Networking, networking, networking! Throughout law school you’re told by everyone how important it is to network. As a 1L, networking is the last thing you want to do or have time for, given the reading that’s due tomorrow, the moot court brief hanging over your head and a looking for a summer job.
What is networking? In essence, networking is really just meeting new people to expand your circle of friends, acquaintances and/or job contacts. As a law student, you’re told that networking is really important because (i) the more people you know the better chance you have of getting a job and (ii) you need to look beyond job boards for jobs that aren’t advertised.
This is all well and true; however, I think that networking can prepare law students to become better lawyers. The idea that a lawyer must find and retain clients is something that is virtually ignored in law school. Most law students, particularly 1Ls, aren’t really aware that lawyers, be it a solo practitioners or big firm corporate lawyers, obtain most of their clients through word of mouth referrals. What good does it do you if you’re a great litigator or fantastic brief-writer if you don’t know anybody and you can’t attract clients? The more people who know you, the better chance you have of finding clients, finding opportunities and being noticed. Networking doesn’t end once you’ve got your first job out of law school; that’s just the beginning of it.