October 2016

Forget Social Media, It is Still a People Game

By Lizzette Herrera Castellanos

Associate Director for Public Service and Diversity, University of San Diego School of Law

I recently read an article that said, “The best moments of your life will not happen looking at a screen.” Ironically, I read those words while I was looking at a screen reading the article. But the more I thought about it, I realized it was completely true. The best moments of my life had never happened in front of a computer screen (the only exception was looking up my bar results online). They were all when I was meeting people, talking to people, and outside really living. But I often hear from young attorneys that tell me attending events is expensive or they work so hard at their job that they don’t have the time. My hard and fast rule for these new attorneys is “One Event Per Week.” The cost is minimal, the connections are professionally valuable, but most importantly the social support is priceless. So here are a couple of freebies you should know about:

Meetup.com
I have several students that rave about this site. It offers a great way to meet new people in a new area and events are usually free. The best part is that not everyone you meet up with is an attorney. There are hiking groups, coffee groups, sewing groups, and any other type of hobby you can conjure up. People just want to meet with others who share similar interests. This is a great way to meet new people. 

County Bar Events
I sit on the board of the San Diego County Bar Association and at one particular meeting, someone said, “Many of our events are free.” It’s true. And if they aren't free, they are generally low-cost. You don’t get charged $35 per event or reception. You get to go for free, or for a low cost, as a member. The mixers held by the Forum for Emerging Lawyers are free, and the next one is November 3, 2016.  And first year attorneys get free membership their first year. There is no other organization in San Diego that will do that for you!

Alumni Events
Both your undergrad and law school have events across the country all the time. A few years back, I had a group of alum from USD that were all living in Washington DC and they formed their own alumni support group in the area. When we had alumni events out in Washington DC, it was so easy to contact one of the members of that group and know that the other members of the group would be alerted to this event.*

Reconnect With a Mentor or Old Friend
Every time I get frustrated with something at work, I have a habit of calling old deans or bosses and meeting up. They know my struggles well. They have been there. They have fought the same battles I fight. And for the cost of a cup of coffee, I feel motivated, socially supported and renewed. They also remind me to reconnect with other people that we have in common. Everyone has someone like that in their professional circle. Connect with that person because the best moments of your life won’t happen in front of a screen.

*Editor’s Note
I am a graduate of the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia and of Villanova University School of Law, and have attended alumni events for each of my alma maters right here in San Diego. These are valuable events to connect to people with whom you already share something in common — easy ice breakers.

      — Michael Olinik, Editor-In-Chief of For the Record