Are you one of those adventurous and determined spirits hell-bent on going to law school? Is it law school or bust for you? When you shore these plans, do your loved ones give you a concerned look like you just joined the army and ask, “are you sure about that?” Do the more blunt people in your life give you a puzzled look and ask, “what’s wrong with you?”
Hope is not lost. As Tameesha Keel, assistant dean of career services at Penn State’s Dickinson Law, opines in a recent Huffington Post article, there has been a shift of attitude from will I get a job to how do I get a job. And she’s got five strategies to back it up.
First, develop practical skills and a specific skill set. Lawyers are increasingly expected to be “practice ready” once they leave campus. Firms don’t want to front the cost of training a newbie anymore. So, Keel’s advice is to decide what type of law you want to do…and then do as much as you can to get very good at it during law school. Take internships and electives. Volunteer. Do whatever you can.
Next, have advanced competencies that extend beyond lawyering. Develop some adept business skills. Or, be able to make great decisions quickly. Find something specific to your personality and exploit it. Keel then suggests keeping up with the ever-changing and ever-complex developments. It’s just more complicated than it used to be, she points out. Technology and the online space convolute things. Know about international and transnational law. And understand how to use technology to enhance your lawyering skills.
The fourth strategy Keel discusses is coming up with an action plan early (like as a 1L) and then following through on that plan. During the first year, this means developing relationships with career services and professors. Then start to seek out mentors. By the second year, Keel suggests developing specialized skills and a network. When the third year rolls around, students should have be reaching out and developing relationships with employers.
Finally, Keel urges students to build a strong network. The more people who know you, the better. It’s those relationships that will most likely lead to a job.
There are still jobs out there. They’ll be tough to get, but they are there. And, according to Keel, the first step to landing one is switching the attitude from will to how.
Source: Huffington Post
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