Dear 2L: Introduction to LinkedIn Networking
by Amanda Haverstick
This article originally appeared here on writinglawtutors.com.
When you are just starting to “network” in the big, legal world, it may be a bit intimidating. You may feel like you’re asking for help, or for a favor, from the person you reach out to.
—Reaching out to anyone “cold” takes guts. You really have to put yourself out there.
—You may also be decades apart in years from the people you’re seeking out. The difference is life stage and experience might intimidate you.
Here are my thoughts. I will continue to ponder this excellent question.
1️⃣ Do not ask for a job! Unless you already have a very long-term relationship with the person and sense they have a job to offer, asking for a job is a sure-fire way to NOT get offered a job.
2️⃣ Think of it as introducing yourself and starting a conversation—similar to a law school mixer or networking event.
🔹 The LinkedIn platform is one huge, ongoing networking event. Work the room!
⭐️ Who might you know that the person you reach out to might want to talk to? If you can’t think of anyone, (or even if you can), ASK if there’s anyone they would like to meet.
3️⃣ Instead of thinking of it like asking for help, figure out how you might make a conversation with you a plus for them.
🔹 Research: Have they written an article or been in any cases you find interesting? Mention them.
🔹 Or even just say that you would like to talk to them to hear about a specific thing they do, or their career path, etc.
⭐️ All people like to talk about themselves. Make them feel “listened to” and valued, so they take away something positive.
4️⃣ Don’t think of it as a one-time transaction, but a conversation that will lead to a long-term, symbiotic relationship—one that can be a plus for both of you.
🔹 Research: What might the person you’re reaching out to need?
⭐️ If you can’t think of something (or even if you can), ASK HOW YOU MIGHT DO SOMETHING FOR THEM!
5️⃣ Try professors, law school alumni, admissions counselors, and all the other people who work at your school.
🔹 All these people are potentially helpful. I see them as untapped resources.
🔸 People like to give back to students at their law schools in that way.
6️⃣ You will not get responses from everyone.
🔹 Email is likely better than DM for those not regularly on LI.
🔹 Do not let any non-responses and “sorry I’m too busy” responses deter you. And definitely don’t take them personally. It’s NOT you.
Amanda is the author of the popular #Dear1L blog, founder of Writing Law Tutors, and legal writing coach for lawyers and law students.
Amanda previously spent 20 years as a Labor & Employment lawyer in BigLaw and as an in-house counsel at a Fortune 500 company. She has also served as a career services consultant assisting law students at one of the nation’s top law schools.
I aspire to simplify and improve the quality of your law school journey and to promote your greatest possible success.
Read more at writinglawtutors.com.
Join Amanda’s growing list of 15,000+ followers on LinkedIn to make it through law school with flying colors.