Oscar N. Pinkas ’06, an Associate in the Restructuring and Insolvency Group at SNR Denton in New York, is not surprised that the Seton Hall Law Alumni Group on LinkedIn.com, now 1,600 strong, welcomes up to 25 new members every week. As the founder of the Group, he knows that the lifeblood of business development is his professional network and Seton Hall Law’s electronic networking tools – LinkedIn and Seton Hall Law Connect – are critical to the effort.
“At SNR Denton, as we master the skills of an associate they encourage us to network and build business of our own,” says Oscar (pictured, left). “For all of us who graduated from law school, our fellow alumni are a huge piece of our social and professional web. So I thought, why not build an electronic database? I created the alumni group on LinkedIn in 2007 and started inviting friends to it. Now we get requests coming in at a clip.”
The Group on LinkedIn.com, combined with Seton Hall Law’s new online proprietary alumni database, Seton Hall Law Connect, offer Seton Hall Law community a way to sustain their social and professional networks with minimal effort. The LinkedIn alumni group is now open to both Seton Hall Law graduates and current students. Seton Hall Law Connect is exclusively for alumni, and provides a place to post, and search, profile information about graduates’ current place of business and areas of practice, as well as academic information such as section, student organizations and activities. Seton Hall Law Connect also enables alumni to register for events and share class notes.
Oscar takes advantage of both LinkedIn and Connect: “As busy as our lives are, we can’t keep up with our fellow graduates. I like how LinkedIn offers me referrals to other colleagues based on the connections we share so I can reach out to them directly. And through Connect, I can search by all sorts of criteria, which saves me the time of thinking of everyone I might want to contact. Also, both give me access to up-to-date contact information as colleagues change jobs. I can stay abreast of how people are going on in their lives so I can continue to stay in touch with them.”
Oscar also offers his own time and energy for networking, not just for business development, but as a way of giving back the help he received during law school. “Usually there’s a certain level of discomfort we all have with reaching out to somebody we don’t know, or don’t know well, for something we perceive to be a favor. I started to overcome that in law school, and found people who were happy to help me along my path.” He names Dean Hobbs, Professor Riccio and Professor Franzese as those who were particularly helpful to him. “Students and young alumni can look to older alumni because for us, it’s a way of paying forward the help we received. We know ways to find internships and jobs, the pros and cons of different types of careers in law, and we can help people to connect with others. We can help students and new graduates broaden their reach from the very start.”
David Weinberg, Assistant Dean of the Office of Career Services, encourages Seton Hall Law students and graduates to build a network, starting with a professional online presence. “The rules are changing. In the past, career counselors may have urged students and graduates to keep their online activity private, confidential, and secure from spying eyes. Now, more forward-thinking employers, including technology-centric law firms, may actually see the lack of online presence as a negative when thinking about prospective employees. Having a presence on LinkedIn, a personal blog, or website can show prospective employers, as well as your professional colleagues, that you have expertise in a legal practice area or industry sector and know how important it is to promote your talents.”
Do you want to know more about how to use online networking tools? The Office of Career Services stands ready to guide you in using systems to change jobs, build your book of business, or simply be acknowledged as a leader in your field. For more information, please contact David Weinberg at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 973-642-8746.