Do you consider your law school classmates your professional colleagues? Just that shift in language and attitude can make a difference. I wish that I had realized that when I was in law school. However, it is a different world now with the advent of social media. Facebook, LinkedIn and niche professional networking sites did not exist when I was in law school. Certainly not the way they do today.
Today I know that my law school friends are my colleagues and that we can work together to move our careers forward and discuss common issues. Had I known how valuable these relationships would be after graduation, had I really understood the power of networking at the time, I would worked harder at fostering relationships with people with similar interests. It is always easier to look back, to realize you were in the right place at the right time after all.
I do consider many friends colleagues and colleagues friends but I also recognize the important distinction between the two. Some of my closest friends are those I met in law school and they were friends long before they became colleagues. Being social and open to meeting people is crucial to success in life and law school. Understanding the difference between groups of people in your life is just as important. Just see how quickly people took to Google+ circles .
It is a small legal community so all connections should be treated with the respect you would give professional colleagues.