Networking is an important component of the job search process. Many law students secure their summer and full-time positions through networking and the majority of seasoned attorneys will make lateral moves based on networking connections.
One of the most valuable resources available to you is the network of YLS alumni. YLS has over 12,000 alumni working in virtually every corner of the globe. When deciding where to work, be sure to tap into these alumni for information. Some of the methods for connecting with our alumni include:
• YLS Career Connections. This is an online searchable database of over 1,700 YLS alumni who have offered to provide career advice to students and fellow graduates. Use this resource to locate graduates practicing in fields of interest to you and contact them for information and advice.
• Yale University Online Alumni Community. Through this AYA site, alumni can access both the Yale Online Alumni Directory and the University’s Career Network.
• LinkedIn. We recommend the tutorial Up and Running with LinkedIn (offered free of charge through Yale's subscription to Lynda.com) to navigate creating a profile and building connections. After creating a LinkedIn profile, search for the Yale Law Alumni & Students group in the top search bar to join.
When reaching out to alumni or others for career advice, send an email stating your request, and ask whether there is a convenient time to talk. If you have been referred from a mutual acquaintance, mention that. Reassure your contacts that you are NOT seeking a job interview, only an opportunity to discuss your career ideas and obtain some professional feedback. For example, when sending an email to a member of YLS Career Connections, you may wish to say something like:
“I am currently a 1L at Yale Law School, and I plan to pursue a career in entertainment law in Los Angeles. I found your profile on YLS Career Connections, and notice that you have had great success in the entertainment industry. I would be grateful for the opportunity to speak with you about your experiences at YLS and your career path. Please let me know if there is a convenient time for us to talk. Thank you in advance for your help.”
Prior to a networking meeting, review the tips on conducting an informational interview. Limit your discussion to 20 to 30 minutes, unless the attorney expresses an interest in extending the discussion. Attempt to get the names of two or three people for further networking. Bring your resume for the individual to review and critique (or email it in advance), but do not attempt to solicit employment. At the meeting and in a subsequent email or letter, express your appreciation to the individual for taking the time to meet with you. Keep the people in your network periodically updated about your career.
Fellow students are also an important part of your network. Consult CDO’s YLS Student Employment Lists to see where your classmates are working and read reviews of their summer experiences through CDO’s Summer Employment Evaluations. Finally, many of CDO’s Guides including Criminal Defense, Criminal Prosecution, Environmental, International Public Interest and Law Firm Practice, include lists of student mentors.