What does marketing have to do with law school and the legal profession? It’s a skill many attorneys learn to master throughout their careers, but it’s one skill law schools don’t teach. Learning to market yourself as a law student can help you land internships, externships, clerkships, and potentially, your first job.
If there’s a particular firm you’d like to work for, do some research and see if any of the attorneys belong to organizations outside the firm. For example, if one of the attorneys holds a position in a volunteer (civic, nonprofit, charitable, etc.) organization, get involved in that group; it may give you an opportunity to gain some face time in an informal setting. How do you find out what organizations an attorney belongs to? Try looking at their biography on the firm’s website, or check their LinkedIn profile to see what groups they follow. Building relationships early in your legal career is an important step to marketing yourself as an attorney. The people you meet today may not be in a position to pass you work now, but eventually they may be. Building these relationships now will greatly increase your chances of getting work later.
Joining a professional association can also provide you with an opportunity to network with attorneys from across the country. The Defense Research Institute (DRI) offers a special law student membership for $20 a year, which provides students with free registration to all of their seminars and annual meetings. In addition, law students are able to get involved in DRI’s Young Lawyers Committee, which provides its members with professional development and networking opportunities.
If you’re looking for a summer law clerk position with a state court, try joining one of their committees. For example, the Arizona Supreme Court has several committees that are open to the public. Several judges from across all court levels sit on these committees, which would give you an opportunity to get to know judges who could potentially give you the summer clerkship you’ve been looking for.
The American Inns of Court is another organization comprised of judges, lawyers and legal professionals. Getting involved in an Inn of Court in your city is a good way to get face time with legal professionals who could potentially serve as a mentor as you finish making your way through law school. As an Inn of Court member you’ll build and strengthen relationships with other members, share experiences and advice, and discuss the pressing legal issues of today. You can find an Inn of Court in your city by visiting the American Inns of Court website.
Writing an article is another good way for you to get your name out there. In addition to writing articles for your school’s law review, you may also want to consider submitting an article for publication in your state’s legal magazine(s). Be sure to look up the legal magazine’s publication guidelines so you don’t waste your time writing something they won’t publish.
If you’re not sure what to write about, try emailing the editors of these magazines and see if there’s a topic they’d recommend writing about. Chances are they have plenty of ideas, and as an added bonus, this increases the chances that your article will be published.
These are just some of the many marketing techniques you’ll learn throughout your legal career. One important thing to remember is not to bite off more than you can chew. You don’t want to let your marketing efforts interfere with your law school studies. After all, you can’t get a job if you don’t graduate.
As the Marketing Coordinator for Jones, Skelton & Hochuli, Steven Crocchi assists 78 lawyers with their marketing efforts. He served on the Technology Committee for the Legal Marketing Association Southwest Chapter and on the Crisis Response Team for the Phoenix Fire Department in 2014. Crocchi will be attending law school beginning August 2015.