In addition to help on creating memorable application resources, OCPD offers advice on how to market yourself to potential employers by building your network and searching on multiple job boards. Find out where students have worked during their summers and where recent graduates are employed. Also, be sure to sign your transcript release form so we can create an unofficial transcript for your Symplicity profile.
As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please contact your OCPD advisor or email us at email@example.com.
How To Make Connections & How To Get Ready for Questions
Networking is the single most effective way to find a job and keep it. For some people, the art of networking comes very naturally. For others, nothing causes more anxiety than the idea of it. Part of being a good attorney is networking effectively in order to gain and keep clients, increase your book of business, and advance in your career. You will never stop having to network throughout your life, even if you choose an alternative position, and the practice of law is a profession in which you will always have to do it whether you are in private practice, public service, academia or government.
The word “networking” can be scary to many law students. You need not think of networking as schmoozing. It comes in many forms, and you can definitely tailor your networking style to your comfort level. Not all networking happens at cocktail parties. You can go to small events or CLEs where you can sit next to one person. You can arrange informational interviews to engage in one-on-one conversations or if you are comfortable in big crowds, there is no shortage of networking events in the Madison area. With that, here are some specific tips for networking:
1. Join national, state, and local bar organizations. Often bar organizations offer networking events and the opportunity to attend CLEs and reduced or no cost for law students. Ask OCPD about specific ways to join these organizations.
2. Attend OCPD events! Nothing makes a networking email easier than saying, “I was fortunate to attend a Pizza with Professionals Panel in which you participated.” Additionally, OCPD offers networking trips to places such as Chicago, Washington, D.C., Appleton, Minneapolis, New York City, Madison, and Milwaukee. Keep an eye on your email for news about these trips!
3. Schedule informational interviews. Use your network to find people to interview. Below are some more sources for expanding your network. As always, contact OCPD for help with any of these resources or to seek advice on topics to talk about!
o Ask your friends and family
Friends and family know more people than you think, and due to social media, we are more connected than ever with our friends and family. Ask a friend to introduce you via email or LinkedIn with an attorney you would like to meet.
o From Law School events
Ask people you meet at Pizza with Professionals, Fridays at 4, the reunion events, or any of the other programming at the law school for business cards and follow up.
Wisconsin students are fortunate to have such a great resource to find alums. Using the advanced search function at wisbar.org, you can find lawyers in geographic areas by graduation year and find their contact information.
Martindale is helpful for finding lawyers who work at firms. It also allows you to search by practice area and law school.
Search the “Find Alumni” tab under “Connections” to find people from the University of Wisconsin Law School or your undergrad institution with whom you would like to connect. Use common connections for an introduction.
o From other informational interviews
Always, always ask if an interviewee has ideas for other people to meet. People want to help you! An informational interview will likely lead to many more. The trick is to be confident and land your first one! You’ll be surprised how many fall into place after that.
• Conversation Topics for Informational Interviews:
o An informational interview is a chance to establish a meaningful connection. Accordingly, you should do most of the listening. You may be interested in finding out more about an attorney’s typical work day. You may be interested in determining whether a certain practice area is for you. You may just want to know about an individual’s career path. All of these areas are great discussion topics for the informational interview.
o An informational interview is not a chance to ask for a job. It may lead to opportunities in the future, but the interviewer should focus on learning, establishing a meaningful connection, and practicing active listening. Additionally, your questions should focus on things you actually want to know—they shouldn’t be phrased in an effort to make yourself sound smart.
o Here are some example questions:
- What attributes are required for your practice area?
- What makes this area a good fit for you?
- How did you decide on this practice area? This job?
- What is your day like?
- How do you schedule a typical day?
- What path did you take to get to where you are today?
- Have you learned any strategies for time management as you’ve practiced?
- What are things you wish you would have known while in law school?
- What advice do you have for someone with the goal of X?
- Did you come to law school knowing what you wanted to do?
- What advice do you have for someone wishing to practice in this geographic area?
