This summer I wrote a post talking about how law students can become better networkers. Much of that advice was common sense. Over the last few months, however, I have encountered some law students making easy-to-correct mistakes when networking.
Your job is to follow up
When my son was born, I cleared my calendar of nearly everything, including meetings with law students interested in consumer law. These students were smart enough to follow up with me weeks later and reschedule our meetings.
I have no doubt that some students would just drop off the planet and forget to follow up or just elect to not follow up. That should not happen. If someone is willing to meet with you but has to reschedule, that is not an excuse for you to drop off the planet. Follow through on your plan and see where it leads you. Failing to follow up makes it seem like you really were not all that interested in the first place.
Network with the person you contacted
If you are attempting to network with an attorney, contact that attorney. If you want to network with someone else at a firm, contact the other person. Perhaps the worst thing you can do is contact someone in the hopes they will lead you to a higher-up within a firm.
I suppose if you can keep your motivations under wraps, then that is fine. At the same time, the person you are attempting to use to get to the higher-up will realize what is going on. Not only will that person be offended, they are highly unlikely to put in a good word for you with anyone else.