Lawyers often enjoy a low unemployment rate and increased demand. For example, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says that demand for lawyers will increase by 10% in 2021-2031. That doesn’t mean landing a job after school involves no work. The presence of many qualified fresh graduates means any employer has a lot to pick from. Discover ten tips on how to get a job after law school that’ll put you ahead of your peers.
1. Build Strong and Strategic Professional Relationships
It’s commonly said: “Your network is your net worth.” Your success as an attorney primarily depends on your hard work and smart strategies, but in the job market, employers are more likely to hire people they trust. If you have good relationships with your lecturer and they mention you to a local firm, your search for a job may suddenly halt. Of course, this doesn’t mean you should use people to your advantage.
When you network, you gain access to insider information the public isn’t privy about. Even more, employers will take personalized recommendations with more weight than those coming from anonymous applicants. Besides, if you meet with a potential employer in non-interview setups, you have more capacity to show off your unique skills beyond the limitation of a resume and interviews.
If you want to know how to get a job after law school, you must learn how to network effectively. As a fast, hard rule, focus on building genuine relationships instead of using people to mine job opportunities. A better approach is to offer value, for instance, by sharing articles and insights from the industry.
2. Do Your Best While in Law School
Some people swear by connections as the best way to get ahead in your legal career, but this won’t work if you slack in school and do just enough to get by. Imagine this: A recruiter is looking for a lawyer to help in estate management, and they receive fifty applications. They probably don’t have time to read it all, so they use filters such as G.P.A. and involvement in extra-curricular activities. So attend those classes, study for your exams, and have a little fun.
Employers also value employees who go beyond because it shows determination, perseverance, and attention to detail. Reading late at night to pass all your exams shows you take your responsibilities seriously. If you add other activities, such as publishing articles, you stand out as a professional passionate about legal work. In a cloud of job seekers, your initiative will get you noticed.
If you want to know how to get a job after law school, go the extra mile. But how can you do this? Start by participating in school activities such as law clubs and career events. Also, seek internships while you’re still in school to get practical experience in the legal field. Another good tip is to engage in writing competitions – they help you develop strong communication skills vital to your success as a lawyer.
3. Consider Internships and Volunteer Work
When you’re still young in your career, you can get away with doing free work in exchange for experience and building your CV. So, a good way to know how to get a job after law school is to seek an internship or volunteering opportunity. You may be involved in core legal work, such as working with a local towing company to collect evidence after an accident or writing briefs. The best part is you can still make mistakes and get by because you’re learning.
An internship or volunteer position helps you get a platform for applying theoretical knowledge to real problems. An employer will be more confident hiring someone with internship experience because they don’t have to invest too much time in training. Even better, internships are a great opportunity to gain positive networks, such as professionals who can mention you in a room of opportunities. It’s also a great opportunity to explore your interests and strengths and see where your passion lies.
While internships are a great way to know how to get a job after law school, the wrong opportunity can derail you and make you miss opportunities. Choose companies with a strong reputation in your field so they can reflect positively on your resume. Also, choose companies that will allow you to work hand-in-hand with experienced lawyers because that’s how you’ll learn.
4. Create a Compelling Online Presence
In the modern job market, recruiters use online platforms such as LinkedIn for hiring. A lack of online presence could make you miss out on opportunities or seem out of touch with the real world. LinkedIn is one of the best places to start, but you can also leverage your social media accounts, such as Facebook and Instagram. Proudly share your graduation photos so that your name will come to mind the next time a rental property manager seeks legal counsel.
You can also do legal journalism by starting a podcast, YouTube channel, or website offering high-quality content that positions you as a thought leader. Ensure it’s easy for prospective employers to contact you and get some background information whenever they need it. An online presence also puts you in front of other professionals who may need legal services.
An even more intentional way to establish an online presence is to create a website that features your resume, publications, and thoughts on legal matters. You can design a simple website on a site such as Wix or Squarespace or have someone do it for you at a fee. The good part is in the future, if you start your firm, you can leverage the website for marketing purposes.
5. Research Prospective Employers Thoroughly
Firms, like individuals, love knowing they’re valued in the candidates’ eyes. The easiest way to display this value is to know a little about them. One of the best tips for getting a job after law school is to thoroughly research and understand prospective employers. Do they work with auto repair services or medium-sized businesses? What are their values and areas of focus?
