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10 Ways to Get Your First Job Out of Law School

Getting nervous yet?
You should be.
Despite positive stats occasionally trickling into the news, legal hiring is generally flat. If you’re seeking a full-time job, the ABA reports a 57% hiring rate. With average tuition debt hovering around $140,000, you just can’t take a part-time or temp gig and hope it leads to full-time, reputable work.
A decade ago, jobs were plentiful. You just needed to be smarter than the next guy. Even if you were a straggler, you could always cozy up to someone important (or marry well). But smarts only take you so far. Now, landing a job requires the right pedigree, experience, connections, mindset, and strategy (and not necessarily in that order).  And your prospects have changed: You start networking and planning after the first semester… of your first year. By the time you’re hired, you’re expected to be a finished product who can hit the ground running. This is definitely not your father’s law school!
So how can you get a step up on your classmates? In a recent column with JD Journal (which originally appeared in Law Crossing), an anonymous writer shared ten tips for law students (and underemployed attorneys) to make themselves more attractive candidates. Here is some of the advice:
* “Be Very Flexible Geographically: For many attorneys, the fact of the matter is that there aren’t going to be tons of opportunities in their current market. Instead of remaining unemployed, it’s important to look at other locations throughout the country in order to ascertain which places have firms that are growing and thus more likely to be hiring. Every attorney is marketable in some area—the attorney just has to figure out where.”
* “Be Enthusiastic and Make People Feel Important: Many recent graduates are either too opinionated or overly pessimistic. When an attorney has a negative attitude going into a job interview, it’s very likely that the interviewer will pick up on it. It’s extremely important to be enthusiastic in every interview and make the interviewer feel like the attorney really wants the job. The trick is to go into the interview with the mentality that the prospective job is going to pay you a million dollars a year.”
* “You Need to Network and Talk to Everyone You Possibly Can: It is human nature for people to be more inclined to help others that they encounter through a mutual colleague, friend, or family member. Attorneys often underestimate the connections they can make from friends, neighbors, and even their own law schools. Talking to law school deans, networking in community organizations, and connecting through friends and family members have all been extremely successful methods to get hired.”
* “Mail Out Your Resume: Mailing out your resume incessantly is an underestimated and overlooked method. It is a very effective strategy because it demonstrates to the firm that you are interested and that you are proactive. Since many attorneys refrain from mailing their resume to firms, you can make an impression without having to compete against others in a more formal hiring process. Plus, it’s harder to ignore a letter than an email.”
* “Use Career Services and Other Resources at Your Disposal to Get a Job: It is vital for the attorneys being interviewed for a position to know their audience. Different jobs require different interview skills. What an interviewer for a government position wants to hear may be the opposite of what a large defense firm wants to hear from an applicant. Career services employs experienced counselors who can provide you with valuable insights, advice, and possibly even a job referral based on their connections to law firms.”
For additional insights, click on the link below.
Source: JD Journal

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