January 14, 2013

SAVE THE DATE: Upcoming CLE opportunities for law students and recent Alumni

Real Estate Basics
January 16
Comprehensive overview of key real estate topics: representing lenders or borrowers in commercial and residential financing; basic tips on terms, mortgage foreclosure and contract cancellation; curative statutes; commercial purchases and leases from buyers/tenants perspective; common recording errors and how to avoid them.

Presenters: Nathan A. Bissonnette, Deputy Examiner of Titles, Ramsey County; Fred A. Kueppers, Jr., Kueppers, Kronschnabel & Daly; George A. LeTendre, George A. LeTendre Attorney at Law

Time: 3:00 to 5:00 p.m.
Registration: 2:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Location: First National Bank Bldg Training Room, 332 Minnesota Street, St. Paul
Credit: 2 Standard Credits approved
Cost: FREE for law students; $40 RCBA members; $60 non-members

Teleconference Cost: $60 RCBA members (& law students); $80 non-members
Register online at or send an email to


Advising Small Businesses about Implementing the Affordable Care Act
January 18

Advising small businesses about implementing the Affordable Care Act provisions. What are the implementation issues? What are the tax implications? How are penalties calculated? What do small businesses need to know about the ACA?
Presenters: Mrduhl L. Sharma, CPA, Manager, CliftonLarsonAllen LLP; Careen H.Martin, Nilan Johnson Lewis PA

Time: 12:30 to 2:30 p.m.
Registration (& lunch): 12:00 p.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Location: First National Bank Building Training Room, 332 Minnesota Street, St. Paul
Credit: 2 Standard Credits approved
Cost (includes lunch): FREE for law students ($10 for lunch); $50 RCBA members; $70 non-members

Teleconference Cost: $60 RCBA members (& law students); $80 non-members
Register online at or send an email to

December 13, 2012


To RSVP, log in to Symplicity.

December 5, 2012

SAVE THE DATE: Faegre Baker Daniels 1L Leadership Academy

The Minneapolis office of Faegre Baker Daniels will be hosting a 1L Leadership Academy aimed at providing 1L law students an opportunity to hear from experts on topics such as developing informal influence, leading complex legal matters, and leading through pro bono and volunteerism. The program will conclude with a networking reception.

In conjunction with the 1L Leadership Academy, the firm will host an informational session on diverse 1L hiring initiatives beginning at 2:00 pm CDT, prior to the Leadership Academy.

Date: Thursday, January 3, 2013
Location: Faegre Baker Daniels LLP
2200 Wells Fargo
90 S. Seventh Street
Minneapolis, MN 55402-3901

Schedule: 2:00 p.m. - 2:45 p.m. | Optional Informational Session on Diverse 1L Hiring
2:45 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. | Registration
3:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. | Leadership Sessions
5:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. | Networking Reception

The Faegre Baker Daniels 1L Leadership Academy is open to all 1L Law School Students.


November 30, 2012

MWL's 24th Annual Holiday Benefit

Oppenheimer Wolff & Donnelly has three tickets available for students to attend the Minnesota Women Lawyers 24th Annual Holiday Benefit on December 6. Please email Sarah Johansen, if you are interested in attending. First come first serve.

October 24, 2012

Lunch with Practitioner Series: John Stuart

Please join the Career Center in welcoming John Stuart for our upcoming Lunch with Practitioner program. John has worked as a public defender in Minnesota since 1978. For the last 22 years, as State Public Defender, he has supervised a developing statewide system that provides adult and juvenile court defense services to all 87 counties, employing 500 lawyers-full and part-time--and 200 support staff in 32 offices. He is a graduate of SUNY Buffalo Law School, where he was law clerk for the Attica Brothers' Legal Defense.

John served 7 years as Co-Chair of the American Council of Chief Defenders, and for 5 years on the faculty of the National Defender leadership Institute. He has trained public defenders in 15 states and in Eastern Europe. In Minnesota, he is a member of the Drug Court Initiative, the Juvenile Justice Coalition, the Racial Fairness Subcommittee of the Supreme Court Equal Justice Committee, and the Sentencing Guidelines Commission. He has taught as an adjunct at the University of Minnesota Law School and the William Mitchell College of Law. He is co-author of Felony Sentencing in Minnesota (Butterworth, 1985), and several articles on sentencing policy and juvenile justice.

This lunch event is an informal conversation between students and Mr. Stuart. After opening remarks, students will have plenty of opportunity for Q & A.

Lunch provided!

**Space is limited! RSVP via the Symplicity "Events" tab**

October 18, 2012

All Students: 18th Annual Career Options Night

When: Thursday, November 8th, 5:30PM-7:00PM
Where: Robins, Kaplin, Miller & Ciresi Concourse

It's that time again! Career Options Night is finally here!

1Ls: This event is designed to allow students to talk one-on-one with attorneys from a number of different practice areas about their career paths and professional experiences. No resumes. No suits. No pressure.

2Ls and 3Ls: Meet or reconnect with attorneys in your target practice area. Career Options Night may help clarify a practice area focus.

All Students: 2012 Quad Law Schools Public Interest Career Expo

Where: University of Minnesota Law School
When: Tuesday, October 23, 4:30 PM - 7:00 PM
MJF Summer Clerkship Panel
4:30-5:30 PM, Room 40

Former MJF clerks will talk about their public interest and government summer clerkships. Find out which public interest and government employers are accepting applications this year. Pick up your application for MJF's summer 2012 clerkships. Learn how to customize your resume for public interest and government employers.

Public Interest Career Fair
5:30-7:00 PM, Robins, Kaplin, Miller & Ciresi Concourse
Meet with representatives from MN public interest and government offices to make connections with public interest employers and learn about volunteer opportunities throughout the school year and summer clerkships.

Sponsored by Minnesota Justice Foundation, University of Minnesota Law School, Hamline University, University of St. Thomas Law School, and William Mitchell College of Law.
**2L, 3L: RSVP through Symplicity Events tab**
**1L: RSVP to lawcareers**

October 8, 2012

SAVE THE DATE: Please Join Us for the Annual Law Student & New Lawyers PIZZA RECEPTION!

Sponsored by the Minnesota State Bar Association Environmental, Natural Resources & Energy Law Section

Tuesday, October 16, 2012
5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Dorsey & Whitney LLP
50 South Sixth Street, Suite 1500, downtown Minneapolis

Come and visit with Minnesota lawyers who practice in environmental law, energy law, land use and related areas. We will have attorneys in private practice from firms of all sizes, in-house and government and public-interest attorneys.

This is a great opportunity to network and to learn about environmental law and the Minnesota legal community! Take some time away from work and the books, eat some pizza, and have some friendly conversation with lawyers and other law students.

