You’ve reached out to an attorney whose career you admire, have set some time to meet them for coffee, and have compiled a list of questions to ask about their experiences and advice.
You’re finally ready for an informational interview.
But are you ready for what comes after the interview is over?
For lawyers, the responsibilities associated with an informational interview don’t end when the interview’s completed. To get the most out of the time you spent picking that experienced attorney’s brain, you’ll want to invest effort into nurturing this new relationship. Here’s what you need to do next.
Send A Thank-You Note
This shouldn’t come as breaking news, but the very first thing you should do after you’ve had an informational interview is to write and send a thank-you note, ideally within 24 hours. Most of the time, it’s acceptable to do so via email, but trust your gut. If the attorney you met with is more formal or “old-school,” it might be worth it to send an actual letter or card in the mail. Make sure your letter is personal and specific by referencing the topics you discussed. And be absolutely sure to review your grammar and spelling—don’t forget how much lawyers value these things.
Review Your Notes
What did you learn from the practitioner? Did your thoughts about their work or career path change? What questions remain unanswered, and what new questions do you have? Give yourself some time to consider your takeaways from the interview. Are you more or less inclined to further pursue this practice area? Do your best to honestly assess how you felt about what you learned. Keep any new and unanswered questions in mind for the next informational interview you have.
Stay in Touch
Now, your outreach doesn’t end after you’ve sent a thank-you note. It’s crucial for law students and all future legal job seekers to maintain relationships with those in their networks, and that includes anyone with whom you’ve held an informational interview. Keep in touch in the way that makes the most sense for you. This can be accomplished by sending holiday cards, forwarding articles you think might pique their interest, or just emailing them with regular updates on your progress. If they’ve made specific recommendations, let them know when you’ve followed up on their advice.
Keep Detailed Records
Who have you met with? When did you last email them? What did you discuss? Record keeping during the job-hunting phase might seem like a lot of effort, but it’s worth it. Keep a detailed list of everyone you’ve met with, spoken to, or even just reached out to. Include dates, contact information, as well as topics discussed, and make sure you’ve got an email folder in which to keep all correspondences. It’s worth doing this even if you’re still early on in law school, as you never know whether you’ll hear from someone months after reaching out. You’ll simply want to make sure you’re able to keep everyone and everything straight.
You Got A Job! Now What?
Your post-informational interview responsibilities don’t cease just because you’ve landed a job (congrats, by the way!). Update anyone with whom you’ve conducted informational interviews when you finally land the legal job of your dreams. Be sure to thank them for the time they took to help you out along the way. They’re now part of your extended professional network.
If you’ve met with someone for an informational interview lately, you need to thank the person you met with and make plans to regularly stay in touch. Over the next week, send out any thank-you cards or emails and schedule in when you’ll contact them in the future.