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As rainmakers at the big law firms have long known, a personal touch frequently brings home the bacon. Which means that Adrian Baron and Brendan Murphy, students at Pace University School of Law in White Plains, N.Y., should probably move to the head of the class. As founding co-presidents of a 2-year-old campus group they christened the Barrister’s Guild, the two busy night-school students have booked a passel of players in the worlds of law, politics, business and entertainment to inspire small groups of Pace Law students with war stories and advice. “They’ve created some very high-class get-togethers,” said professor Ralph Stein, the guild’s faculty advisor. “It’s really quite sophisticated, and it’s being led by two extraordinary, dynamic leaders.” Their secret? After finding a predicate for second- or third-hand relationship, Baron and Murphy simply picked up the telephone and dialed the likes of Dr. Stanley Glod, vice president of Boeing Aerospace for central Europe; Gerry Adams, president of Sinn F�in, Ireland’s oldest political party; former Mayor Edward I. Koch; William J. Manning, former special counsel to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission who is now a partner at Jackson Lewis; actors Bill Murray, Giancarlo Esposito and Lorraine Bracco; and Peter J. Madonia, chief of staff to Mayor Michael Bloomberg. In the case of Madonia, the personal touch worked like this: “My father-in-law owns Biancardi Meats, the butcher shop on Arthur Avenue in the Bronx,” explained Murphy, 39, known at his day job with the Harrison Police Department as Detective Sgt. Murphy. “I came to know Peter because his family’s business, Madonia Bakery, is right next door. So I just put the arm on him basically.” Madonia was pleased to dine for three hours with seven Pace students at a Manhattan restaurant of his choice, since the politico was guest of honor. In addition to dinners with small groups of students, Barrister’s Guild offerings have also included wine-tastings, celebrity golf outings, and a day on the slopes with a clutch of ski-happy environmental lawyers. “We get lucky sometimes,” said Baron, 30, whose Pace tuition comes out of his salary as an assistant at the law school’s environmental litigation clinic, directed by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. “Like we had a member with a sister at MTV, in the production department. So we contacted the sister.” The upshot: a dinner booking with Sean Johnson, vice president of law and business affairs at MTV Networks. Professor Jay Carlisle, who teaches civil procedure and professional responsibility at Pace Law, suggested that luck has little to do with the success of Murphy and Baron. He thinks highly of one of their minor ingenuities: business cards for Pace Law students, which the guild believes is more subtle than waving r�sum�s at group events. “They’re not shy,” said Carlisle of the guild founders. “They dreamed up the guild, and made it work by calling up the law firms and anybody else they want. Most lawyers enjoy talking informally about their experiences, particularly to a small group of law students, and the students just love it. “Many of our students don’t come from families with lawyers, and many don’t have the chance to spend time at a firm during the summer,” Carlisle said further. “Their only association with lawyers is with professors, who are much different than the lawyers they’ll be working with day-in and day-out for the rest of their lives. “So it’s enlightening, something outside the classroom,” he added. “It’s similar to the Inns of Court in England, where students are required to attend a number of dinners and so forth, to interact informally with barristers and judges. We don’t really have that here in the U.S.” While the guild is an independent student organization at Pace Law, its officers and roughly 800 members — who are assessed no dues, but who pay their own way to events and kick in a few dollars apiece to treat guests — often coordinate events with staffers at the administration’s career development and alumni offices. In this way, said Dean David Cohen, “The Barrister’s Guild augments services the school provides.” Pace Law offers the usual menu of student services: r�sum� writing, interviewing skills, on-campus job interviews and weekly career panels. But Cohen admits, “With our small staff, we couldn’t possibly organize the kind of events the guild is so good at carrying off.” OTHER PROGRAMS Other campuses have programs that parallel the Barrister’s Guild offerings. Brooklyn Law School, for example, incorporated a mentor program begun 11 years ago by Lisa M. Brauner, then a student and now a senior associate at Benetar, Bernstein, Schair & Stein. The Brooklyn program gives some 200 students the opportunity for year-long, one-on-one shadowing of practicing attorneys, usually alumni of the school. There are regular dean’s luncheons at Brooklyn Law, and what Gwen Greenberg, director of alumni relations, calls the annual “career conversations,” when all students are provided one-on-one talks with graduates in practice. At New York Law School, the Office of Career Services matches students with alumni mentors to help with short- and long-term goals. Three times a week, attorneys from a variety of practice areas are invited to luncheons for up to 20 students at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. But Peter M. Casper, an environmental attorney with the Albany firm Whiteman, Osterman & Hanna, considers the Barrister’s Guild an organization of singular panache. “I attended the guild’s ski outing last year,” said Casper, 35, himself a Pace Law graduate. “The conversations revolved around the next few years of their studies, what courses I’d found beneficial, what the market was like and where I saw the future of environmental law. “There was nothing like this when I was a student,” he said of the guild. “Had there been, I would definitely have been part of it. The guild is a great organization.” How did it become known as the Barrister’s Guild? “Actually, we first wanted to call it the Benjamin Franklin Society,” said Baron. “But that would have required too much explanation.” Suffice it to include the late Franklin’s sensibilities as the preamble to the Barrister’s Guild Web site ( www.barristersguild.com): “Ben Franklin once said that the Declaration of Independence only guarantees you the right to the pursuit of happiness. You have to catch it yourself. In other words, don’t wait for opportunities to happen. Make them happen.”

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