The Pizza Reception will be preceded by a Frac Sand Mining CLE at 4:00 p.m.

RSVP by Friday, October 12, 2012 to Molly Malone at 612-278-6376 or

October 4, 2012


The University Student Legal Service's Board of Directors is pleased to invite you to its 35th anniversary celebration this year! The event is a celebration of the legal profession and, in particular, service to students on campus. USLS lawyers and student volunteers have been serving undergraduate and graduate students for the past 35 years in the form of educational programming and litigation, and we're hopeful you will be able to join us in honoring their dedication.

The event will be Thursday, October 18, from 4:30 to 6:00 PM in the TCF Bank Stadium's DQ Club Room. At 5:30, there will be a brief program featuring notables such as Chief Justice Gildea, Justice Paul Anderson, Senator Klobuchar, and Rep. Ellison. Before the program, there will be hors d'oeuvres catered by Kafe 421 and a social. Past members of USLS and outside members of the legal community will be present, and it would be our pleasure to make your acquaintance.

-USLS Board of Directors

October 3, 2012

Sidebar - Meet the Ramsey County Judges

Thursday, October 4
5:00 to 7:00 p.m.
O'Gara's Bar and Grill
164 N Snelling Avenue, St. Paul

Join us in welcoming the newest judges, Leonardo Castro and Patrick Diamond to the bench.

Sponsored by: Thomas C. Plunkett, Thomas C. Plunkett, Attorney at Law and Charlie Clippert, Clippert Law Firm

No prior registration is required.

August 30, 2012

Upcoming Lunch with Practitioner Programs

The Career Center is happy to announce the launching of the 2012-2013 Lunch with a Practitioner Series. The events are meant to encourage students to interact and ask questions of practicing attorneys to learn more about specific practice areas. With that in mind, we limit the size of each lunch to 20. RSVP is required through the events tab of Symplicity on a first come/first serve basis. Lunch will be provided.

We have two events scheduled for September:

Thursday, September 6, 2012, 12:15-1:15pm, Room 55 - INTERNATIONAL TRADE/COMPLIANCE - LATIN AMERICA

Ryan Strom, Class of 2003, is Senior Counsel of Brand Integrity for Philip Morris International, in Mexico City, where he oversees criminal and civil litigation in Latin America and Canada against counterfeiters, illicit manufacturers, importers, illegal distribution networks and points of sale. He Manages compliance issues regarding US, UK and Latin American anti-bribery laws including developing and implementing global training programs. He also develops strategic analyses of laws governing free trade zones, customs regulations, competition law, manufacturing taxes, and import/export requirements. Prior to his work at Philip Morris Mr. Strom was an associate at Patterson Thuente Christensen Pedersen, P.A., in Minneapolis, MN.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012, 12:15-1:15pm, Room 65 - INTERNATIONAL LAW - JAPAN

Matthew Wilson has 20 years professional and legal experience dealing with matters involving Asia. Currently, he is an Associate Professor of Law at the University of Wyoming College of Law where he continues to teach and engage in international legal matters. Prior to law school, he worked in Japan for electronic giants Sony and Yokogawa Electric. During law school, he interned for an international law firm on Saipan in the U.S. Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (Western Pacific). After participating in Temple University Law School's semester study abroad program in Tokyo and completing an internship for GE Medical Systems Japan, he took an extended leave of absence from law school to participate in a multi-million dollar litigation on Saipan between two Japanese companies. After law school, he accepted a position with Akerman Senterfitt (Orlando office), where he handled a variety of international lawsuits involving intellectual property and commercial matters,
cross-border transactions, and multinational clients. He also served as general counsel for Advanced Telecommunication Network, Inc. (Tampa) prior to entering into academia. From 2003-2009, he served as an Associate Professor of Law for Temple University School of Law as well as Senior Associate Dean and General Counsel of Temple's Japan campus. In these capacities, he continued to handle international and cross-border matters.

August 24, 2012

SAVE THE DATE: Ramsey County Bar Association

New Lawyers Happy Hour!

5:00 to 7:00 p.m.

Join your colleagues for a FREE drink and appetizers! New and experienced attorneys as well as law students are encouraged to attend!

Thursday, September 6
Billy's on Grand
857 Grand Avenue, St. Paul

August 17, 2012

SAVE THE DATE: Recent Graduate & Student Networking Reception & Happy Hour

Hosted by the University of Minnesota Law School Office of Advancement
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
5:00 - 7:30 pm
at Mission American Kitchen & Bar

July 24, 2012

SAVE THE DATE: Best & Flanagan LLP

Best & Flanagan LLP invites students in the class of 2014 to apply for summer associate positions for the summer of 2013. Best & Flanagan is a full-service law firm in downtown Minneapolis, providing advice and advocacy to individual and corporate clients in virtually all areas of the law, including litigation and dispute resolution, corporate and tax, bankruptcy, family law, estate planning, real estate, Native American law and public finance. Summer associates will have the opportunity to work in all practice areas, contributing to and observing first-hand the work we do on behalf of our clients.

Our goal for the summer program is two-fold: to find future attorneys with the ability, commitment and personality necessary to be successful associates, and eventually partners, in the firm, and to give those students a sense of the firm and its practice. We are looking for students with strong academic credentials, a diversity of experience both in law school and elsewhere, keen human relations skills, a willingness to work hard and a desire to invest in building a career at Best & Flanagan.
We are taking a new approach to summer associate hiring and instead of participating in on-campus interviews, we are inviting interested students to apply directly to the firm. For an early opportunity to meet members of the firm to discuss our practice and culture, we invite you to attend a recruiting reception open house at our firm on August 9, 2012, from 4:00-6:00 pm.

For more details, please visit Symplicity (#10047).

July 10, 2012

Citywide Diversity Reception at Cleary Gottlieb

A friendly reminder about today's Citywide Diversity Reception at Cleary Gottlieb featuring Keynote Speaker Judge Denny Chin.

Please click on the image to RSVP.

Reminder: Citywide Diversity Reception Invitation at Cleary Gottlieb

A friendly reminder about today's Citywide Diversity Reception at Cleary Gottlieb featuring Keynote Speaker Judge Denny Chin.

Please click on the image to RSVP.

July 9, 2012

Informal Happy Hour for UMN Law Alumni and Current Students who are in the DC area!

Please join your fellow UMN Law Alumni for another informal happy hour at BlackFinn. This time we are also inviting current law students who are in the DC area for the summer. This will be a great opportunity to meet current students and show them how robust the UMN Law Alumni community in DC is, and of course to catch up with old friends.

