Well, that caught your attention, didn’t it? Maybe you were expecting another column about how networking is the most important method of job searching, how it trumps mass mailing of résumés, targeted responses to advertised positions, and even on-campus interview programs. Maybe you saw the very word “network” and were set to skip this column altogether until you noticed the word “never” in front of it. Let’s be honest: Even though networking is known to be the most effective method of job searching, law students hate the idea of doing it. Networking conjures up images of uncomfortable cocktail parties, forced small talk, and thinly veiled begging. Given that scenario, one can hardly blame law students for taking a pass at spending their precious spare time at such an endeavor. And, while we’re being so honest, that sort of networking simply isn’t effective. So, consider this your pass. You’re off the hook. You don’t have to network again. Ever.
Now, keep in mind you still need a job. How are you going to stand out of the crowd and get known to employers beyond a superficial level? How are you going to find opportunities to interact with other lawyers? The answer to these questions is that you are going to “ engage.” You are going to engage others in your professional and personal life in a comprehensive manner that is more effective and efficient than the socially awkward, stereotypical networking. The word engage, when used without an object, means to “occupy oneself; become involved; pledge one’s word; assume an obligation; to take employment.” You are going to do all of these things as they relate to the legal profession and you are going to do this because (1) you still need that job, (2) this is how professionals behave, and (3) this is going to actually be enjoyable for you.