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Career Development: Networking by Socializing (Starting Tonight!)

July 14, 2011

Here on the blog, we’ve discussed the problematic legal job market from a variety of angles. Now it’s time to talk solutions, which we will do over a series of posts.

It’s well known that relationships are a major part of the hiring and recruiting process. Although it can sometimes be a symptom of nepotism, there’s more to it. In sitting on my office’s recruitment committee, I’ve come to appreciate how valuable the additional information that direct contact or a trusted reference can be. It adds dimension to the limited picture of the candidate that application materials provide. Of course, it also draws attention to your application, which can be crucial when there’s a large number of applicants. And, many job openings are never listed, so strong networks can be a conduit for notice of unadvertised job openings.

If you have family and friends in high places, building a network might just be a matter of making a few phone calls or sending a few emails. Otherwise, it might take a little more elbow grease. One way to network is by more formal means, such as seeking meetings with lawyers in your desired field (try to find alumni from your undergraduate or law school with whom you have things in common) or by introducing yourself to lawyers at law-related events, such as panel discussions and other educational events presented by the YLD and other Bar Association subgroups. We will be plugging those events as they come up.

But, lawyers already work a lot, so often the easiest way to form relationships with established lawyers is to socialize with them. I highly recommend volunteering some time to do community outreach with the YLD: it can sharpen your skills, tends to build strong bonds between attorneys, and it benefits the community we live in. Opportunities will be posted here as they come up.

I also highly recommend just having some fun meeting new people at a low-pressure networking-oriented social event like the one TONIGHT at Ladder 15, 5:30-7:30 p.m. The atmosphere is very friendly and inclusive, and the Camden County Young Lawyers are co-hosting (no registration required. Complimentary drinks for the first 50 to arrive, thanks to sponsors Angela Shaw of Keller Williams Realty and Woodward & Curran. If you can’t make it, don’t worry–there’s another at the Pyramid Club (replete with epic view of the city) on August 4th.

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