PUBLISHED:March 09, 2016

1L Blueprint for Success offers first-years head start on networking

Students and employers in discussion at the Career Center's Blueprint for Success

First-year students will get a head start on networking at the annual 1L Blueprint for Success event sponsored by the Career & Professional Development Center (CPDC), which will take place Mar. 22 at the Durham Convention Center. 

More than 100 representatives of law firms, corporations, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations — many of them Duke Law alumni — will be there to get to know the 1L class and answer questions about their careers.

“This is a great way to meet a lot of different employers,” said Karim Pirani ’17, who attended Blueprint in 2015. “It’s great to get that exposure and learn about what practice areas there are and how people got where they are.”

Erin Biggerstaff, recruiting coordinator for Duke Law, said: “Employers are eager to get more involved on campus. They are looking for new ways to build a presence here, establish their brands, and help students with their professional development and career goals. 1L Blueprint for Success is a one-stop shop for them and an excellent way to meet the 1L class leading up to the fall.”

Once again this year, students will begin the evening by brushing up on their networking skills with professional coach Mary Crane, author of the “100 Things You Need to Know” series of books. Crane stresses the importance of taking full advantage of networking opportunities, from setting personal goals ahead of time and researching the individuals and organizations participating to following up afterward to ensure a lasting impression.

At the evening’s main event, employers greet students, hand out business cards, and field questions about their organizations and practice areas. Students move from table to table, keeping Crane’s tips in mind as they introduce themselves to attorneys and recruiters. Passed hors d’oeuvres and soft drinks allow students to practice their networking skills in a setting similar to the employer receptions they will attend throughout the summer.

“It’s helpful to just be on your feet and meeting people in rapid succession,” said Brandon Springer ’17. “I found it valuable to strike up conversations with people in fields that interest me and to learn more about unfamiliar areas of practice.”

Ashley Lin ’17, said she took advantage of the opportunity at Blueprint to learn about law firms’ global opportunities and how best to pursue them. “For people who want a career in international law, it’s really important to establish international contacts.” 

Said Jon Wry, a partner at Bracewell & Guiliani in New York: “We at Bracewell are big fans of the Blueprint event. The setting is casual and relaxed, and really humanizes the participants on both sides of the student-employer line. Blueprint gives students a great opportunity to practice being themselves and to showcase their personalities around employers. And we love the opportunity to put our name out in front of students in that non-boiler-room environment as well — it’s nice to be recognized as a friendly face when OCI rolls around at the end of the summer.”

For more information on the Career Center’s 1L Blueprint for Success event, including sponsors and participants, please visit