J. Nick Augustine J.D. is the principal of Pro Serve Public Relations, a PR firm serving the law and finance industries. Nick advises and assists attorneys in transition based on his experience in legal marketing, public relations and his Secured Solo Practice model. Nick shares career growth strategy and experience with legal job seekers.
When preparing for a job search, your first stop is most likely the career services office. Make an alumni event your second spot. I can think of no better group with whom you can share your cheers and jeers while keeping in touch with your friends and meeting new people. Law schools and alumni both have everything to gain from alumni event engagement. Seize the opportunity and participate in the alumni networking process using these 5 methods: (1) meetings; (2) invitations; (3) follow-up; (4) programming; and (5) drafting.
First, the meeting method is the easiest to adopt and commit to habit. Simply locate your law school’s alumni event schedule and calendar your appearance at all the relevant events. There are times you might have other things going on and you don’t want to go to all of these events. I suggest you go anyways. After a while, event hosts make note of the regular attendees and simply by being present you earn value points.
Next, the invitation method assumes you are attending regular meetings and events so you are there when the more elite events are discussed, and you just happen to receive an invitation. Invitations to certain law school events are extended to a limited list of active alumni. The more frequently the people in charge of the lists think of you, the more likely your inbox will contain invitations to the more elite receptions and events.
Then, the follow-up method, after meeting new people at the exclusive events, requires proper planning and execution. First set time parameters for your initial follow-up, next cause for communication, and periodic good will greetings. I suggest calendaring these activities. Where appropriate you should ask new friends if they would like an invitation to stay in touch through your social and professional networks. Always maintain professionalism when engaging colleagues, regardless of your level of familiarity, maintain candor.
After capturing your human capital, i.e., valuable contacts and relationships are assets; the programming method presents the opportunity to give back to the group with a proposal for a new event. Programming can be an event, educational seminar, webinar, teleseminar or other medium through which alumni groups bring people together to work toward a stated purpose.
Finally, the drafting method of alumni participation concerns content your group will value. Think about how much there is to communicate among alumni and how little time most alumni administrators have to write articles, and material used to promote and engage group members. Simply attending an event and writing about it for the alumni newsletter is a great way to get your name out there and help the group.
Engaging your alumni associations and offering your time, talent and treasure are all great ways to meet more colleagues and reconnect with friends who are a great resource when you find yourself in transition. Don’t be shy about approaching the alumni directors; I am sure they will be pleased by your offer of service.