GUEST BLOG Harrison Thorne,
2L at UCLA School of Law
I had the pleasure of attending Law Preview—a law school “jump start program—as both a student and a student facilitator. I learned a lot, and I think it truly helped me do well my first year.
One of the best things I learned from Law Preview was to be selfish The program’s Success Lecturer told us that during the first year, the key to succeeding would be planning our time and sticking to a schedule. He told us that we would have to say no to invitations, miss out on vacations, and essentially cut ourselves off from the world until after finals.
I did just that (sort of), and I did well. Of course, nobody advocated living like a hermit and/or cutting off contact with friends and family, but the message was clear—you’re going to have to work hard… you’re going to have to turn down fun… you’re going to have to sacrifice.
However, as a second-year student, I found myself wondering what advice I would give to incoming 2Ls. After the first round of finals, most 1Ls are savvy to the degree of sacrifice necessary to do well. And after the entire first year, we all know what is required. Therefore, what is the “secret” for success after the first year?
I have found the secret is networking. Of course, students still need to do well. But outside of grades, the best way to secure summer work, externships, or other opportunities, is by old-fashioned networking.
My strategy has been to hoard my contacts in a Word Document. Each time I meet someone in the legal profession, I store his or her name, email, and phone number. That way, I can always have that information handy.
For instance, last week, I wanted to apply for an extern position, but I knew nothing about the position or the people who worked there. So, I applied, then got to work. I researched the people currently working there. I realized one of the women who would interview me worked at a firm that I was familiar with before starting at her current position. So I emailed a contact from that firm, and got some great info about her. I then spoke to some classmates who had externed for this organization in past years. At that point, I was in a much better position for my interview, and it was all thanks to networking with others.