Bad Ideas, Email Scandals, Law Reviews, Law Schools

How 1Ls Should NOT Approach Peer Networking

I feel like we have this story every fall. Every year, new 1Ls get to law school campuses and invariably, some of them quickly look around to see which boots are most in need of licking. The first few weeks they kiss so much faculty ass they look like they’re applying for tenure. And right around now, they start looking for fellow students to suck up to.

Well, there’s a way to suck up to fellow students, and usually kissing butt requires you to be in the same room as your betters. Cold, unsolicited emailing — while fine for general networking — is almost always the wrong way to approach your peers. We’ve explained this to you before.

If you find yourself sending out cold, unsolicited, mass emails, well, welcome to Above the Law, little 1Ls….

There’s an earnestness from this 1L, kind of like Peggy Olson during the first season of Mad Men. And just like Peggy, chances are this 1L is going to get knocked up and have everybody hate her.

Here’s the 1L’s email to students on the George Washington Law Review:

Hi [Don Draper],

I noticed that you’re on Law Review (which is impressive!), so I know you must be busy. But I figured I’d try my luck by asking you a quick question, even so. My name is [Peggy Olson] and I’m relatively new to GW Law (1L). I have some questions about my professors and am trying to get student perspectives. Did you happen to have [Cooper] for Civ Pro, or [Sterling] for Torts. Even if you haven’t, if you happen to know any 2L or 3Ls who have (and ideally have done well in their classes) and could point me their way, I’d really appreciate it.

Thank you for your time. Have a good rest of your weekend.

All the best,
Peggy

It’s not an obviously terrible note to strike, but the more your learn about the backstory, the more off-putting this email becomes. From a GW tipster:

I thought it was a weird that this kid had my email and decided to write me out of nowhere, but I planned on giving him some advice anyway. That’s when I realized that he actually sent the same email to every single member of the Law Review editorial board! And he actually took the time to personalize most of them with a fun fact that he creepily knew.

It’s the faux sincerity that the “real” Peggy Olson never used. I “noticed” you were on law review? No you didn’t, you “selected” only the people on law review to ask your question. Big difference.

Not only is the email disingenuous, it’s unnecessarily so. You are dealing with law review kids. They already think they’re the s**t; you don’t need to sugarcoat it. If you said: “Hey, you are on law review. I want to be you! Can you help?” it would have worked just the same.

But, hey, you are a 1L. This is how we learn. Don’t do things like this.

I hope this Above the Law PSA helps.

Earlier: Networking 101: Don’t Send Networking Emails Like This One

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