Holly Sutton plans to be a trust officer in a few years. Currently, Sutton works as a relationship associate in the Trust Department at Colorado State Bank and Trust, a position created specifically for her by her employer, where she splits her time between asset management and trust administration. Asset management invests the assets held within a trust, while trust administration ensures that a trust’s terms are carried out as a settler wishes. As part of the position established for her, Sutton meets with her mentor at the bank and observes her duties as a trust officer and asks her any questions that she may have.
ProNet, where alumni make themselves available as contacts for students, helped me connect with Darla Daniel, who helped me get a position at Colorado State Bank and Trust. Beyond that, though, the advisors in the Career Development office reviewed my resume and other job application materials as well as e-mailed me about jobs relating to my interests. If I ever had a question, I just popped into the office, and an advisor would help me.
Networking. While my job search focused on the trust and estate world, I still enjoyed business law, too. Therefore, in reviewing ProNet for alumni to contact, I narrowed my search to people in those two fields. I identified five people to contact. I e-mailed all five people, got responses from three, and scheduled coffees with all three. At each coffee, I got names of other people to meet, articles to read, blogs to review, etc. It was one of my initial meetings, though, that led to my job. I met Darla Daniel from Colorado State Bank and Trust for coffee in September, and we e-mailed each other a couple of times afterwards. As it turns out, the bank didn’t have any job openings available. Since they liked me, however, they created a new position for me and offered me a job a week later.
At six months into my career, I’m just starting to build my professional network with the hope that what I do now will pay dividends down the road. With regards to my professional network at work, I volunteered to be Secretary of our employee club, where I help plan projects to unify our employees all across Colorado. With regards to the trust and estate world in Colorado, I’m a member of the Women’s Estate Planning Council, a member of the Denver Estate Planning Council, and a member of the Colorado Bar Association’s Trusts and Estate Section, where I’m actively involved in the Uniform Trust Code Committee to try and bring the UTC to Colorado. Additionally, I attend the Denver Trust Officer Association luncheons and various charity events. Already, I am learning faces and names and who does what in the trust and estate world, which I’m learning is a very tight-knit group. I believe that it will take years to get fully plugged in and known, but I also believe that investing my time into these commitments now will reap tremendous benefits. Plus, it’s fun.
To help you find a post-graduate job, first, work each semester and summer that you can (1L summer, 2L fall, 2L spring, 2L summer, 3L fall, and 3L spring). While I had three jobs over my time at law school, I look back and think about how I could have had three more diverse experiences to round me out. Second, while it’s nice to have paid work, don’t turn something done simply because it’s unpaid. Only one of my three jobs was paid, yet the two unpaid jobs received the most respect from prospective employers. Just get some work experience while in school, and even if you have to live more cheaply doing it, it will pay off on your resume and in getting a post-graduate job. Third, start having coffees with people from the get go. People are so willing to meet with you as a student, and meeting one-on-one is often a more comfortable way to network.
Wherever you decide to go to law school, you will be surrounded by goal-oriented, high-achieving, Type A peers. However, while it may seem that such a group of people will create a super competitive environment, Colorado Law is very collegial where students are both friendly and helpful. I loved that. Additionally, Colorado Law students have a life outside of school. If someone enjoyed skiing or rock climbing or hiking, you can be sure that they maintained that hobby while in school. I really appreciated that balance.