Networking in a pandemic: Alumni continue to connect with ND Law students through virtual events

Author: Tammye Raster

Mc 10

One of the unique strengths of Notre Dame Law School is its extensive and extremely dedicated alumni network. The value of the alumni network has never been more evident than during this unprecedented semester where Notre Dame lawyers from all over the country navigated the virtual world to meet with students during online "tailgates" and lunchtime panels. Overall, 300 students and 175 alumni participated in these virtual events.

“As someone new to the Notre Dame community, I found the virtual tailgates to be a wonderful introduction to our values — building supportive networks, continuing academic and career engagement, and carrying on Notre Dame traditions while respecting COVID guidelines. I cannot thank the alumni enough for their keen advice on classes, extracurriculars, and summer job research.” – Samantha Krasker, Class of 2023

During the fall semester, student ambassadors coordinated with 18 Notre Dame Lawyer Committees across the country to host virtual tailgates offering students the opportunity to make connections with alumni practicing in those legal markets. A benefit of the virtual format allowed for small groups of students to meet directly with multiple alumni as they moved from breakout room to breakout room on a set schedule.

“Attending the Dallas virtual tailgate was very beneficial to begin networking with attorneys in my target city. During these times where face-to-face meetings are not possible, meeting alumni virtually is a great way to begin creating relationships and building a sense of community with NDLS attorneys.” – Estella Serrano, Class of 2023

"After attending the NYC virtual tailgate networking event, I was reminded of how truly invaluable the NDLS alumni base is. It was great to see so many alumni take the time to give us their career advice and insights. In addition to their helpful guidance during the actual event, the alumni also made it clear that they want to help us going forward into the future with whatever they can, as much as they can. Some even conferred a helping hand in facilitating future connections with other legal professionals in the city, an offer that has already been beneficial to me as I prepare for interviews. The alumni’s clear dedication is much appreciated — especially during these abnormal times." – Maria Bandwen, Class of 2022

Most of the tailgates were planned the week of a Notre Dame football game where attendees sported ND attire and shared a tailgate beverage.

"The virtual tailgates allowed me to meet some amazing NDLS alumni in a relaxed setting. The ability to network, learn from successful attorneys, and bond over our mutual love of ND football was amazing! So grateful for everyone who participated in the event." – Chloe Moreno, Class of 2022

In addition to the tailgates, first-year students had the unique opportunity to network with Notre Dame Law Association Board members in lunchtime panels during their virtual fall board meeting. 

“Notre Dame’s alumni network truly can become one’s family away from home, so being able to form these relationships is crucial. It’s truly a blessing being able to extend my reach into the Notre Dame family even in the face of COVID restrictions.” – Monica Bell, Class of 2023

Alumni, thank you for offering our students the unique experience of a Notre Dame tailgate and the opportunity to begin building relationships with our amazing law community!