Fall Networking Event
This blogpost was written by Maria Gonzalez, WLC’s 1L Communications Coordinator.
The vision of WLC this year has been encapsulated through the expression, “many women, one profession.” No sentiment could have rung truer for our Fall Networking Event held on the evening of October 17th. Open to all self-identified women students attending Northwestern Law, more than fifty first-year law students and attorneys gathered in the lower Atrium of the law school. The school filled with the sound of women exchanging stories on topics like their favorite professors, lessons on life after law school, and other general advice for the future attorneys in the room.
I myself had been nervous to attend my first networking event as a first-year law student. Since the first day of law school, teachers, administrators and upper-classman stress the importance of networking for not only securing future job placement but also finding success in the first semester. Transitioning from a non-legal profession, I second-guessed what to say or how to dress, because while I understood the importance of networking, I was not completely sure of the how.
Organized by the Professional Development Co-Directors, Anna Karnaze and Grace Kim, the networking event focused on developing community; lawyers and students sat at round tables for three sets of 20 minute sessions. The small group environment allowed conversations to organically develop. While we started with the standard questions of “litigation or transaction” to “New York or Chicago,” the conversations naturally developed into much deeper threads about the possibilities of first-year summer employment or how to find mentorships as a woman in male-dominated law firms. Even in moments where students might have been tongue tied by what question to ask next, Anna and Grace had left helpful and suggested questions at each one of the tables.
When the last of the three sessions ended, Anna and Grace thanked are guests and encouraged each of the students to stay and talk. The attorneys who attended were extremely generous with their time. After a full day’s work, junior to senior associates alike stayed on a Monday after seven o’clock to speak more with each of the women, who had attended. I was so impressed by their openness and ability to not only share their own professional experiences in finding their career path, but also their personal experiences in maintaining balance and pursuing a career that allows for authenticity.
As a self-identified nervous networker, I can now say I am reformed. The WLC Networking Event truly breathed life into “many women, one profession.” Each one of the attorneys I spoke to was warm, humble and generous in their experiences post-law school. With first-year summer employment on the horizon, I know myself and other first-year students are feeling prepared to foster newly created connections and excited to create new connections with alumni from WLC.