As a 1L, the question you get asked the most (besides, did you read for class?) is “What do you plan to practice?”
I’m almost through my first year and I honestly have no idea which field I will choose. What I can tell you is how I started putting feelers out. It was both purposeful and accidental, all at once – and happened because I shook a few hands!
Really! I met a charismatic 3L who introduced me to the Sports & Entertainment Law Association (which also houses the IP and Patent Law Interests). I joined and ran for an open Executive board position. The added responsibility of helping run and organize student events meant my calendar was filling up fast! This new addition also meant I met more of my peers, which allowed me to branch out from my original group of friends.
In meeting new and wonderful people, I met Aubrey. She’s a fierce and talented young professional who swept me up in a flurry of conversation centered around: feminism. We had the best talk about everything from prepping for finals to the patriarchal society in which we live (it’s law school folks, the conversations are deep and thought-provoking). The end result from our first few conversations led me to run for a position on the Executive Board for If-When-How and I have had the privilege of working with some amazing women.
We attended a luncheon recently to support Planned Parenthood. The men and women we met were inspirational! They offered advice on where we can lend a voice, how we (as 1Ls) can help the cause, and invited us to Lobby Day at the State Capitol! We will not all be able to attend, but the simple fact that some of my friends and colleagues set up a caravan plan immediately gives me so much hope for the kinds of attorneys they will be.
To think, it all started with a handshake…is so simple. The key to moving yourself forward in this career, or any other, is to take the time to make your mark. Join a conversation. Say Hello. Do your best to jump in on conversations that make you think!
The people you surround yourself with are your tribe. Love them. Hard. Be good to them.
Networking does not have to be a chore. All you need to do is introduce yourself to those colleagues around you. Believe me, doors will open for you.
A word of caution though – do not expect for opportunities to fall in your lap. Those possibilities do not come around often (though, they certainly do come up). Jump at the option to smile and meet a new face. Make a friend. Do what you can to make a positive impact in the world.