While many students do very well academically, it doesn’t guarantee success once they graduate. Professional development – their level of success and job satisfaction – is significantly connected to finding the specific area of law, the type of job (small firm, large firm, in-house legal staff, government office, etc.), and the culture that best fits their personality and career goals. Helping students go beyond academics will make a powerful, positive difference.
Connecting your students with attorneys from a wide range of backgrounds and work areas is essential to your students’ professional development, playing a huge role in their ultimate success.
With this in mind, establishing regular networking events with attorneys from both various fields and various work environments, as well as attorney mentoring programs, creates opportunities for students to connect. These connections provide opportunity to build professional relationships, which in turn, provide career:
- Guidance – from someone who has “been there, done that.” In essence, every relationship has the potential for mentoring – for helping the aspiring law student to receive “real time” advice on current trends, as well as unwritten rules and customs. Attorneys can share stories from their personal journeys – the mistakes they made, the victories along the way and the reasons they chose their particular field.
- Insight – on your personal career As a relationship builds, the attorney can help the student focus on his/her strengths and weaknesses, and natural bents toward an area of law. By paying attention to what makes the student come alive with passion, the attorney can give solid feedback about realistic career options.
- Opportunities – regarding potential job openings. The majority of openings aren’t publicly posted, but filled either through staffing firms or word-of-mouth among those already working within a specific company or arena. An ongoing relationship with attorneys opens the door for potential recommendations, which can lead to future connections and opportunities.
Building strong relationships takes more than creating the initial events. Teach your students the ways and means of relationship building. Professionalism isn’t about party time – it’s their road to a successful future. Important keys include:
- Putting “professionalism” before the word networking. It’s not about connecting with friends – it’s about connecting with professional groups within the law arena. Participating in forums and discussions, posting relevant articles, seeking advice, etc.
- Cleaning up your personal and public image – beginning with social media. If your students want respect and guidance from professionals, a clean social media is essential.
- Build personal strength, authenticity, and integrity. Practicing attorneys and other professional mentors will be much quicker to invest in a relationship with an individual who is trustworthy.
Teaching law is more than providing top quality education and training. It’s also all about preparing your students for their journey beyond graduation. It’s about professional development – which begins with relationships. Helping your students connect to and build relationships with practicing attorneys is a valuable tool in their ultimate success.
The journey to professional development through building relationships is enhanced when students understand which direction in the law industry is best for them. LawFit was established to help law students successfully find their niche through accurate assessments. Created by a team of lawyers, career counselors, and industrial psychologists, our assessment provides insight into personal motivators and helps identify suitable practice areas or even alternative career directions. Connect your students with LawFit – contact us today.