Now that you’ve graduated from law school, you’re probably eager to set off on your career. Many of your friends might have already landed their first big job in prestigious firms. If you haven’t, as yet, know that there will always be a demand for good lawyers.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the law sphere had 813,900 job openings in 2019, with a median salary of $122,960 per year. The agency also reports a 4% projected increase in the number of positions in the coming years. So, read ahead for a practical guide of how to snag the best posts.
Connect with the People in Your Network
Networking with the people you know is the best way to get started. Reach out to the connections you made in the last three years during law school and contact them for possible job openings. If you’ve chosen the specialty where you wish to practice, join groups as a member of the American Bar Association. You’ll get access to information sources like newsletters, teleconferences, and webinars that can help expand your knowledge and expertise. Hone your skills by participating in CLEs and other programs developed by experts in your targeted specialty areas.
Tap into Your Law School Resources
Law schools typically have career centers and counselors to assist students, connecting them to services that can help them get jobs. Tap into available resources like mock interviews, cover letter reviews, and critiques that will examine your resume and figure out how to present your qualifications in the best light. If you’re in contact with any of your professors, reach out for information about jobs.
Consider joining the school alumni association and take part in any programs and events they organize. Interacting with alumni will give you valuable insights into the arena and possibly, directions on how to land the jobs you want. Many law firms, organizations, and companies hire candidates straight out of law school, so you may just find the perfect opportunity.
Contact All Other Sources
Now that you have the necessary qualifications under your belt, now is a good time to contact the firms, non-profits, or any other agencies where you interned. Contact your bosses and supervisors for recommendations and opportunities where you can apply.
Family friends, distant relatives, and acquaintances - get in touch with anyone in the law arena. Most people may not be able to help, but a tip or some info you get might prove invaluable in landing your dream job. Maybe your family friend who does corporate law in Montana will know a firm that’s looking for a new criminal defense lawyer in Florida.
Sign Up with Professional Job Sites
Check online, and you’ll come across several job sites like Simply Hired, Glassdoor, and LinkedIn that post new opportunities every day. Several government sites have positions for attorneys in different departments. Match your skills to the requirements and submit applications. For instance, in the US Attorney’s office, as a Clerk in the US District Court, or Attorney in the Office of the Counselor to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner. Also, try social netter and Facebook by searching for relevant keywords like “legal jobs” and “law hiring.”
Use the Interim Time to Advance Your Skills
Applying for positions, giving interviews, and scouting for good opportunities takes time. It is not uncommon for law school grads to search for a year or more before finding the perfect job. Use this time to advance your skills and build experience levels. Find temporary jobs like law firms requiring lawyers trained in sentencing vocabulary to review documents or draft motions. Volunteering for pro bono work is great for the experience and looks good on your resume. You could also work as an attorney, grading essays for bar prep courses.
Temporary positions and projects will help build a resume, which will raise your chances of getting your preferred job. Many employers are more interested in the experience levels you have. Further, you’ll develop an overview of the fields that better match your interest and skills. Above all, you’ll create a network of connections and references that help in the job search.
Keep an Open Mind When Looking for Openings
Most law school grads step into the job market with hopes of working in some unique field or have an avid interest in a particular law specialty. You might want to prepare for the possibility that you may not get your dream position right away. Accept the next best thing that comes your way as long as the work lays the groundwork for your chosen field down the line.
Applying to jobs where you can work under the training and supervision of expert lawyers is a great career move for advancing your expertise. Also, being open to relocating to a different geographical location widens your prospects. Do keep in mind that many states require you to have passed the state bar exam or transfer your scores from the law school where you graduated. Above all, sending applications and resumes to multiple companies and law firms raises your chances of getting a good position.
Searching for a job after graduating from law school can be an exciting though stressful journey. You will be able to find the right opportunity. It’s just that the searching process takes time. Keep an open mind and look for help wherever you can find it. You have a lucrative career ahead of you.