1. Select a school that aligns with your future goals – Focus on what & where. If you know what you want to do and where you want to be, go to the school which has a strong substantive program and/or is located in the area you see yourself practicing law. This will position you with the strongest networking connections down the road.
2. Find a mentor who can provide valuable insight – Focus on a common path. Use your college alumni association or LinkedIn to find and connect with an alum who followed a path similar to what you are hoping to do and reach out to have coffee or lunch. If possible, target alums who attended the same college and law school, this only strengthens your connection!
3. Meet a recruiter while you are in law school – Focus on strategy. Establish a relationship early in your career so the recruiter has time to really get to know you and your aspirations. Understanding all opportunities in the market whether permanent or project-based allows you to remain informed. As you make decisions between firms, practice areas or in OCI, a recruiter can share valuable insight and best practices.
4. Do what you love – Focus on your interests not your lifestyle. Both law school and being a lawyer is hard work requiring long hours and significant commitment. It is important that you identify an area of the law you enjoy, find interesting and motivating. It is never too early to start thinking about what field of law is the most compelling to you. Connect with individuals in that practice area to better understand what a “day in the life” will look like for you when you graduate.
5. Build your skills and your knowledge base – Focus on a holistic education. Law school is where you build your knowledge of the law in the classroom, but it is also where you develop skills which you will need as practicing lawyers. Whether negotiation, writing or business development, search out experiences in the classroom, via speaking events or potential internships to achieve a holistic legal education so you are well prepared to enter the working world.