Whether you are working in a legal capacity or not this summer, you should take advantage of opportunities to network and learn about the legal profession while you do not have the burden of classes and other law school activities. Here are some suggestions of things you can do:
Join a Local Bar Association – The Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association, the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis, and the Springfield Metropolitan Bar Association all offer free memberships to law students. Once you are a member, you will receive information about social events and seminars. Not only can these be fun and informative, but attending can be a fantastic way to meet practicing attorneys and expand your network. Find another law student to go with you and bring some business cards.
Go to Court – A great way to learn about litigation is to see it first-hand by going to court. You can find scheduled trials and hearings on CaseNet. If you want to be more deliberate, call the judicial administrative assistant or law clerk of a judge, introduce yourself, and ask if there is anything interesting coming up that you could observe. There is also nothing wrong with just heading down to the courthouse and wandering around.
Find a Mentor – Summer is the perfect time to find a mentor. There are over 100 Mizzou Law alums who have registered on Symplicity as mentors and they want to help you. Contact one or two who have interests similar to your own, and arrange to meet with them, either face-to-face or virtually. Bring a list of questions to ask, and follow up with a thank you note. Keep them updated on your career, and continue to seek their advice. It could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship!
Join LinkedIn (or Update Your Profile) – If you have not done so already, join LinkedIn and create a professional profile. The information you include should be consistent with what you have on your resume. Add a summary to personalize your profile, similar to what you might include in a cover letter. It is important to include a picture. If you do not have a professional photo, have one taken. It does not have to be taken by a professional photographer, just a photo where you look professional. Edit your URL to make it shorter and easy to remember. You can then include this on your business card.
Get a Business Card – Last, but not least, get a business card! You can go to FedEx, Staples or a variety of other places and get 100 cards for approximately $30. They have templates available, or you can use ours. Make sure to check the card stock before having your cards printed. You want it to be heavy enough to be professional. This will be money well-spent.