In today’s challenging legal market, employers can afford to be more discriminating, and one of the ways they have done so is by looking for candidates who have the most relevant legal experience. In the past, firms were willing to train associates, but the current culture is one where associates are expected to hit the ground running. Clients are no longer willing to subsidize associate training, and partners can’t afford the cushion they allowed in the past for the learning curve. As such, law firms are seeking attorneys with demonstrated experience in relevant fields. To make yourself more marketable, obtain as much legal experience as possible. The ideal experience will be in a relevant area of law and in the same geographic community. For example, if you plan to practice in Mobile, Alabama upon graduation, then ideally you should have summer work experience there. This is important because it shows that you understand the culture of the market and it reiterates your commitment to that community. If you don’t have any work experience, it is never too late. Look for opportunities on job posting sites such as Symplicity, or create your own opportunity by seeking volunteer experience with a law firm.