BlackFinn will extend happy hour specials until 8pm for our group, and will offer a special drink called the Fighting Mondale. The details are below--mark your calendars now and please encourage your alumni contacts to attend!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012
1620 I (eye) Street NW

We hope to see you there,
Your DC-Area Alumni Ambassadors
Chuck Bruse ('71), Kate McKnight ('08), and Maisa Jean Frank ('10)

P.S. As a reminder, if you know of any UMN Law School alums who are not included in the listserv, please encourage them to sign up by following this link or emailing

SAVE THE DATE: St. Paul Campus Job & Internship Fair

Wednesday, September 19, 2012
North Star Ball Room, St. Paul Campus

Attend this job fair to connect with employers seeking full-time employees and interns in the fields of Agriculture, Animal Science, Banking/Finance, Bio-based Products, Communication, Food Industry, Retail and Sales & Marketing. For details visit

July 6, 2012

You're Invited: Cocktails & Conversation -- Dallas office of Alston & Bird

Law School Class of 2014

Please join us for Cocktails & Conversation

Thursday, July 19, 2012
5:30 p.m.
2828 N. Harwood Street, Suite 1800, Dallas, TX 75201
*Sponsored by the Diversity Committee

Please RSVP by July 16th to Robert Morris at

You're Invited: Cocktails & Conversation -- Dallas office of Alston & Bird

Law School Class of 2014

Please join us for Cocktails & Conversation

Thursday, July 19, 2012
5:30 p.m.
2828 N. Harwood Street, Suite 1800, Dallas, TX 75201
*Sponsored by the Diversity Committee

Please RSVP by July 16th to Robert Morris at

June 29, 2012


Date: Tuesday, July 17, 2012
Time: 4:30pm

Hosted At: 16th Floor Conference Center of Leonard Street & Deinard, 150 South Fifth Street.

Thanks to the efforts of the Hennepin County Bar Association's Bench & Bar Committee, the HCBA's New Lawyers' Section, and several of the area's top firms, you will have the opportunity to hear from, and talk to, a panel of the "Chiefs". Specifically, U.S. District Court - District of Minnesota Chief Judge Michael Davis, Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice Lorie Gildea, Court of Appeals Chief Judge Matt Johnson, and Hennepin County Assistant Chief Judge Peter Cahill will talk to you about a host of issues relevant to new (and soon to be new) lawyers.

This panel discussion is geared toward summer associates, law clerks, interns, and newer lawyers throughout the legal community, including those in private practice, corporations, the courts, Legal Aid, and those in all areas of public service. The discussion, which will be moderated by Hennepin County District Court Judge Jay Quam, will encompass issues ranging from advice on effective practice in the various courts to the judges' views of how the profession is likely to change in the upcoming years. Following the discussion you will have the opportunity to attend a reception and talk to the panelists and other judges.

The discussion has been approved for one hour of standard CLE credit.

Registration begins at 4:15 p.m., with the discussion from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. A reception will follow the discussion.

We hope you can attend. Please RSVP by July 11, 2012 here.

June 22, 2012

Rising 2L: SAVE THE DATE for a Law Student Diversity Reception!

Thursday, July 19
Dallas office of Alston & Bird LLP
from 5:30 - 7:30 p.m.

On Thursday, July 19th, the Diversity Committee in the Dallas office of Alston & Bird is holding a Cocktails & Conversation Reception for rising 2L law students who are in town for the summer.

June 19, 2012

SAVE THE DATE: Pathways to Postgraduate Legal Fellowships

Thursday, July 12 6:30 - 8:30 pm
Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP
1333 New Hampshire Avenue NW
No cost to attend - space is limited - register now!
Click here to register!

May 22, 2012

The 21st Annual Minnesota Minority Recruitment Conference

The 21st Annual Minnesota Minority Recruitment Conference is OPEN!

The MMRC connects the largest legal employers in the Minneapolis/St. Paul metropolitan area with top 2L and 3L candidates from around the country. Interviews will be held from 9:00 - 5:00 p.m. Employers participating in the interviews will include small, medium and large firms; corporate law departments; and public interest, nonprofit and government entities. We will also be hosting a welcome reception on Thursday, August 2, for students to meet local attorneys from area employers before the interviews.

Date: Friday, August 3, 2012
Location: University of St. Thomas in downtown Minneapolis
Registration Deadline for Students: JUNE 11, 2012

Reception: Thursday, August 2, 2012; 5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.

Students may also be eligible for the McGhee Travel Scholarship to offset travel costs to the event. More information on the McGhee Travel Scholarship can be found at the above link, upon registration.

January 11, 2012

Judicial Meet & Greet

MN Appellate Court Judges Natalie Hudson and Wilhelmina Wright will provide insights into the Appellate Court process and drafting opinions; practical tips on brief writing and oral arguments as well as provide reflections on historic appellate cases as it relates to Black History Month.

This is a remarkable opportunity for students and lawyers alike to meet two of Minnesota's appellate judges and gain insightful information. It is also an opportunity for students to play an active role in Black History Month.

Date: Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Time: Noon - 1:00 P.M.

Registration is requested by February 17, 2012.

For complete details and to RSVP please visit, Symplicity's Homepage.

November 2, 2011

All Students: Networking Made Easy

Nov. 2; 12:15PM; Rm. 30

Join the Career Center's Dana Bartocci for an informative session on networking. Does the term "networking" make you uncomfortable? Do you have a nagging sense you should be doing more of it but haven't yet gotten started? Do you attend receptions and events and wonder whether you should be doing something differently? If so, this is the session for you. Learn the ins & outs of networking. This is a great event for those planning to attend Career Options Night.

October 24, 2011

17th Annual Career Options Night

Nov. 3, 5 - 7PM; Law School Robins-Kaplan Concourse

It's that time again! Career Options Night is finally here!

1Ls: This event is designed to allow students to talk one-on-one with attorneys from a number of different practice areas about their career paths and professional experiences. No resumes. No suits. No pressure.

2Ls and 3Ls: Meet or reconnect with attorneys in your target practice area. Career Options Night may help clarify a practice area focus.

October 20, 2011

Conservation Talk and Happy Hour

Join AZUL in a lively networking event with Dr. Tara Harris, Director of Conservation at the Minnesota Zoo. Dr. Harris will share her ideas and tips for greening your life!

6:00PM - 6:45PM: Networking, Cocktails, and Hors d'oeuvres
6:45PM - 7:30PM: Dr. Tara Harris Presentation/Q&A
7:30PM - 7:45PM: Door Prize Drawing
7:30PM - 8:30PM: Networking and Cocktails

Tickets are $15 for non-AZUL members & $10 for members!
All proceeds support the Zoo's education and conservation programs.

*Not an AZUL Member? For $85, you can become an annual member of AZUL and receive a variety of benefits including admission to the Minnesota Zoo.

