Thursday, March 28, 2013

Job Search Outside OCI: Spring Break Edition

by Susan Gainen

The first week of March is a defining moment for thousands of law students because even the most optimistic know that they are not likely to get a job through large firm OCI. Their resumes were not hidden under a stray file and the doors are finally closed.

Small and medium sized firms

Which is not to say that there won’t be job postings and some interviews hosted on campus before the end of the school year. April is a busy month for hiring because lawyers who are no longer focused on the law school calendar realize that summer is coming and that they ought to start thinking about hiring law clerks.

Are they clueless? No. After graduation, the law school calendar becomes a distant memory that is supplanted by their kids' academic and activity calendars and professional activities. Summer camp registration often triggers the "need a law clerk" response, hence the wave of recruiting that happens in April and May.

Public Interest/Public Service

If you are on a public interest job hunt, you probably have mathematical certainty about the financial situation of the agencies that you have targeted. If not, why not? There is no point in hanging on for a paid position when none can possibly emerge. If the agency has no funds, you have been unsuccessful in your application for funding, and you cannot work for free, it is time to make Plan B, which includes Building A Network in related fields.

Read full article here.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Guide to Women's Basic Suiting

It can be tricky for women to find a great interview suit — where to start?
A General Note on Women’s Interview Suits: If you are interviewing for a conservative job (law, investment banking, etc.), the whole point is that your brain is what the interviewer is interested in — not your fashion sense. Your resume and your words should speak louder than your clothes, and to that end, the entire goal of the interview outfit should be to make sure that it doesn’t distract the interviewer. Show personality through your words, not your clothes. (Pictured: Theory ‘Gabe B – Tailor’ Jacket, available at Nordstrom for $375.)

What color suit should you get? Most people will tell you that a navy suit or a dark charcoal suit is the way to go, if only because both colors are less severe than black. Personally, I think a black suit is fine as well — and if you’re on a budget, it’s easier to break the suit into separates once you’re working. If you’re only buying one or two suits, though, do your best to avoid pinstripes — they tend to be more memorable, harder to accessorize, and the pieces tend to be harder to wear as separates. (If you do end up buying one, though, check out our tips on how to wear a pinstriped suit.)

What to wear beneath the suit? From a practical perspective, sleeves are a good thing — even if it’s a short-sleeved silk sweater rather than a camisole or “shell.” This will help you extend the number of wears before you have to dryclean it (and you shouldn’t have to dryclean your suit that often). Otherwise, for an interview you want something that isn’t too fussy — a white, blue or pink button-down can be great, provided there is no gaping. (Check out our Guide to the Best Tops under Suits.) A short-sleeved silk sweater can be great (like those made by August Silkicon; you can also occasionally find them at Banana Republic, Talbots, and Ann Taylor), or even a silk jersey t-shirt can be fine provided that it looks like new and is opaque enough. While prints are acceptable, the safest way to play it is probably to go with a solid color that flatters your skintone. (In fact, while a white blouse with a black suit is fine, it sometimes has just a hint of “I might be a waiter — or a hired killer” look about it with women — so be warned.) Some people think a square neck is the best look of all with suits, other prefer to wear blouses beneath their suits. In terms of what colors to wear with your suit, for an interview it’s probably best to stick with classics (white, black, or pastels like blue, pink, or lavender).

See full article here.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

3 Good Reasons To Spend More Time On Your Cover Letter


We’ve all, in some way, made the mistake of not giving our cover letters the attention they deserve. Some of us tend to regurgitate the information in our resume onto the cover letter. While it’s okay – and sometimes even necessary – to include some of the things listed on your resume in your cover letter, creating a carbon copy of your resume with some added fluff words won’t get you anywhere. Here are some reasons why you need to spend more time on your cover letter:

Writing A Generic Cover Letter Will Label You As A Generic Employee

Not spending enough time on your cover letter can lead to a very generic one – and the last thing you want to come off as is generic. According to career writer and blogger, Alison Green, it’s important to proofread your cover letter, even if you think it is “perfectly crafted.” Chances are your cover letter might have some common phrases like: “I’m hard working and a great communicator,” “Dear sir or madam,” or even “I meet the requirements for the position.”

