Are you an extern? It’s OK to say no to lunch. That might be surprising, given all the advice out there to network, network, network.
But the reality, says Liz Vaysman, in a post called “Externship etiquette” at Ms. JD (http://ms-jd.org), is that “you are a student and are likely beyond broke.” Plus, lunch is a great time to catch up on your reading for school or to meet with a friend who’s working nearby.
That doesn’t mean you should pass on every opportunity, notes Vaysman, a student at American University Washington College of Law and a Ms. JD board member. Do go out to lunch with your coworkers from time to time, she advises, or see if others are packing their lunch and eating it together in the kitchen rather than in their offices.
And say yes to any offsite events, she recommends, even if it means rearranging some other things in your life. For example, she says, an upcoming offsite training interferes with a trip she had planned—so she changed her flight.
“The information I will gain that day at the training, the people I will meet who work in a topic I am interested in, the impression I make on my boss by going, are all worth missing one beach day in Miami,” she believes.
Lawyers like Twitter, too
Maybe you’ve heard that as a law student, you’re supposed to get your name out there and build a reputation as someone who’s interested in and at least a little knowledgeable about a particular area of law.
If you’re looking for a place to interact with practicing lawyers, get a feel for what they’re talking about—and join the conversation yourself—you might consider Twitter.
In a post called “The 50 best Twitter accounts to follow for lawyers and litigators,” Ken Lopez, founder and CEO at A2L Consulting (www.a2lc.com/blog) identifies some of the best places to start. Among them:
- @ABAesq and @ABAJournal, for news from the American Bar Association and about the legal profession in general;
- @WSJlawblog, for “hot cases, emerging trends, and big personalities in law;” and
- @VolokhC, for a law professor’s take on headline-making cases and legal news.
What else can you do with a JD?
You probably already know that having a law degree doesn’t necessarily mean a career at a big firm.
If you’re in need of some other ideas, jdcareersoutthere.com has pulled together a series of video clips, in a post called “Law alternatives,” in which seasoned professionals in law-related fields share their experiences and tips. Among the alternative fields covered are:
- e-discovery/legal careers in technology;
- legal knowledge management at law firms; and
- working as a lawyer on Capitol Hill.
All of these are “a step, but not a giant step, away from the practice of law,” said JD COT founder Marc Luber, who is a nonpracticing lawyer himself. For those wishing to venture further afield, he notes, there’s another series of videos called JD Refugee.