13 Feb 7 Tips for Job Hunting After Law School
There is plenty in the news about how the economic downturn has had an adverse effect upon the amount of job openings, and the quality of those job openings, available to graduating law students. Now more than ever, students in their final year of law school must prepare themselves for the notion that there may not be immediate employment available when law school ends. From Generation JD, a blog for young lawyers, comes this set of seven tips to help find a job even in today’s tough market.
- Make sure that in your final year of law school you take practical courses that will prepare you for work as a practicing attorney. Many law schools offer courses that are more esoteric and theory-based for people in their final year of study; these courses are great for legal scholarship but not as helpful in the working world. Err towards the side of practicality and it will help your job prospects.
- Network. Maintain good relationships with fellow students, your professors, and other contacts you meet. Go to every networking function your school offers, join local and national bar associations as a student member and go to their functions. Be interested in what people have to say and make a good first impression. Many job offers come to people through someone they know; the more people you know in your chosen field, the better your chances of getting hired!
- Try to find an internship while still in school. These opportunities can lead to full-time employment after graduation, but even if not they are great networking opportunities and will give you plenty of practical experience upon which to build your career.
- Consider a solo practice or partnering with one of your fellow students. If the job opportunities are slim upon graduation, you can always go into practice for yourself. Working with another student on a practice can help increase your contacts.
- Take CLE (continuing legal education) courses while still in law school—they are often discounted for currently-enrolled law students. These courses will help you with the nitty-gritty of work in the lower tiers of law firms.
- Volunteer. Pro bono work can help you network, give you valuable experience, and may lead to employment opportunities in the future. Think of it as learning on the job, while doing something to help.
- Work supplementary jobs. Don’t be afraid to do temp work for larger firms doing document review. Work with a legal services provider. Anything to pay the bills as you search for your ideal job or build your practice. After all, it’s easier to find a job once you’re already employed than it is if you’ve never been employed in your given field.
While these seven tips are no guarantee for employment after law school, taking them under advisement can put you in a better position for your job search upon graduation.