Tips & Tricks

The Original Social Network

Kelsey Gitlin is an LLS student blogger.


Hello again, Jury of Peers!

There are 2 kinds of people in law school: people like one of my friends who love to network, and people like me who find networking extremely daunting. It’s not that I don’t like to meet new people and make new friends in the industry, it’s just that I’m shy. I know, it’s a word not often associated with lawyer-types, but we exist! So, if you’re a shy person who wants to go to law school let me hand down a few nuggets of wisdom about how to build a network when you’re shy (or just bad at networking).

Tip 1: Phone a Friend

A great way to network without feeling so awkward is to go to events with a friend. Whether or not they love to network, going to events with a friend gives me a social respite where I can relax for the moments in between actively networking.

Tip 2: Home-Field Advantage

Loyola actually hosts quite a few networking events on campus, both mixers and speaking events. Sometimes just being in a familiar environment can ease the stress of networking, so going to events on campus can make networking more bearable.

Tip 3: Have a Job to Do

This tip is not for everyone, but personally, I find networking to be easier when there is a common goal or an external reason why you are connecting with new people. For example, I was doing an informational interview with an attorney who told me he did most of his networking in law school by being on the board of a club and planning speaking events. Fast forward to my 2L year, I ran for speaker chair on DSBA (student gov’t) so that I had an external reason to reach out to attorneys I thought were really cool. Asking them to come speak to campus is a great way to bring attorneys to the home-field (see: tip 2) and create a common goal you both are working towards: a successful speaking event.

To be frank, my in-person networking skills have atrophied during the Zoom Era but that’s not to say there aren’t advantages to zoom networking too. One major advantage is that you get to be in your own environment which can be soothing. Another is that the interactions tend to be more intentional since most people can’t stumble into Zoom rooms the way you can stumble into an in-person event.

My favorite event that I have been to was actually on Zoom my 2L year: Women in Big Law. It was a small group of women talking about the troubles and the triumphs of being a woman in law. It felt very intimate even though we were all dispersed throughout the country. And it was a great way to meet lawyers that normally would be geographically hard to reach.

Any way you want to network is good, especially when you’re just starting out. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there because 9 times out of 10, it will be a positive experience.

See you in the next one (for my very last post ever!),

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