- What advice do you have for breaking into the market in this practice area/geographic area?
- What kind of classes/externships/experiences should I get while in law school to position myself for practice?
- Based on what you know about my background and interests, can you recommend others I should meet?
4. How to Ask for an Informational Interview
You may be comfortable with the idea of sitting down with a lawyer and talking about his or her practice area, but the idea of requesting that meeting may cause you anxiety. When you ask a lawyer to get coffee or have lunch, keep in mind that most lawyers love to talk to law students. Most lawyers want to help you and like to talk about their days and their practice. That said, you want to be respectful of an individual’s time. Suggest several dates and times or a range. Offer to meet somewhere close to his or her office. Below you will find example emails asking to meet for an informational interview:
Dear Ms. Smith:
David Johnson suggested I contact you. I had lunch with David yesterday to speak about his disability rights work. He indicated that you have worked at the Oregon Center for Disability Rights since 2009.
I went to law school to be an advocate for those with disabilities. When I was nine, my mother became paralyzed in a car accident. Watching her navigate the ins and outs of society as a person living with a disability was inspirational. Additionally, while in Law School, I have worked at Disability Rights Wisconsin where I had the opportunity to advise multiple organizations and businesses regarding the ADA as well as work with clients living with disabilities.
I am moving to Oregon in December and taking the bar exam in February. My fiancé recently secured employment at Portland State in the Sociology Department. I will be visiting him next month (October 7-11) and would appreciate the chance to meet for coffee. I realize you have a busy schedule, please let me know if there is a time that would be convenient for you. I’d be happy to meet at Java Joe’s right next to your office.
Dear Mr. Danielson:
I hope you are having a wonderful Spring and enjoying the beautiful weather! I am a 2L student at the University of Wisconsin Law School. I see that you are a 2009 alum practicing criminal law at a small firm in St. Louis.
I am from St. Louis and eager to return after graduation. Additionally, I would like to practice criminal law after my admission to the Missouri Bar. I have availed myself of several criminal law opportunities while at the University of Wisconsin Law School, including the Innocence Project the summer after my 1L year I will be visiting St. Louis over Spring Break and was wondering if you had availability to meet for coffee to discuss the work you do and your career path. I realize you have a busy schedule, so please let me know if there is a time convenient for you during the week of March 30-April 3. Thank you in advance.
In addition to Symplicity, the UW Law School job bank for students and alum, the Office of Career and professional development also has subscriptions to password protected sites such as the BYU Intercollegiate Job Bank and the Government Honors and Internship Handbook. Current students will need their NetID for access to these passwords and alumni should contact OCPD.
We have complied a list of search engines for law-related positions that you may find helpful.
The Office of Career and Professional Development can put in orders for law students through DoIT publishing for job searches or other professional development purposes. Please fill out a printed copy of the order form and a check made out to "University of Wisconsin Law School" to the Office of Career and Professional Development. Cards will be delivered to the front desk where you can pick them up.
UW Law School Access For Students and Alumni Of Other Law Schools
Career and Professional Development facilities and resources are available to current law students and alumni of schools which provide reciprocal services to UW Law School students. Click here for more information.
UW Law School Students & Alumni
A UW Law student or graduate may request reciprocity which may allow him or her to utilize the career services resources of another law school. In some cases, the reciprocal school may restrict the use of their resources, or deny reciprocity altogether, so it is best to investigate the other schools' reciprocity policy before applying. As of Fall 2013, students and alumni can make one reciprocity request per academic year. In addition, we are unable to request reciprocity renewals.
To find out the reciprocity policy of a particular law school, visit NALP's website at http://www.nalp.org/reciprocitypolicies. There you will find a list that includes the complete text of the reciprocity policy of almost every law school. You will see that most law schools have a "black out" period in the early fall (typically mid-August until mid to late-October), when they are unable to grant reciprocity because of the demands of their fall on-campus interview programs.
To request reciprocity, please complete the following form: