Networking around the bases


Among those enjoying an Evening at the Ballpark with Wayne State University Law School Aug. 20 were (left to right) Olivia Vizachero, Jaron Bentley, Michigan Court of Appeals Judge Michael Talbot, Ian Larkin, Chis Rambus, and Ethan Schultz.


by Barry Malone
Legal News

Tishia Browning, an associate with Mantese Honigman and a Wayne State University Law School alum, knows what it’s like to network as a student. She now can view it from a different perspective after attending Wayne State Law’s recent Tigers Outing event for area attorneys and students.

“It was far more relaxed to attend as a non-student. Networking can understandably be nerve-wracking for many students,” said Browning of the August 20 event, which included a 4-0 victory by the Tigers over the Texas Rangers.

Describing herself as “very impressed” with the group of Wayne Law students, Browning was out to make connections with students and get them interested in her firm.
According to Kathy Fox, director of Employer Development at Wayne State Law, the event was open to the entire class of rising 2Ls and 3Ls.

“We do our best to have all of the fall on-campus interviewing firms attend,” said Fox. “This event gives the students an opportunity to meet the firms they interview with in a casual environment. Not only does this increase the comfort level of the students during [on-campus interviews], but the event also leads to students who maybe wouldn't be considered for interviews on paper alone to be selected to interview because an attorney attending the event puts in a good word for the student whom they met at this event.”

On-campus interviews are a fall law school tradition. It is an opportunity for prospective employers to interview students at their school. The Tigers Outing gave the students a head start on meeting prospective employers.

“Let's face it: the on-campus interview process is formal and intimidating,” said Lisa Hamameh, a senior attorney with Foster Swift Collins & Smith in Farmington Hills.
“Generally, it is a 20- to 30-minute interview in a small room on campus between two perfect strangers trying to learn what each has to offer the other. But personality plays an important role. Will this person fit within the firm culture? Is the firm’s culture acceptable to me? These are questions that are tough to evaluate while in a formal interview setting. The Tigers outing adds another layer to the interview process by providing the opportunity to get to know each other on a social level in a comfortable environment.”

Hamameh, like Browning, is also a Wayne State Law alumnus. According to Fox, the event’s success is owed in part to the amount of alumni who attended as students and come back to network with students and help them prepare for the fall interviewing season.

Fox added, “That is also one of the main ways we help the students mingle, by having alumni who attended the event come back. These alumni understand the purpose of the event and really want to give back to WSU Law as well as to our current students.”

For prospective employers, the event is also an opportunity to engage in marketing and scouting talent.

“It’s two-fold: first, it’s fun to come to the baseball game and meet and talk to the law students outside of the formal interviewing process,” said Elizabeth Luckenbach, a partner with Jaffe Raitt. “It’s also a great opportunity for the firm to get the students to start thinking and talking about Jaffe before the on-campus interviews begin.”
Ari Kresch, CEO and founder of 1-800-Law-Firm, was on the lookout for promising new hires.

“We are looking for talent that looks at providing legal services in new and innovative ways.”

For students, the event covered a lot of bases.

According to Jonathan Ajlouny, a 2L at Wayne State Law, the event gave him the opportunity for “meeting new attorneys, seeing attorneys I know, seeing friends, and watching the Tigers.” Ajlouny is interested in corporate litigation and is hopeful that the on-campus interviewing process will help him land a position with one of the firms that he’d like to work with upon graduation.

Lani Domagalski, a 3L, echoed Ajlouny’s thoughts. She added that Detroit’s revitalization is bringing extra opportunity with new startups and growing businesses needing legal services.

Not all students were scouting for jobs; some fortunate students had post-graduate positions lined up. Rachel Myung has spent the past two summers at Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn and plans to return after graduating. Having had the opportunity to observe the firm closely, Myung is certain it’s where she belongs.

“For me, I really like the firm culture,” said Myung. “Mixing good people with awesome work, I feel like I won the lottery.”