By: James Clarke | Staff Writer
Special thanks to St. John’s Corporate and Securities Law Society for organizing its annual Alumni Networking Event on November 17, 2016, at Connolly’s Pub located at 14 E. 47th Street. I extend my thanks to the venue Connolly’s Pub for providing first-rate food and service, and of course, the bar. This year, the Corporate and Securities Law Society collaborated with the Bankruptcy Society and the Commercial Division Online Law Report (“CDOLR”) to execute an event for approximately 30 people, including St. John’s School of Law faculty, students, and alumni ranging from recent graduates with only 1 year of experience to long time practitioners with over 25 years of experience. The event was a great exposure to the mechanics of networking and how current attorneys socialize outside the office.
For example, recent alumnus Emil Khan, an Associate with Constellation Advisers, LLC, working in Corporate Compliance advised students: “Sometimes you have to step back from the law and just talk like people,” commenting on how at one networking event, he made a valuable connection simply by wearing Game of Thrones cufflinks that were spotted by another fan. This advice proved immediately relevant, as Westworld soon became the topic of discussion (seriously, watch it).
Additionally, students were enlightened by witnessing two current practitioners discuss the surprising differences between Hedge and Mutual fund regulations.
Indeed, one attorney shared his story about his mid-life career change. After spending years as a private bankruptcy attorney, responsible in part for selling multimillion dollar companies, he decided to make a change to public work. On track to be a District Court Bankruptcy Judge, he currently is clerking for a bankruptcy court and is looking forward to working with St. John’s law students.
Notably, attorneys in attendance provided valuable information to students about the SEC hiring process. For those seeking to apply to the SEC, “most people get rejected right away, you should apply again because the SEC likes to see whether you’ll try again or go into the private sector.”
Perhaps the most comforting theme of the event was that the attendees were all in agreement that “St. John’s law students really do hit the ground running,” stated by an alumnus in attendance.
Overall, students in attendance were able to put their networking skills to work, a bedrock principle of CDOLR. The legal profession in New York is a well-connected group, and networking events like this provide students with the opportunity to expose themselves to specific fields of law outside the classroom in the hopes of learning about the legal job market.
I would recommend that all students maintain an open mind when it comes to future networking events, regardless of the field. Although I thought I had no interest in corporate law or bankruptcy law going into the event, I left the event reconsidering my career path, as well as with a collection of business cards at my potential future disposal.