Susan Zuiderveen is a third-year Cooley student serving on an externship. This is the seventh post in Susan’s outstanding series.
We have all heard how hard it will be to get a job in the legal field once we graduate. As I am getting closer to graduation, it is now starting to worry me. We work so hard to obtain our legal education and skills that it would be disappointing not to find the position we have our hearts set on.
Many times our professors and mentors have told us how important networking is in obtaining that first position. I always knew it was important, but I have not had the time to dedicate to networking like I need to. My externship has given me the chance to network with others working directly in the legal field. I have been amazed at the wonderful people I have met and how willing they are to help in any way they can. Not only have I met four wonderful judges, but I have met prosecuting attorneys, criminal defense attorneys, probation officers, sheriff deputies, and law clerks. All have helped me with anything I have needed while working at my externship, but so many have also given me great advice and names of people they know that may help me get a position as a prosecuting attorney. Our county does not have any open positions at this time, but it is wonderful having them for a reference if one does open up or if there is a position in one of the surrounding counties. I have also had the chance to meet and talk to several attorneys from different firms. Some I have seen on a weekly basis, and I know I could call them for questions or advice after graduation.
I underestimated how important an externship can be in helping achieve that first position. Plan to do your externship in the city you want to work in, and use it to help establish a network of people you can call for advice or who may hire you. I was amazed at how happy people are to help those of us entering the field they know and love. Don’t underestimate the opportunites your externship can provide in bettering the odds of getting that first position we are all working so hard for!