When networking in law school, give it your full attention, and take the extra steps to create relationships that will pay off in the long run.
When someone opens a door, walk through it
There are tons of networking opportunities in law school to meet practicing lawyers who can help your job search now or down the road. For example: lunch hour presentations, law school events, internships, and cold-calling lawyers to see if they are willing to talk about their practice.
Regardless of how you meet someone who can help you, take them up on offers to help you. For example, if you meet a professional during a lunch hour lecture, and they offer to buy you lunch sometime, follow up with them. Most lawyers are serious about those offers—that is a great opportunity to get to know someone better and create a relationship. If someone suggest that you e-mail them to get more information about an opportunity: do it. Invitations to help are usually legitimate and should not be taken lightly.
Not only are you missing out on an opportunity if you don’t follow up, you can look bad by not following up. More than one law student has contacted me about having lunch, but then they fall off the face of the earth. I tend to remember those things and it does not create a positive impression.
Create a relationship, don’t just have lunch
Following up when networking is incredibly important. Your goal should always be to create a relationship, not just have lunch with someone. Just because someone cannot help you now does not mean they cannot help you down the road.
Make a point of checking in a few weeks later and ask about having lunch or coffee again. Chances are, the more you meet with someone, the more they will be willing to help you out. I know more than one person who has gotten a job solely through meeting attorneys for lunch or coffee.
In other words, don’t get frustrated if you don’t get a job offer from having lunch once. Focus on developing a relationship and it will pay off in the long run.