Spring Forward, 1Ls & 2Ls

Daylight Savings Time starts this weekend which means our clocks spring forward by one hour.  First-year and second-year law students should also begin looking forward and planning for their summer positions.

Most law schools offer extensive programming to prepare students for their summer clerkships, such as sessions on proper dress, etiquette and tips from former summer clerks.  But, what can students — all students who will work this summer, not just BigLaw Summer Associates — learn from the Big 3 social networking sites?

The Big 3 social networking sites can help (1) prepare law students for their summer positions; and (2) sell their clerkship experience in future interviews.

1.  Search the Firm/Company/Organization. Search the name of the firm/company/organization in LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.  Does the entity have a profile?  What kind of information is available?  If the entity has a profile on LinkedIn, look to see if you are you connected to anyone who works at the company and might be able to provide additional insight?  If the entity has a business page on Facebook, become a fan so you can read the entity’s updates prior to starting your summer position.

2.  Search for Attorneys. If you know the names of the people you will be working with, see if they have a LinkedIn or Twitter profile.  What information can you learn from their profiles?  Do you share mutual friends?

3.  Learn about your Practice Area. If you know the practice area in which you’ll be working this summer, begin to learn more about that practice area.  Search for key words on Twitter to find tweets about the practice area and people to follow who are experts in that field.  For example, one law student tweeted earlier this week that she was going to be working in the area of Securities law and wanted more information.  I suggested she follow @SecuritiesD to learn more about the area, including hot topics, before starting her position.  Search the Groups on LinkedIn and join groups in your designated practice area; you’ll have the opportunity to learn from individuals in that field and engage with them.

4.  Connect. As you communicate and interact with people at the firm/company/organization (both in preparing for your summer position and while working in your summer position), invite them to connect with you on LinkedIn.  Customize your invitations – you could thank the HR director for coordinating your summer plans and indicate that you look forward to your start date.  Or, send an invitation to an attorney after you complete a project over the summer; let him know how much you enjoyed working with him on X project or case.  You want these people to be a part of your professional network going forward in your career so make sure you connect with them.

5.  Sell Clerkship Experience. Aim to leave your summer clerkship with at least one selling point that you can include on your LinkedIn profile.  Create a blog about your summer experience and link to the blog on your LinkedIn profile.  Offer to write an article for an attorney for a trade publication and then link to the article on your LinkedIn profile.  Look for opportunities (they won’t always be obvious) and capitalize on them!

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