An informational meeting is an interview you conduct with a practicing attorney to research a field of law or a geographic area. Informational meetings are also wonderful networking tools since they allow you to introduce yourself to members of the legal community and to follow-up with them to further develop your relationship. The first step for successful informational meetings is to prepare a list of your targets. This list should include attorneys who practice in the area of law in which you are interested, attorneys who practice in your chosen geographic area, attorneys you know, and attorneys who share interests or other affinities with you. You can compile the list utilizing resources such as Martindale.com, the state bar’s web site, and the local bar association’s web site. Each of these resources list attorneys’ addresses, phone numbers, and emails. Compile this information in an organized list to identify your targets.
In a down economy, all law firms are affected in some way. However, larger law firms are often affected far more than smaller law firms. Small law firms have less than 50 attorneys and are likely to be in the range of 25 or fewer lawyers. Because they are more lean and do not overstaff, but rather, hire as needed, they generally do not suffer the lay-offs and reductions of larger firms. As such, small firms are often more likely to hire in a down economy than the larger firms. Since small firms rely heavily on word-of-mouth when hiring, it is imperative to network and to utilize informational meetings to introduce yourself to key partners in small firms. Contact the Career Services Department today to schedule an appointment to discuss your strategy for reaching out to a small firm.
- Be genuine and be a good listener.
- Make eye contact with a great smile.
- Have a firm handshake.
- Read newspapers, magazines, and practice journals before the event for conversation topics.
- Practice department statements, such as “Please excuse me, I’m going to refresh my drink.”
- Circulate. Spend no more than 10 minutes with any person or group.
- Always thank your host before you leave.
Attending an event is not networking if you don’t cultivate relationships and follow up. Know who is attending and what you have in common with them. Understand that your goal is to plant a seed that you can cultivate into a strong relationship and that this will merely be your first point of contact with your targets. Lay the foundation for a follow-up phone call for an informational meeting. And remember to ask for each person’s business card and to jot a quick note about your conversation with them on the card.
If you plan to attend the networking receptions in Atlanta, D.C., Orlando, or Miami, remember to wear professional attire at the reception and to ask for business cards from those you meet. You should not bring resumes since the receptions are solely for networking and learning about the local legal community. If you need assistance from our office in coordinating your follow-up efforts, please email email@example.com to schedule an appointment. Note that even if you are not in Jacksonville for the summer, we can do a phone session with you.
If you are interested in the Atlanta, D.C., Orlando, or Miami markets, you are invited to attend the networking receptions sponsored by the Career Services Department in each location. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to R.S.V.P. for any event or to schedule an appointment with a counselor to discuss your preparation and follow-up. This is a great opportunity to develop relationships with local attorneys!
Atlanta Networking Event
When: Thursday, May 17, 2012
5:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. – Networking Reception
Where: Rooftop 866 Restaurant, Midtown Renaissance Hotel
866 West Peachtree Street Northwest, Atlanta, Georgia 30308
Miami Networking Panel & Reception
When: Thursday, May 17, 2012
6:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. – Panel Discussion on the Landscape of the Miami Market
6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. – Networking Reception
Where: Fado’s Irish Pub , Mary Brickell Village
900 S. Miami Avenue, Miami, FL 33130
Orlando Networking Club Panel & Reception
When: Tuesday, May 15, 2012
5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. – Panel Discussion on Life and Law from the Perspective of Young Lawyers
6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. – Networking Reception
Where: Orange County Bar Association
880 North Orange Avenue, Orlando, Florida 32801
Washington, D.C. Networking Panel & Reception
When: Thursday, May 17th
4:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. – Panel Discussion on the Landscape of the D.C. Market
6:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m. – Networking Reception
Where: The University Club
1135 16th Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20036
The Atlanta Networking Club’s reception with the Atlanta Bar Association will be Thursday, May 17th from 5:30 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. at Rooftop 866 at the Midtown Renaissance Hotel located at 866 West Peachtree Street Northwest, Atlanta, Georgia 30308. All students are welcome to attend the reception regardless of whether they are members of the Networking Club. There is no fee for students for the event since it is being sponsored by Florida Coastal. This is a wonderful opportunity to learn more about the Atlanta legal community and to develop contacts there. Follow this link to a map with directions to Rooftop 866: http://www.rooftop866.com/atlanta-midtown-bar-and-lounge/rooftop-866-directions-2.html
The CSD recognizes how critical networking is to your job search success. As a result, we launched a networking initiative targeting key markets in Orlando, Miami, Atlanta, and Washington, D.C. The program is organized into four separate Networking Clubs for each target area. Each club has met throughout the semester to cultivate students’ networking skills in the context of a specific geographic market. These efforts will culminate with a trip to each city in May to attend a reception sponsored by Florida Coastal with the local bar association. Although participation in a Networking Club enhances the experience, you do not have to be a member of a Club to attend the networking event. All students and alumni are invited to participate.
Below are the dates for each reception. You will be responsible for your own travel arrangements, although students are encouraged to work together to share travel costs when appropriate. If you are truly committed to finding a job in any of these markets, the trip is worth the investment.
During difficult economic times, most people find jobs through a contact or someone they met at an event. As such, this trip could be the most important thing you do in your job search. If you have not already accepted an invitation to a reception, you can add your name to our list of attendees by emailing email@example.com. Below are the dates for each reception:
Orlando/Orange County Bar Association
Atlanta Bar Association
Bar Association of D.C.
Miami/Dade County Bar Association
The Career Services Department, SBA and Corporate and Business Law Society invite you to a “Lunch and Learn” featuring William J. Flannery, J.D. Mr. Flannery is one of the country’s foremost legal consultants in the area of client development and relationship building.
THINK EMPLOYER RATHER THAN YOUR RESUME!
Employers hire candidates who understands their practice and its unique challenges. Competing on credentials alone rarely generates a job offer.
CONSIDER RELATIONSHIPS & BUILD RAPPORT!
Employers seek candidates who they like and trust. Building rapport is key to finding the “right” job and succeeding in it!
This presentation will be conducted on April 19th from 12:00—1:30 in Room 550. 1 hour of CPE credit has been approved for the event.
Lunch will be provided (not pizza!), so you must RSVP on Symplicity or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org by Tuesday, April 17th at 4:00 p.m. RSVPs will be capped at 150 students for the LIVE presentation in Room 550. Please note, food will be provided only to those who RSVP!! If you RSVP and are later unable to attend, please e-mail email@example.com to let us know and give another student your spot.
For Mr. Flannery’s full bio, visit http://fcsl.edu/blogs/careercrossroads/.
If you have learned anything from this blog, it should be the importance of networking and personal relationships in finding the right legal job for you – particularly when it comes to law firms. To develop those relationships, you need to learn as much as possible about your local legal community, through attending bar luncheons, reviewing bar newsletters, or any other information you can get your hands on. In Jacksonville, for example, you can learn a great deal about the local legal and business community by reviewing The Daily Record. We have a paper copy in Career Services that you can stop by to peruse, or you can visit The Daily Record’s website. Also, the Jacksonville Bar Association’s Bulletin is published in The Daily Record, with articles highlighting local attorneys and upcoming events that are wonderful networking opportunities. So check it out!