See full article here.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Leverage Your Judicial Clerkship for a Successful Private Sector Career: Lists to Keep

If you are doing a judicial clerkship following graduation, here are some things to keep track of to help you in your post clerkship job search:
by Christine Schleppegrell
Writing Samples: maintain a folder on your desktop with bench notes and write ups* that showcase your research skills and analytical abilities. While your appointing judge may publish opinions that incorporate your research, excerpts from published decisions are obviously not appropriate writing samples. However, it is appropriate for the judge to guide your research on a given topic. Depending on the appointing judge, an example of your own work may be a draft of the published opinion that is entirely your own work and does not incorporate any of the judge’s changes.
If you are clerking in a specialty court such as Tax Court or Bankruptcy Court, but are targeting firms with a general business litigation practice, try using a writing sample from a trial/adversary proceeding or bench memo. It is important to prepare writing samples in various categories to demonstrate that you are versatile and can easily apply what you have learned in chambers to private practice litigation. Failing to present your experience in a broad light could make it difficult for you to convince interviewers that you have what it takes to hit the ground running in a civil litigation practice. It is best to anticipate such skepticism on the part of interviewers, prepare a response, and provide supporting evidence (writing samples).

Monday, March 11, 2013

Five easy ways to use LinkedIn for your job search

A lot of students would like to make better use of LinkedIn, but are not sure how to do so. They sometimes doubt that they can actually get a job from it. Well, the good news is, they might.

I’ve been hearing more stories lately from students and graduates who found a job or at least a great lead from LinkedIn. According to a recent story in the New York Times, many companies are increasingly relying on internal candidate referrals, who utilize their LinkedIn networks, rather than job web sites.

“The trend, experts say, has been amplified since the end of the recession by a tight job market and by employee networks on LinkedIn and Facebook, which can help employers find candidates more quickly and bypass reams of applications from job search sites like,” the article said.
Here are a few simple ways to start to get LinkedIn to work for you:

1. Find an “In” to the HR Department
If you are applying to a large company or firm’s HR department, look to see if any of your connections, even remote ones, are part of the organization. I have found that people are often more than willing to forward your resume internally to their HR department for you, or walk a copy of your resume to the HR department. I’ve seen that little “push” be sufficient to get candidates called in for an interview.

2. Complete your Full Profile
According to the LinkedIn learning center, users who complete their full profile are up to 40 times more likely to hear about opportunities from Linked In, than those who don’t. So think about spending a rainy Saturday filling in the incomplete parts of your profile.

See full article here.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Law Students Should Hang Out with Judges

If you’re in law school (or recently graduated) you should find a way to hang out with judges while they work. The benefits are off the charts, and it’s pretty fun (at least some of the time). You’ll learn more, and more of value, spending time with a trial court judge than doing pretty much anything else.

For some lawyers, trial courts are a lot like the end zone in football—the place where you either win or lose the game. But for most lawyers, trial courts are the place you’ll do almost anything to avoid visiting. Either way, much of a lawyer’s time is spent thinking about how an issue might be handled in a trial court. That’s why spending time there, and getting inside judges’ heads, is so worthwhile.

Why Hang Out With Judges?

Spending time with trial court judges, whether as a judicial clerk, extern, intern, or what-have-you, and helping them do their work, allows you to see how the law really works (unlike what you learn in law school, which is taught mostly by people who either never spent a day in court or haven’t been in court for a long time). At the trial court level, judges are usually extraordinarily busy. Their schedule (depending on where they serve) can vary wildly in terms of both the types of cases they hear and the kind of lawyers that appear. So the judge relies a lot on her clerk, staff, and often on law students earning credits for helping out.

Not every judge is brilliant, but every judge’s idea of what quality lawyering is matters to quite a few lawyers. In chambers, you’ll learn a ton about what makes for good and bad lawyering. Sometimes the judge will tell you directly, but often you’ll hear it from court staff. (Also, knowing court staff is a big advantage.)

See full article here.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Practice Areas That Are Hiring

by Hillary Mantis

I’m getting tired of all the bad news, aren’t you? The economy is starting to slowly pick up, overall. Surely, some areas of law practice are starting to grow, right?

I recently asked an expert on the legal job market this question. Carmen Grossman, Partner and Managing Director of the Law Firm Management Group at Major, Lindsay & Africa, a nationwide legal recruitment firm said she has been seeing hiring recently in the following practice areas:

Real Estate
Real estate is becoming “red hot,” according to Grossman. That’s certainly nice to hear after the long stretch where it was not so hot.

Corporate is also busy, Grossman said. There has been a general upswing in transactional work.

See full list here.