So, Some Law Grads Actually Get Jobs—But How?

lindsay stewart nelson mullinsSTARTING FROM SCRATCH ON MULTIPLE FRONTS
Lindsay Stewart, who graduated from the Emory University School of Law in May 2013, took a less traditional route than Holt did. She practices business and real estate law—but that’s not what she first set out to do. She thought she’d go into personal injury work until a lukewarm internship experience led her to take an interest in her fiancé’s profession. “It came to me one night,” she says. “I realized I was asking DJ more questions about everything that he was doing with real estate than I was at work.” She reevaluated her plans: “After my second year, I decided, ‘I’m going to look at real estate and business. I’m just going to throw myself into that.’”
After graduation, she moved to Charleston, South Carolina, which meant starting from scratch on multiple fronts. Her solution was simple and underrated: networking. “My first year in law school, I sent resumes out, because that’s the traditional way that you do things,” she says. “I don’t think I would know so much about networking unless I had spoken to business students. I know that law schools actually do tell you to network, but I heard it elsewhere.”
Networking is a long game. Stewart began with her future father-in-law, the only attorney she knew in the city. He gave her the names of three people, and she had coffee with each of them. “One of them was this wonderful woman who took me around her entire office and introduced me to everyone at a firm down here,” she says. From there, her network fired out.
The more people you know, the more likely it is that someone will think of you when there’s an opening. That’s how Stewart landed her job as an associate at Nelson Mullins: She asked to get coffee with a female partner whose name she’d received from another attorney. “I had no idea I would be actually working with her just six months later,” she says. “I think that put me on the radar for her that I came out—not in an interview context—and sought them out as a firm that I wanted to work for.”
Networking might’ve worked out for Stewart, but she emphasizes that she’s not a natural. “Oh gosh, it’s so awkward,” she says. But it’s something she advises people to just push through. For example, if you’re going to a networking event, resist the temptation to go with a friend. “Any time I go to an event with someone that I know, I end up staying with that one person,” she says. “And we go up and try to meet people together, and that’s not really the way to do it.”
And if you’re at a Sheldon Cooper level of awkward? “Go to a professor that you really like,” Stewart says. “They’re in that field. Go to them and talk to them and tell them what you’re trying to do, and ask for the names of people that they wouldn’t mind talking to. If you’re awkward, I know it seems daunting, but going and having coffee with someone or meeting them at their office—it’s a lot easier to have a one-on-one conversation with someone.”

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