Check out the link register and to learn more about AZUL and the Minnesota Zoo:

17th Annual Career Options Night

The University of Minnesota Law School Career Center is pleased to invite you to the 17th Annual Career Options Night.

This event is a great way to meet our students and share information about your career, practice, bar activities, and employer. Appetizers, beverages, and parking will be provided by the Career Center.

Thursday, November 3, 2011
5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Robins Kaplan Miller & Ciresi Concourse
University of Minnesota Law School
Walter F. Mondale Hall
229 19th Ave. South
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Organizations and individuals will be assigned a table where they can interact with students. Organizations do not need to have current or expected job openings to participate. Students are encouraged to inquire about career paths, organization missions, and practice area expectations and discouraged from asking about specific job opportunities.

Please RSVP by Monday, October 24, 2011 with your organization's name, name of person(s) attending, and practice areas to Simona Suen at

If you have questions, please contact the Career Center at 612.625.1866 or

October 17, 2011

2011 Quad Law Schools Public Interest Career Expo

Oct. 25, 4 - 7PM; University of St. Thomas Law School

4 - 5 PM: MJF Summer Clerkship Panel
Former MJF clerks will talk about their public interest and government summer clerkships. Find out which public interest and government employers are accepting applications this year. Pick up your application for MJF's summer 2012 clerkships. Learn how to customize your resume for public interest and government employers. Panel will be held in the Frey Moot Courtroom

5 - 7PM: Public Interest Career Fair
Meet with representatives from MN public interest and government offices to make connections with public interest employers and learn about volunteer opportunities throughout the school year and summer clerkshps. Expo will be held in the Schulze Grand Atrium

Sponsored by Minnesota Justice Foundation, University of St. Thomas School of Law, Hamline University, University of Minnesota Law School, & William Mitchell College of Law

Happy Hour for 1L's students at Dorsey & Whitney

Oct. 18, 5-7 PM, Happy Hour for 1L's students at Dorsey & Whitney law firm in Minneapolis

The Minnesota State Bar Association (MSBA) Environmental, Natural Resources, and Energy Law Section is hosting a happy hour for law students at all four local law schools to get to know lawyers who practice in this area of law. Even if you anticipate environmental or energy law will not be your area of focus, this is a great opportunity to go downtown, see a law firm, meet lawyers in this practice area as well as students at other law schools, and enjoy free pizza and drinks (beer/wine/soda).

October 14, 2011

MSBA/Law Student Networking Event

The MSBA Sections and Committees' annual law student networking
reception will take place on November 9, 2011. I hope that you will
be able to join us at this event to talk with over 200 students from
our four local law schools. Please come share your experiences and
knowledge with the students and encourage them to become members of
the Civic Education Committee. Our very own Elise Peterson will be
involved with the panel discussion for law students.

Annual Law School Networking Event
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
5:30 - 7:00 p.m.
Atrium outside MSBA/HCBA/MCLE Suites

Food/Beverages provided.

Here is the link to the event with more information:

Please let me know if you will attend this year's event on or before
November 7, 2011.

Thank you!

Jennifer L. Carter
Program Services Coordinator
Minnesota State Bar Association | 600 Nicollet Mall, Suite 380 |
Minneapolis, MN 55402
612-278-6309 | |

July 22, 2010

Upcoming Job Fairs & Tips for Successful Participation

Attending job fairs is an excellent way to meet multiple employers at one location. Check out these two websites regarding upcoming job fairs in addition to tips on how to be successful at a fair. Note that many job fairs are restricted to students from participating schools.

Job Fair Tips

Dress professionally - Wear a suit, handle this as you would a regular interview.

Resumes - Bring a supply of resumes to hand out to the employers. Take a portfolio/briefcase to hold your documentation (e.g. resumes, writing samples,firm literature, etc.). And don't forget to bring a pen or two!

Continue reading "Upcoming Job Fairs & Tips for Successful Participation" »

April 9, 2010

Minnesota Bar Association to Post Announcements via Twitter

The MSB Sections Staff will be posting upcoming CLE, law student event and other announcements on Twitter. Students can follow the announcements directly on Twitter. You or students can become followers by visiting MSBASections. Since more and more sections are including free registration for law students, we hope that you will follow us and join us at upcoming vents!

Elyse Farnsworth
Section Services Director
Minnesota State Bar Association
600 Nicollet Mall, Suite 380
Minneapolis, MN 55402
Direct: 612-278-6336
Toll Free: 1-800-882-6722

December 17, 2009

Free Podcast: Networking During the Holidays

The American Bar Association Law Student Division presents:

Business Law and Young Lawyers:
Networking During the Holidays

A free podcast.

Before you head home for the holidays or hit the holiday party circuit, learn how to make the most of social events and family gatherings in advancing your career prospects.

Some of the questions covered:

• How can I most effectively follow-up with contacts I meet at holiday events and happy hours?
• What is the best way to subtly ask a family member for a job?
• When should I arrive at holiday functions, and how long should I stay?
• How can I express my interest in a new position while not speaking badly of my current one?
• What is the best way to transition a conversation from social topics to a more targeted job/internship focus?
• What is the best way to find out about networking and holiday events in my home town?
• What is the most appropriate way to contact those people in my network during the holiday season - should I send a gift, a holiday card, an email, etc.?
• How should I best prepare myself to attend networking functions during the holidays?
• How do I politely decline invitations to events?

To listen to the program, go here.


Thanks to our friends at Touro for this post.


August 18, 2009

Four Tips for Reluctant Networkers

Check out these practical networking tips


Lawyers who go to a meeting or a reception with the sole purpose of finding a new client or landing a job interview usually leave frustrated and discouraged. They miss the fundamental point: Networking is about building relationships.

One of the quickest and most effective ways to initiate or strengthen a relationship is to help the other person. Recipients of your generosity, wisdom or connections will also be more motivated to help you when you need help.

When my coaching clients go to a function, I ask them not to leave until they have helped at least three people. It counts even if all they do is point someone to the restroom or bar. Possibilities for being helpful abound, however.

For example, at a social or business function they can suggest an online resource for a problem, answer a legal or other question, make an introduction to someone else at the event who may be of interest, promise to send a link to an article on the subject of discussion, or go up to talk to someone standing alone.

Most of my reluctant networker clients report that when they attend with the goal of helping, they feel more at ease. Some report, with some surprise, that they actually kind of enjoy themselves.

Click here for the entire post.


July 29, 2009

Navigating the Career Development Process

Are you wondering how to begin your job search? Check out this article in the July issue of Hennepin Lawyer, by two of our very own, Dana Bartocci and Vic Massaglia.

