How to Get a Job Straight Out of Law School
Are you fresh out of law school and eager to start your legal career? Then, landing a good job is probably at the top of your list of priorities. Unfortunately, employment opportunities in the legal field have been on the decline for the past few years. However, there are still jobs available for those who are ready to do the extra work and know where and how to find them. Here are a few tips that should help you get a job straight out of law school.
Hone Your Skills
In the past, you first joined a reputable law firm as an apprentice before entering the workforce. Today, however, few firms offer such on-the-job training, as many consider it too expensive. Even so, they still expect you to have the necessary work experience and practical skills when they hire you. So how do you bridge the skills gap?
The answer lies in the experiential learning opportunities that your school offers. These include legal clinics, externships, and other beyond-the-classroom programs. By allowing you to interact with clients and to encounter situations that are common in legal practice, these programs will improve your problem-solving skills. In particular, focus on your future area of expertise.
Change with the Legal Profession
Because the legal landscape changes with time, you must adapt to these changes if you’re to remain relevant. This means understanding how your field of expertise interacts with the overall legal profession both now and in the future. For instance, online retailers who sell their goods at home and abroad must comply with national as well as international regulations.
To adequately represent such clients, even those that are based in rural areas, you must also understand international law and have the ability to research it. With such an extensive legal outlook, you increase your value as an employee and, therefore, your chances of landing a job.
Law students who get a job straight out of school have one character trait in common - proactivity. Like them, don’t wait until after you graduate to hunt for a job. Instead, start your job search months earlier. However, first come up with a solid plan. After identifying an area of interest based on your passion and strengths, talk to your instructors and mentors and listen to their feedback.
While you’re at it, also consult Career Services for ideas. Next, put your plan into action. Besides honing your specialized skills through experiential learning, polish your resume, referrals, and interview skills. Finally, approach potential employers and establish trust.
Create a Strong Network
Although firms like Tully Rinckey are constantly hiring new talent, you’ll not know about it if you don’t have a strong professional network. As you probably know by now, when it comes to job hunting, who you know matters as much as what you know. This is especially true in the legal field where one in two jobs is not openly advertised.
So, while you’re still in law school, attend as many forums, receptions, and seminars as possible. Also, join student committees and associations. In the future, you’ll fall back on the positive relationships that you create during such events.
Even though the legal field is competitive, finding a job after you graduate is still possible. You only need to adapt, to plan, and build a network around you.