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Initial networking contacts and requests for informational interviews are best sent as email messages. You may email or handwrite your thank-you notes, depending on your preference.
Date: November 15, 2011
Subject: Informational Interview Request from HLS Student
Dear Ms. Andrews:
Alexa Shabecoff, Assistant Dean for Public Service at Harvard Law School, suggested that I contact you and asked me to pass along her regards. I understand that you specialize in housing rights cases and I am particularly interested in learning more about your work in South Boston neighborhoods. I hope to pursue a career in housing litigation upon graduation from Harvard Law School next spring.
Over the past two years, I have worked for the Harvard Law School Tenant Advocacy Project (TAP) representing low-income families in housing court. This experience has sparked and strengthened my interest in fair housing law. Last summer, I worked with the housing unit at Greater Boston Legal Services on eviction and reasonable accommodation cases. I plan to remain in Boston after graduation and would greatly appreciate the opportunity to meet with you to discuss your project at the Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights, as well as the career opportunities that you feel are available locally in housing law.
I realize that you are on a tight schedule and I would greatly appreciate any time that you could spare to meet with me. I will be leaving for winter break on December 13th; it would be great to meet with you before that date, if possible. I will give your office a call next week to see if we can arrange a convenient time to talk. Thank you in advance for your help.
37 Walnut Street
Watertown, MA 03684
Date: May 15, 2011
Re: Request from Olivia Rivera, HLS ’12, for Informational Interview
Dear Ms. Dunning:
I am currently a third-year student at Harvard Law School enrolled in a joint degree program with the John F. Kennedy School of Government. I am particularly interested in pursuing a career in which I can use my legal skills to effect change on a broad scale in the area of women's legal rights.
This summer I will be in New York working with the Center for Reproductive Law and Policy. After completing my degree at the Kennedy School next year, I hope to litigate cases involving women's rights with an organization in New York.
I am writing to ask if you would be willing to meet briefly with me to discuss your career path and the steps that you recommend for a starting lawyer with similar interests. I will call your office the first week of June to see if this would be possible and, if so, to find a convenient time to meet. Thank you in advance. I hope to have the opportunity to speak with you this summer.
Olivia N. Rivera
68 Story Street
Cambridge, MA 02143
Date: July 3, 2011
Subject: Informational Interview
This spring, I finished my first year at Harvard Law School and am spending the summer in DC interning with Senator Feinstein’s Judiciary Committee staff. Before law school, I spent five years working in public policy at a social service agency in New York, but I think I would like to work in the federal government after graduation.
I have had a wonderful time on the Hill but would like to learn more about working at DOJ. Alexa Shabecoff suggested that I contact you to see if you would be willing to meet while I am in town. I would like to get together for lunch or coffee, if you are interested and able to do so. I will be in DC until at least August 11th and would be happy to schedule a meeting any day that would be convenient for you.
I look forward to hearing from you.
With much appreciation,
Judy E. Briner
781- 266-3115 (cell)
Subject: Introduction and Request
Dear Ms. Tuchman,
I am a fellow Harvard Law School alumna and learned of you and your work at the Women’s Law Center through the HLS Connect Alumni Advising Network. Following my graduation from HLS in 2008, I joined the firm of Simpson & Long here in Chicago as a litigation associate. Although I have had an exceptionally good experience at the firm, I am eager to get back to working on the issues affecting women’s lives that drew me to law school originally and that were the focus of my clinical work and extracurricular pursuits there.
I am deeply interested in the mission of the Women’s Law Center and would be grateful for the chance to talk with you briefly about your work. I am eager to get your thoughts on career opportunities working on women’s issues and your advice for trying to make this kind of career transition. Would you be willing to speak with me any time in the next month or so?
Thank you so much for considering my request. I look forward to speaking with you.
Date: January 15, 2011
Re: Thank you
Dear Mr. Long:
Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to talk with me. I greatly appreciated your advice on how to find a summer internship on Capitol Hill. At your suggestion, I phoned Senator Kerry's Judiciary Committee Staff Attorney, Sarah Greene, and I will meet with her next week.
I hope that you have a great vacation in Europe—it sounds wonderful! I look forward to speaking with you when you return. Again, thanks for your help. I will keep you posted on my job search progress.
10 Holmes Hall
Cambridge, MA 02138
Dear Ms. Tuchman,
Thank you so much for meeting with me today. It was wonderful to talk with you and to learn more about your work at the Women’s Law Center. I was particularly fascinated to hear about your project addressing the needs of new immigrants from war-torn countries.
I am grateful for the contacts you suggested to me, and will let you know what happens when I follow up with them. I look forward to talking with you again in the future.
*Note that it is also appropriate to send a handwritten thank you note following an informational interview. Many recipients enjoy the personal touch of such a note. But if your handwriting or time constraints make a handwritten note impractical, a thank you email is an appropriate alternative.
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