July 23, 2009

Job Search Marketing Toolkit - Networking

From Career Alley:

"If it's the Psychic Network why do they need a phone number?" - Robin Williams

Networking for job search is under-rated (and it certainly is not the Psychic Network). For some of us (like me) there is nothing I like less than "bothering" a former co-worker, friend, relative or business associate to let them know that I am out of work &/or looking for a job. There are, of course, many people who don't have a problem with this.

There are a number of ways you can leverage your network without calling people as the first step (although this is not a bad way to start). Business social networks have been covered in a number of previous posts (quick links are listed below), so I won't cover that topic again in this post. I will, however, provide some basic Networking concepts and methods. But first some quick links to ... social networks:

For these links and for the entire post, visit CareerAlley


July 10, 2009

Make the Most of Your MWL Membership: Get Involved!!

Save the Date
Minnesota Women Lawyers 2009 Committee Fair on August 26th
Have you ever wondered how MWL is able to attract so many phenomenal speakers, print a great publication, hold top-notch events, and so much more? MWL has its many committees to thank! Find out how you can get involved at the 2009 MWL Committee Fair. Join us for lunch and meet the active members who get it all done. You'll learn about opportunities to get involved and network with MWL's leadership and members.

The MWL Committee Fair will be held on Wednesday, August 26th from 12:00 noon to 1:30 p.m. at Briggs and Morgan, P.A. (80 South 8th Street, IDS Tower, Suite 2200 in Minneapolis; in the Minnesota Room). All members and prospective members are invited to attend. Lunch will be provided.

If you plan to attend, please RSVP by Friday, August 21st to We hope you will be able to join us!

May 4, 2009

Resources on How to Use LinkedIn Effectively

LinkedIn is becoming more and more popular to help one establish a professional online presence. It is also an excellent way to connect with past, present, and future colleagues and employers. Our friends from Touro Law shared the following resources with us to help you use LinkedIn effectively.

How to Use LinkedIn Effectively

Top Eleven Ways to Use LinkedIn Effectively

Six Elements of a Great LinkedIn Profile

LinkedIn: Seven Tips to Make the Most of Your Profile

Five LinkedIn Tips on Effective Personal Branding


April 16, 2009

LinkedIn and Law Students

Take a look at these two blog postings regarding the use of LinkedIn. This professional, social networking tool is excellent for building and maintaining relationships, sharing information, and for branding yourself.

Law school students using LinkedIn : It's a no brainer


How law students should use LinkedIn

I would be happy to talk with you about this tool and how to use it to maximize your networking experience.


March 9, 2009

Networking Is Key to Navigating the Recession

Take a look at our colleague's helpful article regarding networking. It has some great tips.

Networking Is Key to Navigating the Recession

Use your personal style in choosing ways to make contacts and build relationships
Ari L. Kaplan
The National Law Journal
March 06, 2009

"There have been thousands of layoffs in the legal market since the financial crisis began, but if you are one of its casualties, you do have options and you can still create opportunity.

In the current market, those who continue to think of ways to provide value to others will stand out in a sea of people that is only growing more crowded as the credit crunch lingers.

Start thinking about who inspires you in your community and why. Then try to meet one or all of those individuals. It is important to begin this process of finding inspiration because as you hone those skills, you will be able to nourish your appetite for interesting and unique perspectives throughout your career."

For the entire article, click here.

December 11, 2008

What Not to Wear: Dressing at Holiday Receptions

What Not to Wear: Dressing at Holiday Receptions

So, you have set up an informational interview over winter break or have gotten an invite to a holiday reception or other networking event. Great! But now you are wondering "what should I wear to a holiday reception or for a networking meeting?"

If you are meeting an alumni or another contact in his or her office, wear a suit. Remember this is a business meeting. If you are invited to a holiday reception and the invitation doesn't specify dress, remember this is a business reception, not a holiday cocktail party so wear a suit. No cocktail dresses or tuxedos! Just wear your best suit, hose if you are a woman, a tie if you are a man, shine your shoes, and impress the employers with your personality!

Ok, you get it - wear a suit. But what if the person you are meeting or the event details say "feel free to wear business casual?" Keep in mind that "business casual" can vary from employer to employer and sometimes even person to person. Wearing khakis, a button down, and a sport coat may be "business casual" for one employer while cords and a sweater may be "business casual" for another. As such, trying to dress "business casual" can be difficult for potential candidates and visitors to the employer. Your best bet - you guessed it - wear a suit!

Just because someone says you can dress "business casual" doesn't mean you have to. You are better off wearing a suit the first time you meet with an employer or contact or attend a networking event and being able to gauge what might be appropriate "business causal" for next time. No employer, contact, or alumni is going to look poorly upon you for feeling that they were important enough to wear a suit for!

If you have questions regarding what is appropriate dress for different events in the legal community please feel free to stop by the Career & Professional Development Center to chat with our counselors!

* Thanks to our friends at Case for this posting.

November 25, 2008

Building Relationships

"Relationships are all there is. Everything in the universe only exists because it is in relationship to everything else. Nothing exists in isolation. We have to stop pretending we are individuals that can go it alone."

This is a quote from Margaret Wheatley, author of Leadership and the New Science. When networking, think of your task as building a meaningful, productive relationship that will support the advancement of each party involved over time. Consider this networking mantra from the movie Jerry McGuire to guide you in your relationship building: "Help me... help you. Help me, help you..."

Have a terrific Thanksgiving. Connect and reconnect with your friends and family.

Best wishes from the CPDC Staff.

November 3, 2008

Maximizing A Professional Association Membership

Maximizing A Professional Association Membership

By Brett Prytle, Star Tribune Sales and Marketing

Professional associations are a great way to build career connections and visibility. But misusing the resource can put the brakes on any job search.

Chick here for the entire article.


July 24, 2008

Young Lawyers Connect

The New York City Bar Association has created Young Lawyers Connect in response to the challenges of being a busy young attorney or law student, be it through age or professional experience. For more information, visit the link above.

Thanks Brett and Crew.


June 4, 2008

Networking Resources

Check out Networking Resources from the Career & Professional Development blog at lawprofessorblogs

April 8, 2008

Best Selling Legal Career Guide Updated and Expanded

Guerrilla Tactics for Getting the Legal Job of Your Dreams, 2nd Edition, by Kimm Walton, 2008.

* The long-awaited second edition of this bestseller has finally arrived! This essential and very readable handbook is now significantly expanded to over 1,300 pages. Kimm Walton's informal and infectious style, wit, and humor remain, however. She covers every aspect of the job search, from exploring practice areas to conquering the large firm without stellar grades.

Note that we have copies of this comprehensive text in the CPDC.

