If you were allowed only one method of searching for your ideal career position, no matter the profession, the person, the era, or the goal, you should choose networking before any other. Networking is a technique that guides you to intentionally develop relationships and get to know people who can expand your knowledge and awareness about different things, especially (for our purpose here) the legal profession. Networking is simply the most important strategy for:
- Successfully exploring the legal profession – including understanding career options that exist both inside and outside the profession, getting a better sense of the different specialty areas of law open to you, gaining insights on future developments in the profession, developing contacts, and finding job openings
- Developing your professional career after graduation, including building your client base.
Because the most successful law student and attorney will learn to do it and do it well, don’t balk at the thought of networking. Rather, explore the concept, embrace it, and start now learning how to do it effectively.
Understandably, many people feel apprehensive about networking. Most of us won’t choose to move beyond our comfort zone unless prompted. Consider this the prompting . . .You have chosen to enter a profession that, if you are to be successful, is all about developing an ever-widening circle of relationships. In Arkansas and every other state in the Union, effective networking will be your key to success. I encourage you to accept it. Start honing your skills now. Be determined to understand the process and recognize the value it has for enabling you to find happiness and stability in your professional life. Intentionally use networking to explore your intended profession. Choose to use this time to get involved in and perfect the process. Networking is the ultimate job search strategy, so don’t shy away from it.
It is never too late to start networking. However, there are definite advantages to starting the process while still a law student. Interestingly enough, of the many books in the Career Resources Library on the job search, virtually every one has information on networking! Check out one of several resources on the subject. Books available in the Career Resources Library include Guerrilla Tactics for Getting The Legal Job of Your Dreams by Kimm Alayne Walton; Building Career Connections by Donna Gerson; The Opportunity Maker: Strategies for Inspiring Your Legal Career by Ari L. Kaplan, and How to Work a Room by Susan Roane.
Learn and use the networking process effectively and watch doors open to a brighter future. Many networking opportunities will be available to you including:
- UALR Bowen Professional Mentor Program
- Law School and other local, regional and national careers fairs (Government Careers Info Fair, TableTalkPlus(+), UALR main campus fairs, AR Workforce Services Job Fair to name a few)
- Alumni Office Dine-Arounds
- Career Services-sponsored program panel discussions
- Career Services-sponsored professional mentor program
- Student organization sponsored programs and professional mentor programs
- Arkansas Bar Association sponsored continuing legal education programs
- Arkansas Bar Association winter meeting in January
- Arkansas Bar Association annual meeting in Hot Springs in June
- Pulaski County Bar Association monthly luncheons each second Friday
- Arkansas Association of Women Lawyers’ monthly meetings and CLEs
- Arkansas Trial Lawyers Association activities
- Law School faculty: full-time and adjuncts
- Attorneys utilizing the UALR/Pulaski County Bar Law Library
- Law firms’ continuing legal education programs in the Friday Courtroom
- The Winter Banquet for Arkansas Bar Foundation scholarship recipients each spring semester