Sharon E. Jones ’82, outgoing president of the HLSA, on ways that alumni can get involved,
lawyers as networkers, and some of what she’s learned during her two-year tenure
The opportunities for alumni to engage with each other have changed dramatically. There are now women’s networks—one in Chicago, one in Washington, D.C., and others are under way. There is now a seniors network. This year, the Recent Graduates Council has really taken off, with events in more and more cities. It has given alumni a lot of ways to interact around work issues as well as socially. That’s been huge. Of course, we reach alumni through social media—Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn as well as HLSA.org. The organization provides a way for people to connect virtually and in person, and we need both.
I always ask alumni what we can do at the HLSA to serve you better. When people write with an idea, usually I offer the possibility to lead the thing that they are interested in, and usually they step up. Just this month [in April] Terrence Yang ’91, an alumnus in Southern California who wanted to start a group in his area, held the first event for the HLSA of Orange County. The HLSA of Arabia, organized by Malik Dahlan LL.M. ’01, just held its inaugural event in Qatar. So, if there is something you’d like to see done, reach out and offer to do it yourself. We can usually build a team around someone who wants to lead.
At business school, they teach people that networking is important to their near- and long-term success. That wasn’t always the case at law schools. These days, graduates are beginning to see the importance of networking, which is why we see so much participation in the Recent Graduates Council groups. We are all realizing that getting to know each other is really important, both personally and professionally. And HLS tries to provide opportunities in person and through social media.
I had thought that some of the best friends I made from law school, I’d made as a student. What I’ve learned is that some of my best friends I probably made through my work on the HLSA and the Executive Committee—working relationships that I value so much.
If I had to pick one word to describe the HLSA? Vibrant.
Paul L. Perito ’64, chairman, president and COO of Star Scientific; and current first vice-president of the HLSA, will become president at the end of May.