For legal technology companies and innovative law firms the best way to partner with law students on their projects/causes and to hire law students part-time or as interns is to engage the students directly, not go through the law schools. It’s probably preferable to hire full-time this way.

This engagement will come just like it does in the “real world” — through networking.

Networking today though comes faster and more authentically via the Internet. The exchange of ideas, collaboration, nurturing relationships and building a name is happening all around you via blogging and social media.

The best students for legal innovation and tech companies are using the net for learning, networking and building a brand. It’s the same for law firms. The problem is there are not enough law students networking online.

Law schools are letting students down here.

No question law schools are teaching legal tech and innovation. Many schools host clinics and programs supporting such initiatives. But that’s not enough.

Law students need to let the world know who they are and what they are doing. That’s only going to happen by using the Internet — blogging, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Snapchat – whatever works.

Failing to do so, the students knowledge, passion and drive in legal tech is living under a rock. Who sees the student, what they stand for and what they are doing unless the student is using the Internet?

Are we to wait for a law school to toute that it’s innovative and leveraging tech in its programs? Warranted or not, most all law schools tout such prowess. Or for the law schools to wait for employers to contact them for the names of candiates or to invite employers to interview students with resumes in hand.

Law schools mean well, but you’re letting your students down in their ability to get jobs in tech and innovation companies — and even law firms — if you don’t teach students how to network through the Internet and have social media role models as your dean, professors and career development folks.

I have learned so much in this regard from law professors Dan Linna and Dan Katz as well as former Michigan State Law School Dean Joan Howarth.

I can’t tell you how many law students I have met through blogging and social media. Great young professionals who inspire me and others.

At the recent ABA TechShow we had two law students working LexBlog coverage of the show. Both were active on social media and blogging.

Also at TechShow, LexBlog promoted, for free, throughout our day one coverage, the cause of Impowerus, a law student founded legal tech startup which connects immigrant youth with pro bono lawyers.

I became familiar with Impowerus the Sunday night before TechShow when a Notre Dame law student was on Twitter discussing the startup. Immigration attorney, Greg Siskind chimed in on Twitter on the spot that their cause was a good one.

I reached out to Impowerus’s founder, a current 2L student at Notre Dame, the next day to let her know that we wanted to list them as a sponsor of our coverage.

I met these two Notre Dame Law students at TechShow and introduced them to tech and immigration law leaders whom I thought could help them and their cause. I’ve since exchanged emails with one of the students about having me visit Notre Dame Law School next month for a stiudent led program on social media and blogging.

Tech entrepreneurs and law firms would be so lucky to have these students work for their organizations.

Yet when I approached Notre Dame in the past to speak at the school on social media and blogging and how it can help students for learning and networking, I was turned down — twice. ‬The reason being that their students can get good jobs in large law already — go figure.

I agree with Dan Rodriguez, the Dean of Northwestern Law School and a role model for all in networking through the Internet, that the opportunity exists to go through the schools.

And with Dean Rodriguez’ immediate comments on this past that it need not be an either or.

Law students are better served though when out using the Internet to network and build a name.

Students are not alone, law schools are best served having their students actively using the Internet. Law schools are know by their students and grads.

Students are a law school’s evangelists in what the school is doing in legal tech and innovation without the school even asking. Students are more real and authentic than the school is when the school uses social media in the school’s brand name.

Law schools are well intentioned in helping law students. Getting students using the Internet would give them the help they need and deserve though.

  • myshingle

    When I complained about how law schools never post my listings on Twitter, one Georgetown alumni said that this was to protect students from employers who want to take advantage of them. If a law school placement office is incapable of recognizing that a lawyer with a national practice and law blog who is offering to pay $7500 for a summer is “taking advantage of students,” then they really should not be in the placement business.