Q: I’ve been attending networking functions and meeting people, but nothing has come from it in terms of an actual job yet. What am I doing wrong?
A: I understand the frustration; however, there are two assumptions in your question which are (most likely) mistaken. First, networking is a process; and not just a transaction whereby you attend x number of networking events and in return you receive a job. It’s also a process you will continue throughout your career as a lawyer, in order to recruit and retain clients and maintain beneficial relationships in your local bar. So just because you haven’t received a job after attending some networking functions doesn’t mean nothing has come from it. You know more people now; they know you. If those people are made aware of a job opportunity in the next couple of months, they might think of you, whereas before they would not have. That is progress! Think of it this way: scientists work for years studying diseases, and only after hours and hours of hypothesis testing, trials, being wrong and making adjustments, and more trials do they (sometimes!) arrive at a cure. I am certain those days can feel long and pointless with no assurance of reward at the end, but without those days of investment the reward will simply never come. The second assumption which is likely off-base is that you are doing something wrong. Like I said, the process can be long and difficult and without much reward for a period of time, regardless of whether you are doing everything right or not. However, it is possible you could be doing something that hurts your chances, and if you think that’s the case please come by and talk with Angela or me about it. We are happy to visit and see if we can validate what you are currently doing, or suggest some tweaks that might help you going forward.
Q: Is working for a judge really something I should consider? Even if it is unpaid?
A: The general answer for most of you is going to be an emphatic yes! Working for a judge is something that employers often mention to me as an experience they value highly or even specifically look for. They say it gives students an inside look on how a judge thinks and works, which can be very helpful to a summer associate or entry-level lawyer. True many of these positions are unpaid, which is why we suggest you consider working for a judge either in your first summer or during your 2L academic year. (Most of you will likely want to find a law firm to work in during your second summer, since those experiences are more likely to directly lead to a full-time position, and they are paid) I also want to address the handful of you with the opportunity to work in a post-graduate federal judicial clerkship. These are prestigious positions that you should strongly consider for your first year of practice prior to going on to your long-term employer. Future clients, colleagues and employers will ascribe a level of credibility and prominence to you as a result of your clerkship that is difficult to duplicate any other way. And the experience itself will make you a better lawyer.
Please stop by the CDO if you are interested; the application deadlines are different for every judge, and some even begin reviewing applications from students late in their 1L year! Have questions for the mailbag? Connect with Daniel at Daniel_Hare@Baylor.eduand/or @BaylorLawDaniel on Twitter. Job of the Week: Each week I highlight a job in Symplicity you might be interested in but may have missed. This week’s job is: Summer Law Clerk with Kaster Lynch Farrar & Ball(1L/2L, Houston) Log in to Symplicity to view this job and apply.