No matter what the admissions office, or the school administration tell you, law school is competitive. Lines are drawn, outlines are hoarded, and people can become cut-throat in an instant. It is easy to get caught up in the competitive spirit and to focus on getting the best grades possible. Grades are important, but many law students overlook the importance of networking during law school.
Making friends in law school creates an invaluable network
The friends you make in law school are valuable in terms of their friendship, support, and advice during law school. Those same friends, however, are even more valuable after school is over. Believe it or not, but you will need that same advice and support after law school.
If you have a question about an unfamiliar area of law, it is much easier to email your law school buddy then to ask the weird attorney down the hall. Once you establish yourself, your circle of friends can become a valuable referral network for all types of cases.
Be friendly to everyone
Most people develop an inner circle in law school, but you cannot assume your inner circle will be your best resource once school is over. In addition, it is safe to assume that if you stay in the same city as your law school, you never know when you will be on opposite sides with a former classmate.
I have only practiced for about six months, but I have already dealt with classmates as opposing counsel. I was not especially good friends with them, but I was certainly congenial, and that made our interactions that much easier.
In addition, you can never predict what area of law you will end up practicing. You and your “close friends” in school might all think you will be prosecutors, and all end up in different career paths.
Your close buddies might not be the people you turn to when you need help with something in your distinct practice area. If you create a large network, you will still have resources you can turn to.
Law school presents lots of opportunities to network, so be sure to take advantage!