Like the rest of law, networking among female attorneys and students takes initiative. Taking the first step to connect with a female attorney can be a bit daunting, but the effort is worth it. When I have taken the initiative to approach them, I have found female attorneys in the JRCLS willing and helpful. Three things have helped me build these relationships.
First, attend JRCLS events and conferences. I have attended two JRCLS conferences, and both gave me many opportunities to meet attorneys. Each conference had specific programs geared to female attorneys and to students, which helped me fit in and start a dialogue. Even outside the programs for females, I had many opportunities to talk to and meet female attorneys from all over.
Second, take the iniative to find a female attorney guide. (In my case, I was related to one.) My step-mother, Gayla Moss Sorenson, helped guide me through the JRCLS network and seems to know everyone at JRCLS events. She always takes the time to introduce me and that helped me overcome the initial awkward stage at my first event when I didn't know a single person. She's a great example of someone who introduces herself to many people she does not know, student and attorney alike. This blog is a good place to find willing attorney mentors in various geographical areas. Use it!
Third, get involved and serve in the JRCLS. Local chapters and some international JRCLS committees are always looking for people to help. In the process, you will meet great attorneys who want to help you. One example is the upcoming JRCLS International Week of Service. Find out what your school's plans are and get involved. See if there are ways to link your event with a local attorney chapter's activities. Find out the name of your local attorney chapter's Women in the Law representative. If they don't have one, ask for one!
That's my take on this. Attorneys and students, what has worked for you?
-Lori Sorenson, 3-L at Northwestern University Law School in Chicago, serves on the WIL Committee as law-student liaison.