As you’ve probably figured out by now, I’m a big fan of getting out and talking to people in the legal community. Speaking to attorneys about their careers energizes me about my own future. When I go a couple of weeks focused solely on school – like I have recently as I researched and wrote my moot court brief for the 1L writing program – I lose some of the momentum that helps me push through nights of reading cases. Though maybe I’m just getting tired and needing spring break (two more days!).
Anyways, for my own mental well-being, I know I need to prioritize networking opportunities after spring break. For me, it’s not about making a contact in order to ask for a job. It’s about a conversation with a person who does what you want to do, and getting excited about doing it too.
One of the most convenient ways to do this has been through the Boston Bar Association.
As a community of Boston lawyers, the BBA is a prime networking channel. As a host of various events related to the legal field, the BBA is a resource for learning outside of the classroom.
So today I’m going to do a little public service announcement about how great the BBA is, and what new law students have to gain from a (reduced, student) membership.
Once you become a student member, you’ll receive weekly emails about BBA programming. You’ll also have the opportunity to sign up for specific sections, such as Litigation, Civil Rights, and Health Law sections, which send out individual newsletters with their own events.
Granted, you’ll wind up skimming through lots of emails about things that you’re not particularly interested in. And that’s okay; if you tried to go to every event it would probably take a toll on your grades.
But every once in a while, you’ll find something that catches your eye. Maybe it’s related to a topic you’re studying in a class. Maybe it’s an event with a speaker that you’d like to meet. Maybe it’s a CLE (continuing legal education) session about a type of law you could see yourself practicing. When this happens, GO TO THE EVENT.
Don’t be lazy, delete the email, and tell yourself that you’re staying home because you have too much homework. Just go, it will pay off.
To recap, why you should give up a weeknight every once in a while and attend a BBA event:
1. You will expand your understanding of a specific legal field, which can help you prepare for class or strengthen career plans.
2. You may meet interesting people who do what you want to do, which can lead to a mentorship or job opportunity down the road.
3. You can use it in job/internship interviews.
I want to call attention to this last point with an anecdote. When I came back to Boston after winter break, I attended a CLE program on whistleblower law and the Dodd Frank Act. I was looking into some summer internships that dealt with whistleblower law and I wanted to learn more about it.
Not only was the CLE session itself highly informative, but I was also able to mention it during an interview. The fact that I had pursued an opportunity outside of school to learn more about whistleblower law impressed my interviewer and demonstrated my genuine interest in the work that he did. I was able to speak intelligently on the topic and carry on a conversation that I simply would not have been able to do if I hadn’t joined the Boston Bar Association. Also, I got the job (more on this later).
So do yourself a favor; buy the less expensive dinner/jeans/alcohol and spend the money on a BBA student membership!