How interning and networking go hand-in-hand with your 3L year

Issue November/December 2016 By Katherine L. Connolly

By now you've heard many times throughout your law school career how important it is to get an internship and participate in networking events. This is just as important to do while you finish out your last year of law school and prepare to take the bar exam.

Internships are a great way to get a variety of experience. Some people go into law school and know exactly what type of law they would like to practice. Others have no set direction or are interested in many aspects of the law which do not coincide. There is the beauty in the internship. Internships allow you to explore various practices and to ultimately find your niche or find out what area you do not want to practice in.

I personally recommend trying to do a variety of internships. Without experience and hands on learning, it is difficult to ascertain what you want to do. Internships provide all of that. Internships are a place to learn, cultivate legal skills and be provided guidance on how to effectively practice. With these experiences you will be able to really understand what areas of law interest you. This is one of the things that does not come easily once you're out and practicing for a living. There is less flexibility in the professional world to dabble in many different areas of law.

Finally, interning is a way to build and cultivate relationships, which give way to easy networking - something that is equally important as it is terrifying to most people. The hardest part about networking is getting out and introducing yourself to someone. If there is a local event (through your law school or the MBA) make an effort to go. Do some online research regarding the speakers or guests at this event and find some commonality to talk about. Networking is really about connecting with others, which is easily done through similar interests. Having done some research and having something to talk about will also surely take away some nerves! Use that commonality to make a lasting impression and to get a business card or email. Make sure that you follow up with your new connections via email or other means, such as LinkedIn. If you are unsure on how to reach out after the initial meeting, an easy way is to say how much you enjoyed meeting the person and speaking about your common interests.

Staying in contact is an old art form that many people have trouble with but takes hardly any time. Making a conscious effort to send follow up emails or staying in touch via online resources is an effortless way to keep these connections thriving. Do not forget to keep your contacts from various internships alive, too. Many future jobs, internships and opportunities stem from experiences and connections that you make in law school and the early part of your legal career.

Katherine L. Connolly is an associate with Pierce Davis & Perritano LLP. Connolly focuses her practice on the defense of asbestos and toxic tort claims. Prior to joining the firm, Connolly focused her practice in the defense of civil litigation, including automobile and premises liability claims, consumer protection claims under MGL c. 93A and MGL c. 176D and coverage matters. She received her Juris Doctor from Suffolk University Law School in 2013, where she successfully completed internships with the United States Coast Guard and the Massachusetts Superior Court (MacLeod, J.). She graduated with Pro Bono Honors and completed the Macaronis Civil Litigation oncentration.

School of Thought is a regular column geared for law student members.

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