As a first-year law student at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law downtown, Pat Lipaj '13 recently joined Saint Ignatius Connect, our new online networking platform exclusively created for Saint Ignatius alumni. While Pat dives into his law degree and begins to discover his focus, he is using Saint Ignatius Connect to network with other alumni in his field.
Q: What prompted you to join Saint Ignatius Connect?
A: At this point in law school, most of my classmates (myself included) aren't exactly sure which route we want to go (i.e. corporate law, criminal law, public interest, government, etc.). With a few weeks off for winter break, I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to get a better sense of which type of law would be best for me. So, I wanted to utilize the huge Ignatius network that's available to see if I could get coffee/lunch with a couple successful attorneys around town to pick their brains on practicing law in Cleveland.
Q: How have you used Saint Ignatius Connect since joining?
A: I signed up in mid-December. Immediately, Ignatius Connect changed the game and made the entire process so much easier. All I had to do was go to the "Directory" page and filter by work and location. Instantly, I had a list of 40+ attorneys in Cleveland. Also, another great component of Ignatius Connect is that it tells you how willing each user is to help you. For example, users can specify whether they'd be willing to answer industry questions, willing to be a mentor, etc.
After reviewing the profiles of the attorneys, I reached out to 6-7 of them who were in legal fields that I am interested in (and who listed that they are willing to help) to see if they'd be willing to grab a quick cup of coffee. Within three days, almost all of them replied and were more than willing to grab coffee/lunch. I've met with alumni from Benesch, Taft and Kohrman, Jackson & Krantz, all of whom were extremely helpful and gave me an insight into life at big law firms.
Q: What do you think are the biggest benefits of Saint Ignatius Connect?
A: My two biggest take-aways from Ignatius Connect are: (1) just how vast and successful the Ignatius alumni network is and (2) how helpful the Ignatius alumni network can be if you reach out for help. Thus, Ignatius Connect is a very powerful tool and it seems to be a great way of better connecting the alumni base.
Q: How is Saint Ignatius Connect different from LinkedIn?
A: The most important differentiators that make Ignatius Connect 100x better than Linkedin (for me at least) are: (1) the ability to filter by work/location easily and (2) the listing of each user's "willingness to help." Also, the simplicity of the website is fantastic.
Q: Would you encourage other alumni to join?
A: 100% recommend for other alumni. I'm sure it can be incredibly beneficial in many other fields, too (banking, medical, military, etc.), and even helpful for very recent Ignatius graduates to help them network with alums to determine which career path is best for them before they spend $50,000 on a college education preparing them for a job isn't actually the right fit.
To join Saint Ignatius Connect, visit ignatiusconnect.com
. The easiest way to set up your account is to log in using your LinkedIn credentials. If you do not have LinkedIn, you can also use Facebook or an email address to create an account.