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Networking for dummies

September 25, 2007

Before law school, I thought that as long as I studied Contracts and Torts, I would be set for a job. It was not until this summer that the importance of networking finally sunk in.

During my short foray into the Philadelphia legal community, I encountered many people whom I deeply respect. Some are professors, administrators, and student leaders at school. Others are practitioners I met through work or, appropriately enough, at networking events. One piece of advice that is given across the board is–“remember to network.”

This advice seems particularly pertinent in Philadelphia, a thriving, but relatively small, legal community. Most attorneys at any function are able to name every lawyer in the room and the firm where they work.

It is at professional tasks such as this where the advantages of being an older law student are more apparent. Many of my student colleagues have been in the working world long enough to develop the skill to walk up to a complete stranger and make a strong enough connection to get a business card or arrange a meeting. Truly, this is one of those skills that requires repetition.

I myself am getting more and more comfortable in these professional social settings. Of course, in this city being comfortable is a lot easier (I imagine). The competitive, adversarial atmosphere that hangs over the profession does not seem to exist in Philadelphia. Rather, Philly attorneys seek to help each other out. Thanks to these tendencies, I am slowly learning the fine art of networking.

Hi, I’m Anthony…

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