Table of Contents
Chapter 1: The Secret to Being Happily Employed for the Rest of your life
Chapter 2: Figuring Out What the Heck the Job of Your Dream Is
Chapter 3: Getting the Most Out of Your Career Services Office
Chapter 4: The Most Important Element of Your Image

Continue reading "Best Selling Legal Career Guide Updated and Expanded" »

March 26, 2008

Dress code for receptions, alumni visits and other networking meetings

From email FAQs:

What should I wear to a law firm reception or for a networking meeting?

If you are meeting in an office, wear a suit.

But what if they say "wear business casual?" What is "business casual, anyway?"

"Business casual" is a concept that is fraught with peril for interview candidates and other visitors. It was designed to make people more "comfortable" at work. Instead, it has created a new title for for administrators who, acting as "Clothes Police," must remind people that flip-flops and belly shirts, or ripped jeans and gardening clothes are not work clothes. It has forced people to add another layer to their wardrobes -- on top of Fancy Dress, Business Suits, Grubbing in the Back Yard, Running to the Gym, and Dashing to the Grocery Store.

The most awkward part of "Business Casual" is that it can cover a lot of territory: Is it Dockers and a button-down shirt or an Armani sweater and cashmere socks? This is defined firm-by-firm, office-by-office and supervisor-by-supervisor.

Bottom line for you: wear a suit.

Originally posted by Susan Gainen

March 18, 2008

Break Into Your Career By Breaking a Sweat: Hobbies Make A Difference

We often tell students to follow their passions outside of law, even if it takes time away from the daily work of law school. Not only does that make for a balanced life, it also can be a hidden job search strategy. I recently was contacted by a second year law student who discussed the unconventional way she located her summer employment:

I will be working at XYZ law firm (a mid-sized Minneapolis law firm) this summer. I did not interview with them through OCI. I was able to get an interview with them because I run with one of the partners. I trained for the TCM [Twin Cities Marathon] with him all summer. He forwarded my resume to the hiring team. He did not interview me and did not tell any of the interviewers that he knew me.

This student also had the following advice:

[I]f you do have a 1L who says that they are interested in running, encourage them to join a running club in the cities. The group that I run with is not a club per se, just a bunch of people who have picked each other up around the lake. But there are lots of attorneys who run and train for the marathon. I met the guys I run with on my morning runs, however, I am sure a more formalized running group would have some great connections as well.

So there you have it -- having hobbies in law school can be good for your career development. In all seriousness, you never know how you will connect with people and the more you follow your passions, the better the possibility that someone will see how much you can accomplish when you are engaged and committed to an activity or project. Even if you don't run, people get hired through volunteer work with community groups, political activity, artistic/creative endeavors, etc. The most important thing is that your interest be genuine -- people can easily tell when you are doing something purely for the networking prospects.

February 22, 2008

Need to Improve Your Public Speaking Skills?

If you are interested in further developing your communication skills, I have just the resource for you. Consider joining a Toast Masters group where you will

* Learn to communicate more effectively
* Become a better listener.
* Improve your presentation skills
* Increase your leadership potential
* Become more successful in your career
* Build your ability to motivate and persuade
* Reach your professional and personal goals
* Increase your self confidence.

I would be happy to talk with you about my experiences with this organization. I learned a lot, and it has served me well.

Check out this link for a club near you with their contact information.


February 6, 2008

Why work with a bar association committee? Reason 5,473.2

From my email:

As you know, I've been working with an ABA committee. I've worked a fair amount with one of the attorneys on model legislation and we are "work friendly." I've never met him in person. At any rate, in an email conversation (he had just congratulated me on my externship this semester), I mentioned my upcoming interview with Prof.
XXX, a little about her, and why I was excited about it. Purely conversational, I expected nothing more than a "good luck" from him.

Well. During my interview, Prof. XXX mentioned she had received a really nice letter of recommendation from someone who knew me. Turns out "Bob" took it upon himself to find her email and write apparently quite a wonderful letter to her. I had no idea. Of course, I thanked him after the interview.

The lesson: A little bit of your time can go a long way. When you work with lawyers on their projects, they see you as a competent professional, not just as a "student." You earn the Rebuttable Presumption of Competence in All Things, which can generate a recommendation or, depending on your circumstances, an offer of employment.

September 25, 2007

Another Networking Success Story

A recent grad e-mailed our office with updated work contact information. Knowing that this grad had already been working at a job that interested him, I inquired how the job switch had happened. Here is his response:

[I]t was classic networking I guess. The director of the [new employer organization] had come to me and my old boss months ago for advice on starting up this nonprofit. When she needed a staff attorney, she emailed all the lawyers she knew to see if anyone knew anyone who would be interested.

I wasn't planning on leaving my job at the time, but I scheduled an appointment with her under the pretense of "how our organizations can work together" but really to scout the position out. We had a really great talk, and I decided it was a great match in style and ambition -- so I put my name in for consideration. The rest is history.

July 20, 2007

Future lawyers should build networks now

From Minnesota Lawyer
By Dawn Wagenaar | July 16, 2007

Because they've grown up with a lot of communication tools, young attorneys often have a natural instinct for building social networks. This strength, however, may not be leveraged by the firm until it is "time�? for those attorneys to bring in business -- traditionally when they are promoted to a more senior position.

There is nothing traditional about the coming decades in our labor pool, however. To prepare themselves well for leadership, attorneys in their 20s and early 30s need to take the initiative now to build a network of professional contacts. This is key for future business development as well as for their careers.

Here are a few ways that they can prepare themselves.

To read more click

linked with permission. July 20, 2007

May 29, 2007

When we say "connect" -- a blueprint for connectivity

Because we believe that you will be leaders in your chosen fields, we think that there is no time like the present for you to connect to the people who are doing the work that you want to do. When we say “connect,? and throw out a handful of ideas in a short meeting, it is our shorthand for a Blueprint for Connectivity:

Whether the subject is something you have focused on for nine years or nine minutes, you must:

Learn some lingo

Locate your people

Connect to your future colleagues


1. A busy person will not welcome the following questions:

a. What is construction litigation?
b. What do prosecutors do?
c. Is patent prosecution related to criminal law?
d. What does health law cover?

2. Your job – before sending an email or picking up the phone – is to do some basic research so that you can ask an intelligent question which will persuade a busy person to take time out to talk to you. Your resources include:

a. NALP’s Guide to Legal Specialties
b. Subject and practice-specific websites
c. A syllabus for a class in the area
d. A hornbook
e. General and specialty newspapers and websites
f. Google – your friend

LOCATE YOUR PEOPLE #1 (work that is being done today)

1. Employers (who does the work?)
2. Faculty (who teaches in the area?)
---- Not just U of MN Law Faculty – any law faculty
---- Any faculty member from another discipline
3. Bar leadership and bar members (who has put the public on notice that they do this work?)
4. Authors of journal articles, news articles, books, etc. (who is thinking, writing and speaking on the subject?)
5 Lawyers who have litigated cases in the area, find through Westlaw or Lexis (who is doing the work right now?)
6. Professionals working in the area located through

LOCATE YOUR PEOPLE #2 (work that isn’t being widely done today)

Challenge your research skills to find the people who are beginning to work on the subject. Find them on blogs and blog the subject yourself.


