By: Gregory Brown, Jr. | Staff Member
On February 15, 2017 at 6:00 PM, the Queens County Bar Association’s (“QCBA”) Young Lawyer Committee and its Membership Committee held its Second Annual Networking Party at the QCBA building located at 90-35 148th Street, Jamaica, NY 11435. The aim of the event was to connect law students with attorneys and judges working in the borough of Queens.
Attendees were greeted by members of the QCBA Young Lawyers Committee at the door and given more information about the QCBA Mentorship and Ambassador Programs. Guests were invited to sample hors d’oeuvres: pigs in blankets, chicken tenders, and pierogis. Then the “networking” commenced.
During the Networking Party, I had the opportunity to meet the Honorable Thomas D. Raffaele, a state court judge in the Queens Supreme Court, Civil Term. During our conversation, Judge Raffaele described his extensive work experience prior to starting law school, such as working in state and local political organizations. For Judge Raffaele, his work experiences opened doors for him once he graduated law school. As for advice, Judge Raffaele encouraged me to take advantage of my prior business experience of working at a private career school and not to “leave my experiences before law school at the door.”
Throughout the night, I met several attorneys from a wide array of practice areas, including real estate, personal injury, immigration, matrimonial, and criminal defense. Collectively, the attorneys stressed that I should gain practical experience as a law student and maintain a network with attorneys.
Overall, the Networking Party was an excellent opportunity for me to socialize with other attorneys in an informal setting. It is worth noting that coincidentally (or not), the current president of the QCBA has the same name as me, which became an interesting talking point throughout the night. Attending the Networking Party also helped me understand the importance of networking in the legal profession. Specifically, I learned that connecting with experienced attorneys provides an excellent way to learn about an unfamiliar practice area.
In retrospect, my experience at the Networking Party has encouraged me to stay abreast of opportunities to meet other attorneys; indeed, I learned that some of the best learning experiences in law school take place outside of the classroom. For students interested in obtaining a free membership with the QCBA, contact Sasha Khan at SKhan@qcba.org.