a law student, to prepare myself to be a great lawyer, aside from the obvious things like studying and attending class. My mentor stressed the importance of gaining legal experience while in school, and after several conversations offered me a job at his law firm for this Spring.

As a 1L, much of the what we’re learning can often feel isolated from the “real world.” While it’s easy to relate the subject material of classes like torts or criminal law to common life experiences, it’s much more difficult to relate classes like civil procedure to things that we actually experience in everyday life. This has been one of the most useful advantages of working that I have experienced. Not only have I learned very practical skills like sorting and filing pleadings and other documents, I am also gaining real world experience doing legal research and connecting civil procedure rules to actual on-going cases. The rules of civil procedure have become less of a foreign idea and more of a familiar concept.

I’ve also attended several of the guest speaker lectures during the lunch hour and I’ve found that it’s a great way to be exposed to new and interesting areas of the law and to get perspectives that I might not otherwise be exposed to. Overall, I would strongly recommend taking advantage of as many of the programs as possible. While law school can be difficult, and the job market can be daunting, Loyola is a school that definitely does not take a “sink or swim” approach to things. They help out every step of the way.