“Build a network of legal professionals.”
You will hear this at the welcome orientation, from at least one of your first-year law professors, from the great people at career services and basically from anyone in the legal profession when you ask, “What should I be doing?” While I completely agree, I have always felt that the most overlooked but also the most important network is a social network of fellow law students who will help you graduate.
Most of the social networks you are told to build focus on helping you get a job after graduating law school — or at least getting a summer internship. But the most important network to a law school student, in my humble opinion, is a social network of friends who help to get to graduation. Law school, although not impossible to get through, is also not a walk in the park. There will be days you ask yourself, “Why am I here?” and “Oh God, what if I graduate and can’t get a job with an $80,000 salary to pay off my debt?” It’s on those days that a social network of fellow law students comes in handy. After all, what good is it to have 10 possible jobs lined up if you can’t graduate?
I formed my network through joining the Black Law Students Association. What I love most about BLSA is its focus on reaching out to the community and reminding us that there is life outside the law school. Every year, BLSA hosts two great events: a Thanksgiving food drive, in which the collected items are distributed to local charities, and Thurgood Marshall Law Day, at which area high school students are invited to Green Hall to learn about the legal system. The food drive reminds us that there are many people with more serious concerns than passing a final exam, and Thurgood Marshall Law Day reminds us of a time, oh so long ago, when we had clear answers to those why and what questions.
There are many law school organizations focused on many different interests. Even if you don’t necessarily have a strong interest in the organization, you should consider joining and building your social network. Law school can be tedious, and sometimes you just need a break from the monotony of it all. You are not unique in that way. At KU Law, there are about 500 other students around you on the same path and at least one who completely gets it.
Kaosy Umeh, 2L and Student Ambassador
Professor Derrick Darby talks to area high school students about
his life in law during Thurgood Marshall Law Day.