If you are a recent law graduate, your career trajectory can be determined by the experience, contacts, and reputation you gain in the first few years of your profession. The first job search after law school is often the toughest. If you have passed the bar, but don’t yet have a job secured, here are some job search tips that may help you find the perfect position:
Apply to Every Law Job Opening – If you have graduated from law school and do not have a job lined up, you need to act quickly and with intensity. Do not be selective – apply to every single law opening there is. The more firms you apply, the more likely you are to get a job offer, perhaps multiple offers.
Be Flexible Geographically – You need to go where the jobs are and look at areas outside your comfort zone, whether they are 50 or 1500 miles away. Regardless of where you work, you will be spending the majority of your time behind a desk so that the scenery won’t matter.
Network and Talk to Everyone – Every person you speak to could know of an opportunity and become your advocate. Reach out to your professors and former employers, join your local bar association, become active on a committee and take CLE courses in the practice area. Join your alumni association and attend all upcoming undergraduate and law school functions. Part of your networking strategy should also be to reach out to a recruiter who specializes in legal placements. Creating these relationships now will serve you well into your career.
Utilize the Career Services Office– Your school’s Career Services Offices should be able to provide information and assistance on everything from interview techniques to starting salary ranges. You paid for it, so be sure to take advantage of everything they have to offer!
Clean up your online presence The legal industry is still very conservative. Scour through all of your social media platforms and delete profiles, pictures, and posts that an employer might consider the slightest bit questionable.
Make Sure Your Materials Are Perfect – Attorneys are supposed to be detail-oriented and meticulous in handling client matters. This same attention to detail must extend to your resume, emails and professional documents. A typo or grammatical error reflects poorly on your competence, and you may be eliminated due to this alone. It is a good idea to have an outside company review your application materials.
Volunteer. If you have time on your hands, volunteering is a powerful way to demonstrate your passion for the law. Look for a law-related volunteering opportunity with responsibility, since that will increase your marketability.
Consider document review or contract attorney positions – For a newly minted attorney, contract work or document review can be a launching board for gaining experience and getting to know a firm’s culture. A legal staffing professional can help navigate the contract opportunities available for new graduates.
Do not take a non-law job – If you give up and take a non-attorney position, trying to reenter the field will be tough. Not only will you be competing with more experienced attorneys, but also a whole new crop of enthusiastic graduates. Your chance of securing a full-time position at a law firm declines precipitously with every day you spend outside the field.
Let the experts at Colliers Legal Search help you put your best foot forward. From the initial contact to the final interview, we work with our candidates every step of the way. We are a full-service legal staffing company that specializes in placing well-credentialed partners, associates and legal professionals at every level in law firms and corporations.