Our first Hangout, building your legal network (part II), and interview with Judge James Holderman
23 min read

Our first Hangout, building your legal network (part II), and interview with Judge James Holderman

Hangout at the Pani Cooler

We're hosting our first Hangout! If you're looking for a low-key way to connect with other South Asian lawyers, you should join us. We'll be hosting the event on Icebreaker, which lets us have one-on-one and group conversations using an icebreaker format that's actually fun. Some of the topics are career- oriented, others are not.

Join us March 5 at 5:00-5:40 pm ET. We're limited to 40 spots. You can register here.

Khurram's Quorum

Part of the reason I chose UIC John Marshall Law School was a bet on myself. The school was right next to the federal court. I figured I could use that proximity to learn from and build relationships with federal litigators.

But externing for a federal judge was a pipe dream. I didn't have the grades for it - I was in the 34th percentile my first semester. But I thought I could demonstrate that I was serious about my focus on patent law and show that I could help a federal judge with their patent matters.

I decided to shoot my shot. I asked the exceptional director of the IP program, Michele Bridges, if she could mention me to Hon. James Holderman (Ret.), who was active on the board of the IP program. I got an interview, and incredibly Judge Holderman invited me to join his chambers.

Externing for Judge Holderman was an inflection point in my legal development, and I feel like I've been riding that wave ever since. So I'm thrilled to share this interview with the Chief, with reflections from 30 years on the bench and insights from his mediation practice.

We talked about his upbringing on a farm in Southern Illinois and its surprising impact on his judicial career. We discussed how he wielded authority, and the hardest task he faced on the bench, and much more. Listen to the interview here.

Building Your Legal Network

A number of law students have said that a key reason they're here is to improve their approach to building their network. When you're starting out, it can seem overwhelming - there are so many attorneys you could reach out to, and you don't even know how to begin a conversation. And there are so many other demands on your time.

That's why I'm an advocate for a simple process that you can start today and iterate from to fit your circumstances. I described the approach I used to go from a small regional school to a big firm (in a tough economic climate) in a series of articles. In the last email we described how to get started talking to attorneys. The formula for identifying the legal network to build relationships is simple: geographic market + practice area + industry. Finding the attorneys at the intersection of these interests will streamline your conversations and allow you to quickly develop connections with a pool of attorneys that are connected.

Plenty of law students find it hard to grow relationships with attorneys. It can seem artificial and contrived. But if there's a single thing missing from the majority of law students' approach, it's follow-through. Attorneys are reticent about spending time with law students knowing that so few will make full use of the insights they'll share. Here's how to think about following through to grow relationships with attorneys.

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