A huge benefit to attending Loyola School of Law, is that we have more than 10,000 alumni and thousands live in the city of Chicago holding a wide variety of jobs. They work within state and federal judiciaries, law firms and businesses, higher education, government, and public service. Our alumni are very good about staying connected to the school through mentoring, teaching and networking. Already as a 1L the school has given us opportunities to connect with our alumni through lunches, panels, and online portals.
Recently, I attended a dinner through the 1L and Alumni Mentor Program. This alumni program pairs 1Ls with recent Loyola graduates who are working in our field of interest. This mentorship is intended to support the 1Ls in school and our career by learning from the alumni’s experience and insights.
At the dinner I was paired with John Norkus who works in public interest. He and a fellow Loyola graduate have created their own firm with the purpose of providing accesses to affordable legal service in housing matters. The practice targets people who make too much money to qualify for special services, but do not have an extra $5,000- 10,000 to pay an attorney when they are about to lose their home. Essentially they are attempting to make the law more accessible.
I really enjoyed speaking with him and learning about the work he was doing. Further, he gave me some advice about networking. I often feel awkward and needy when I am networking. I am a law student with only a semester worth of credits, what do I have to offer? John encouraged me that I could have something to offer and that alumni especially love to help young lawyers begin. Through our conversation I developed a little more confidence in going forward. Plus, he kindly shared that networking never ends. It is something we will all do for the rest of our careers. From his insights I learned I had better just throw myself into it because it can only get easier.
But his support didn’t stop with the dinner. Later that weekend I followed up with an email to thank him for his time. He promptly and warmly responded that he too had enjoyed getting to know me and other classmates. He even invited me to shadow him at the court house. Overall, it was a great opportunity to practice my networking skills in a comfortable environment and make a new friend in public interest.
Questions for Amie? Email law-admissions [at] luc [dot] edu with the subject “Ask Amie” and she will make sure to answer them.