If you don’t research your employers thoroughly, it’ll show in the interviews as vague responses, stammering, or getting surprised at questions. Yet when you know a few important things about the firm, the recruiter will feel more confident about your fit. A good place to start is their website – what do they communicate about their mission, values and brand?. You can also check Glassdoor reviews for employees perspective.
6. Create a Customized CV
The resume is not dead. Almost every professional, from a business broker to a marketing manager, needs it. Yet recruiters receive thousands of applications yearly, so sifting through them is difficult. Make their work easy by only providing the most relevant information.
Organizations such as Stand Out CV have excellent software to create well-designed resumes organized in an easy way for recruiters to see. You can also work with a career coach to write resumes that get employers reading and hiring you. So if you want to know how to get a job after law school, update your resume.
However, job seekers often make the mistake of sending the same generalist resume to all kinds of employers. They don’t take time to custom their CV for law firms that work with different types of clients. Once the recruiter sees a general resume, they’ll prioritize candidates that customize the CV for their company.
7. Upskill in a Specialty Field
If you want to know how to get a job after law school, be a specialist. In almost any field, specialists earn more than generalists because they can solve problems better. Internships and volunteer experience can help you direct your focus on a few areas of interest. For example, you can intern in a law firm as a DWI lawyer.
You don’t have to super-specialize so early in your career, but you can add skills in specific areas. For instance, you can upskill in using technology or learn an in-demand skill such as alternative dispute resolution (A.D.R.). Employers are always looking for people who can add value, so if you want to know how to get a job after law school, upskill.
You can find opportunities for upskilling in your law school. Such programs will be short and intensive, but you’ll leave with in-demand skills. Alternatively, you can pick a certification course from a credited law institution. Ensure to highlight your upskilling courses on your resume.
8. Follow-Up After Interviews
One of the mistakes people make when looking for a legal job, for instance, in a bankruptcy law firm, is not following up. Either because of a lack of awareness or the fear of seeming pushy, many go to the interview and wait for a long response. Yellow says the average time-to-hire across industries is 3-4 weeks. Most people often have to wait for that long before receiving a response; in some cases, interviewers don’t give feedback.
After completing an interview, email the interviewer within 24 hours for the interview. Make sure to personalize your message, for instance, by mentioning things that stood out during the interview. Please remember to keep it professional, short, and simple to leave a good impression.
One advantage of this approach is the quick turnaround time. Instead of waiting three or four weeks, you may only wait a week for a response. It also helps show the interviewer your passion and dedication to the job. Even as the recruiter goes through all the interviews, you’ll be on top of their mind.
9. Use Career Services
Another tip on how to get a job after law school is to consider career services. These are the resources and support institutions give their students to help them achieve their professional goals. A good example is the alumni associations and career days for students. These resources can help you craft a killer resume that gets noticed by future employers. Some may also facilitate mock interviews to prepare you for the job market.
So, the next time you hear there’s a workshop, plan to attend because you may learn skills such as negotiation and communication during an interview. You may also hear from real trust lawyers and family attorneys about the job market. Use these events to network with professionals in the field and gain quality contacts. You can also proactively schedule career counseling questions with your law school career office.
One of the biggest advantages of career services is tailored support. You’re not getting general ideas and answers for everyone. Instead, an expert career counselor sits with you to discuss your prospect and guide you toward superior outcomes. Career offices also receive direct job postings from local employers, which saves you the hassle of manually sifting through many job offers.
10. Prepare Adequately for Your Interview
While you could use all the tips on how to get a job after law school, you could miss it if you missed preparing for your interview. Your employer will know you hadn’t prepared well if you give vague responses or show a lack of depth in your knowledge of the firm. Even if you’re a good candidate, preparing for the interview shows readiness, demonstrates a good fit, and boosts your confidence during the interview.
A good place to start is learning more about the firm and the type of clients they serve. Some firms serve auto insurance agents, others criminal offenders, while others serve businesses. Take time to familiarize yourself with the advertised role, such as responsibilities and requirements. You can even tell one of your friends or mentor to do a mockup interview so you can know where to improve.
To bring it all together, legal job marketing may be one of the most rewarding, but it’s also competitive. If you want to work in a reputable legal firm and have multiple prospects seeking to employ you, you must be ready to work. No one strategy is fit for all, which is why this guide with ten tips on how to get a job after law school will help you brainstorm.