Thanks Arian, for being so practical and confident and reminding me of the important factors in attending and making the most of a law conference! Pre-Law students . . .as you’re exploring your potential areas of interest you might consider attending a local legal conference!
1. Become friends with the organizers, email them, ask for assistance with defraying costs, sharing a room at a hotel. You can simply inquire about other persons or students who will be attending from a specific region you are interested in.
2. Ask to be paired with a mentor, especially if it’s your first time. Make use of that mentor. You may be interested in being paried with someone practicing in a certain area/focus or geographic region.
3. Get a list of the attorneys attending beforehand. You can contact them and plan to meet at the conference. Lots of people attend and not always the same sessions so don’t take it for grated that you’ll run across them.
4. Have an elevator pitch. “Hi my name is _, and I’m a 2L at _.” Ask for their name, ask what they do, and find a connection. If none is forthcoming, speak a little bit more about yourself. Tell them why you’re interested, tell them why you’re here. Ask where they work, ask what types of issues they see in their line of work.
5. Try to have background information on the people you approach – doesn’t have to be extensive, for example, where they’re from, or where they work. This helps with the quantity vs. quality question – do you try to collect more business cards or have quality communication? Try to have a quality conversation, but that doesn’t mean it has to be long.
6. When you approach people and get their business card, tell them you’d like to remain in touch with them and ask if that’s ok. It shows your intent, and you’re not blindly asking for their business card as part of a collection. Try to gauge whether you could form a mentoring relationship with the person.
7. Take notes. You can make little notes on the back of the business cards you get. Things like what you spoke about or facts you want to remember about the person that can inform future conversation.
8. The follow up email is key. People often forget who they’ve met when they re-enter their routines. A great idea is to include in the follow up email a professional picture of yourself so that they can readily connect the name with a face.
9. Let people (the organizers, your mentor, others you meet) know that you are interested in meeting attorneys in a specific field, or from a specific geographic area.
10. Adhere to the attire requirement. One guy wore red pants, another girl wore hot pink wedges – don’t do that, especially in the legal field. You will stand out for the wrong reasons. Dress so that you will be complimented.
11. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. I live my life by asking for what I want.
12. Be confident. Be confident. You’ve got this.