1. Ask a question that’s easy to answer “yes.?

a. “I am a first year law student and I am interested in construction litigation because xxxxx. May I meet with you for 30 minutes to ask some specific questions about the practice?"

b. “I am a first year law student and I am interested in construction litigation. I know that you chair the MSBA section, and I would like to introduce my self to you at the next section meeting."

February 19, 2007

Networking is not... (from Kimm Walton)

Having just returned from a 'round the country in three weeks tour of law schools, Kimm Walton has a few stories to share. Here is one of them...

One law student complained bitterly about his job search.

I asked him if he'd contacted anyone about what he wanted to do, and he said, "Yes, but it didn't work. I got the names of five alums from Career Services. I e-mailed all of them telling them I was looking for a job. One of them didn't respond at all. Two told me they weren't hiring. The other two told me they didn't have any openings, but they had some ideas for me."
"Did you call them?"
"No. They didn't have any jobs."

Two lessons:

1. "Not hiring today" doesn't mean "not hiring ever."
2. When alumni respond to an email with "I have some ideas for you," the first thing to do is make contact.

February 18, 2007

On-Line Professionalism: Blogging

As employers increase their background checks and look more closely at their applicants, the issue of managing one's on-line persona is more important than ever for job seekers. Remember, the purpose of the interview process is to confirm that you have the experience, skills and abilities listed on your resume. In addition, employers are equally concerned with ensuring that you will be a good fit for their organization.

Like it or not, one of the steps added to the due diligence process is conducting Internet searches to learn more about you and how you ‘behave’ online, i.e. what you are writing about (your opinions), including comments about others (respect and civility), and your overall level of professionalism (self-awareness, responsibility, maturity). These searches include looking at sites such as MySpace, Facebook, and Friendster. They also include search engine tools like Google, which often lead an employer directly to a candidate’s blog, which can be a treasure trove of personal (and often damaging) information about the blogger. Do not underestimate the extent to which blogs are explored and the content and tone thoroughly examined by employers, classmates, potential colleagues, mentors, professors, your parents, etc.

Simply stated: Your words can, and most probably will, come back to haunt you in a variety of ways and environments.

That said, I’m not suggesting that you give up your freedom of speech online for, as one U of M student suggests, these mediums are “valuable communication tools and great ways to express oneself to a large network of friends in varied locations.? I am suggesting, however, that one carefully monitor and manage his or her online presence. Many of the responses I received to my e-mail inquiry regarding social networking suggested the following:

• Keep privacy settings high and be careful who has access to your blog.

• Don’t publish anything on your page that you would be embarrassed about having a hiring partner read.

• Make yourself ‘unsearchable’, which means using a name and/or email address that your potential employers won’t know.

• Password protect every page that might have potentially negative or very personal information.

• Keep in mind that even if you have taken every precaution to hide and /or protect your online information, that doesn’t guarantee that someone to whom you have given access won’t pass it along to others.

The bottom line is, as another U of M law student eloquently stated: “Students should keep it classy. Schools and employers should aim for high-quality information in a well-designed format and should resist the urge to be cool and trendy.?

January 15, 2007

Warning: Social Networking Can Be Hazardous to Your Job Search

Please take a look at the following article from Warning: Social Networking Can Be Hazardous to Your Job Search. Note the 'bottom line': "80% of companies perform background checks."

As you seek and secure employment, please Google yourself and also review your social networking sites (e.g. Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, blogs, etc.). Are they presenting an image of someone you would like to employ?

December 10, 2006

Ask for what you want...

Sales professionals -- people who live and die by their results -- know that you have to "Ask for the Order." Job searching and networking are no different -- you have to ask for what you want.

Interviewing and Job Searching -- 7 out of 10 people walk out of an interview and the interviewer has no idea if the candidate is actually interested in the job. Look the interviewer straight in the eye, shake hands and say "I am very interested in continuing in the interview process, and hope to work for you in the (summer; fall; next judicial term)."

Networking -- After slaving over the text of a letter or email explaining who you are, don't neglect to ask for what you want: a 20-minute meeting next week, a ten-minute phone call by the end of this week; a chance to shadow a prosecutor or defender; or an invitation to a bar association committee meeting.

Think of it this way: Telepathy is not a job search tool -- unless you are applying for one or two jobs in Las Vegas. You have to ask!

December 7, 2006

Productive Informational Interviews

The following is from a student e-mail I received regarding his experience conducting informational interviews:

"I thought you might like to know that my informational interviews in [Northern City, MN], Thursday and Friday of last week went very well. Everyone was very helpful in describing what their experience has been like practicing in [Greater Minnesota], and most were willing to give advice on what else I could do and other attorneys I should speak with. I even got invited up again to meet with the rest of the attorneys at one of the firms! If nothing else, I got a lot more names of people to get in touch with in order to keep expanding my circle. I also got the feeling that it would be a great area to live and practice law in, and am encouraged by the fact that it seemed like many interesting employment possibilities exist in the area." (Note that this e-mail extract was used with the student's permission.)

Feel free to stop by the CPDC and learn more about securing and conducting informational interviews. Please let the us know if you have additional informational and/or networking advice you'd like to share.

November 15, 2006

How not to network: Rule #45,788

Rule # 45,788: What do you do with a list of names? Talk to the people whose names are on the list.

A current 3L suggested that if students are to use the CPDC "What did you do last summer?" list that they understand what its purpose is and how they should use it.

"I--along with many of my classmates--have been contacted by 1L's and 2L's who want us to blindly recommend them for jobs at our firms without ever having met us or even discussed why our firms interest them.

“While we all are eager to recommend UMN students, we need to at least be sure that we are recommending someone who can carry on a conversation! All that would be required is to agree to meet for lunch or coffee, but most students who have used the list do not want to do even that.?

He urged us to remind students that “3L's with job offers have a surprising amount of influence in their firm's hiring decisions.?

And, this is the Kiss of Death use of that document, “I've also had one student drop my name at my firm without telling me. When the firm asked me about him, all I could say was that I didn't even know he was applying.?

LESSONS # 45,788 and 45,789:

45,788: You wouldn’t expect a blind date to pick your children’s names and china patterns, so should you not expect someone who doesn’t know you to recommend you for an interview or for employment.

