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1L Summer Job Search Tips: Networking

December 21, 2018

Now more than ever, finding a job often depends on forming relationships - both with members of your peer group and with people who have already established their careers. You are more likely to be offered a job if there is some personal connection than if you just send in an anonymous resume. Networking also has other benefits, including simply learning more about the profession (especially in the early phases of your career when you may be unsure about what type of law you want to practice) and gaining a mentor in the profession who can help guide your career.


Getting Started:  Start by sending an email introducing yourself and mentioning how you obtained the contact’s name/what the connection is between you (e.g. you attended the same law school or university). Explain that you are a Penn Law student, that you are seeking information about his or her practice of law, and that you would like to speak with him or her for about 15 minutes by telephone or in person about his or her practice (please see our website for sample text). If you are going to be in the same city as your contact over winter break, you can offer to buy them a cup of coffee one morning or meet them for lunch. During your conversation, ask for information, advice, and other people to contact, but not for a job. It’s often helpful to have a list of questions prepared in advance of the meeting. If the contact mentions that there is a position available within his or her organization, however, it is okay to express interest.


Who to Network With:  Your networking contacts can include anyone you know who has anything to do with the legal profession or with some business-related connection to the areas you are interested in. This may include other law students, people you know who are lawyers or are in business, former professors, parents of friends, neighbors, and Penn Law alumni. On our website, we have a spreadsheet listing where Penn Law 1Ls have worked the last few years as well as information on reaching out to alumni. Also consider:


  • Student organizations within the law school and those associated with the larger university. Get to know fellow JDs, MBAs, and LLMs.
  • Panel discussions and lectures within the university and at the law school – seek out the speakers and organizers.
  • Bar associations (including student divisions) or other professional organizations – get involved in a section that piques your interest.
  • Charities/ community organizations – attend events and/or volunteer.
  • Faculty – take advantage of every opportunity to get to know your faculty members better, work more closely with them, speak more closely with them outside of class, contribute judiciously in class. Your faculty members can be career-long supporters of your professional development, regardless of your career path (and will be particularly important allies if you choose to pursue a clerkship or opportunities in academia).


Formal Networking Events:  For receptions over winter break in your hometown, please see our list of 1L Home for the Holidays events. There are upcoming events in locations including Los Angeles, Chicago, Phoenix, San Francisco, Boston, Dallas and Seattle, among others. For law firm receptions next semester, check the list of 1L Employer Events.


If you’d like to improve your networking skills, please RSVP to attend the Demystifying Networking Workshop on January 16! More information here [link to calendar].


Please refer to our Networking & Informational Interviewing and Finding Penn Law Alumni webpages for additional information, and do not hesitate to contact us by email or make an appointment with a counselor in Symplicity to discuss any questions you may have.