Ask the Hiring Attorney: How do I stand out at a law firm holiday reception while still playing it safe?

Q: I’m a law student getting ready to attend holiday receptions hosted by law firms. I hear so much about what I shouldn’t talk about, what I shouldn’t wear, what I shouldn’t do. So what can I do? How I can stand out in a room where everyone’s wearing a black suit and talking about safe topics? A: Let’s start with the purpose of these holiday receptions. From the law firms’ perspective, the purpose is to attract top law school candidates. Holiday receptions help counteract firms’ reputations as sweatshops by allowing students to interact with attorneys and hiring personnel in a less formal setting than, say, a job interview. Law firms try to populate these holiday receptions with some of their more personable lawyers, who can help showcase the firm as a collegial and desirable place to work. From your perspective, the purpose of attending the holiday reception is to introduce yourself to lawyers and, hopefully, build a positive…

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