LegalJob recently participated in a productive program about informational interviews. Here are some takeaways:
► Set up these meetings with alumni with whom you have something in common (referred to as touchpoints)
- e.g., from same town, same undergraduate school, same major, same background, etc.
► Ask the career resource center to print lists with names and e-mail addresses of these people
► Contact these people and make it clear:
- You are not looking for a job.
- You are reaching out because you have x,y,z in common and you would like to learn about their practice area.
- Request meeting for coffee (so you are sensitive to their time constraints).
► Do some research about their practice area before the meeting
- There are plenty of free resources on the internet; the career resource center has good resources too.
- If you know you have no interest in criminal law, skip the meeting with the prosecutor.
- It helps if you have some interest (based on the little you know) in practicing in the field of the person you are meeting.
► At the meeting
- Ask some questions but let the lawyer have the floor most of the time.
- One important question is what was your thinking process that led you to decide to be an x lawyer.
- That thought process could help you even if you want to be a different kind of lawyer.
- If you have are more than a little bit interested in the practice area, ask about sub-specialties in that area that are hot and what experience you can get or classes you can take to position yourself for that nice.
► Closing remarks
- This person may be a dud but they may have two contacts that are very helpful.
- Ask for contact information for two people that may be helpful for you to talk to.
- If the meeting has been helpful, open the door to further communication.
- May I keep you updated with my progress? Insert your way of saying this here.
- You can get a sense from the response whether this person should stay on your list.
- If the person says yes, you now have potentially three new people in your network (the person plus his or her two contacts).
- If the contacts are helpful, thanking the first person for connecting you is one reason to follow-up.
Image courtesy of David Castillo/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.