45,789: Never, ever use someone’s name as a reference without specifically asking for permission. You have embarrassed a person who in the future might have been a good reference or professional pal. You look stupid. And the “non-referring reference? will remember you forever, and not in a good way.

October 11, 2006

Blogging Has Its Benefits

A recent alumnus of the law school sent us an e-mail this week describing his experience with a potential employer that identified him from his blog. Here is an excerpt of the e-mail he sent to us:

"I just got an email from the general counsel of a rather high-profile digital music startup in San Francisco asking me to submit my resume for an open in-house counsel position. He mentioned that he'd decided to email me because he'd noted my interest in and familiarity with the relevant legal issues from posts on my blog."

"I declined, since I already accepted an offer from [another employer]. But I think it's notable that I attracted interest for what would be a job that's very high on my "dream job" list not because I was a [judicial law] clerk, but because of my blog."

"So if they can use the blog to demonstrate that they are really competent in and passionate about a certain area of law, I would encourage students to consider starting a legal blog. If it's a chore, that will come through, but if the student really enjoys writing about and discussing the subject, that enthusiasm can come through and can have positive consequences."

Not everyone may want to take the time and effort to create and maintain a blog. However, it's interesting to note the potential upsides of a presence on the web. As always, you want to make sure that you monitor your entries and make sure they reflect positively on you as much as possible.

October 4, 2006

ASK for what you want...

Sales professionals -- people who live and die by their results -- know that you have to "Ask for the Order." Job searching and networking are no different -- you have to ask for what you want.

Interviewing and Job Searching -- When 7 out of 10 people walk out of an interview leaving the interviewer with no idea whether the candidate is actually interested in the job. Don't waste this opportunity to ask for what you want. Look the interviewer straight in the eye, shake hands and say "I am very interested in continuing in the interview process, and hope to work for you in the (next few weeks, summer, fall, or next judicial term)."

Networking -- After slaving over the text of a letter or email explaining who you are, don't neglect to ask for what you want: a 20-minute meeting next week, a ten-minute phone call by the end of this week; a chance to shadow a prosecutor or defender; or an invitation to a bar association committee meeting.

March 31, 2006

Following up on your networking meetings

Because networking contacts are like blind dates (no baby name or china pattern selection), you need to follow up to build the relationships.

In your first meeting you may have gotten some advice or some insight into the person's personal interests or concerns. Your follow-up relates to what you learned.

Advice -- report back. Did you take the advice? What was the result?
Interests or concerns -- follow up with a relevant note, an article or link.

Once you begin this kind of relationship, you might use a contact as a sounding board to test information that might sound correct -- or might not. For instance, during a Spring Break Shadows program, a 1L "learned" that only 2Ls and 3Ls get the really good externships. However, after speaking to us in the CPDC, he learned that during the 1L summer, virtually ALL of the externs are 1Ls, hence the "good" externships (however they are defined) go to 1Ls.

Ask questions that your networking contact can answer

Instead of "what advice do you have for me," your networking questions should be targetted and specific.

"I am an LLM considering OPT before returning to my home country. Because I can go home and go right to work, do you see any value for me or for my future employer if I were to work here?"

"I am a 1L interested in business law and am considering getting an MBA. Would you advise doing this now, or should I wait until I am out in practice?"

"With my long-standing interest in transactional work, do you see value for me in a judicial externship or judicial clerkship after graduation?"

Each of these questions gives your networking contact an opportunity to EXPOUND. You may know the answer, or think that you know the answer. No matter. You are always picking up a new perspective, and your networking contact will think that you are brilliant if you smile and shake your head in agreement.

March 13, 2006

When a networking contact isn't in your field...

Q – Some of my parents friends have offered to “help? me in my job search. If I don’t want to do the work that they do, should I talk to them anyway?

A – Unless the work that they do is murder-for-hire, talk to them. By not having the chat, you run the risk of causing hurt feelings that might bite you back years from now. The trick is to craft questions that get to the heart of what you can learn from an experienced lawyer in a half hour meeting or during lunch. For example:

1. Dad’s pal is the senior partner at the largest firm in the galaxy and you don’t want to work in such a place. Ask this senior, experienced person (a) what characteristics are most important in successful lawyers; and (b) how does he continue to enhance his ability to serve clients well.

2. Mom’s best friend is now the head of a division in your home state’s attorney general’s office, and you don’t want to work in the public sector. You want to ask this senior, experienced manager (a) what characteristics are most important in successful lawyers; (b) in these tight budget times, how does she continue to enhance her staff’s ability to serve its public constituents; and (c) what characteristics should you be looking for in a supervisor.

March 5, 2006

Managing "networking" expectations (1)

Put yourself in the position of the stranger you call for a "networking" opportunity. With Minnesota alums, assume that you will talk to a nice and helpful person. (The grad may be busy and ask you to call back next week -- do it.) But here -- at the corner of Introduction & Expectation -- is the place where new networkers get frustrated. After getting up the courage to call a stranger, they want a job NOW, forgetting that they wouldn't talk about baby names on a blind date, and that networking is similar. In all networking settings, ask questions to which the answer can be "yes." "Will you get me a job?" is not one of those questions. Try these approaches:

1. "I know from you are a plaintiff's employment lawyer. Do you have 10 minutes to talk to me about the market and the practice in [your city]?" "Would you suggest that I join the local ATLA chapter as a student?" These are targeted, focused questions that respect the alum's practice and show that you know something about it.

2. "I know ... that you are in a bankruptcy practice. I am interested in debtor work, and I wonder if you might look at my resume and give me a quick heads up on the best debtor firms in your city?" Again, targeted and focused.

3. "I know ... that you are in a business litigation practice in [your small city.] Do you have 10 mintues to talk to me about whether I should approach employers in your city looking to specialize in litigation, or should I present a more general business interest to prospective employers who might need eitther litigation or corporate attorneys?"

For more information and suggestions about networking, go to CareerFiles and Networking Scripts and Information Interviews and Kimm Walton's Guerilla Tactics for Getting the Legal Job of Your Dreams.

Managing "networking" expectations (2)

Unless your "networking" contact is a long-time friend of the family who has known you since you were three, she can't become Your Instant Advocate. What she can become is a resource. She can answer questions about her job, her industry, her career path, her advice for someone who wants her job, and her ideas about the future of her job and industry. She can tell you how to apply to her employer, but in your first meeting you can't ask her for a personal recommendation. AFTER you develop a relationship of trust, when you have convinced her that should she introduce you to a friend or colleague that you won't embarrass her, THEN you may be directed to use her name. Unlike the line in TORT's West Bank Story, "Speed Dating is not like Speed Networking."