Sally Kane writing for About.com has outlined ways to get legal experience during your law studies, or while you are looking for a permanent position upon graduation.
Internships, externships and clinics are a wonderful way to get your feet wet in the legal profession and this experiential learning necessity is much touted by Coastal and the Career Services Department alike. Volunteer positions, both during and after law school, are also great ways to obtain quality experience and the non-profits, public interest organizations and legal aid offices would appreciate the help with tasks that really make a difference in the lives of people and the community. While still in school, extracurricular activities like moot court, writing competitions, writing clinics and more hone your skills that may help you get your foot in the door of legal employers. The more experience you gain during law school can only better prepare you for your practice in the future.
Part-time legal jobs, like file clerks, court filers, data entry clerks and the like may allow you to work in the legal field, or in a particular firm you like until they will consider you for an associate position, if, for example, you are waiting for bar results, or they don’t have an opening. Temping is another method where you may be placed in short-term assignments through a legal staffing agency. Temping is a great way, also, to explore a particular firm and vice versa. Some firms hire temporary employees to recruit permanent staff by testing them out on a trial basis, so keep that option in mind.
Contract jobs are becoming more plentiful in this market as law firms seek ways to reduce costs. In a contract job, you are not considered an “employee” of the firm, but are an independent contractor hired to work on a contract basis. Sometimes, these positions may work as a stepping stone to full-time permanent employment with the firm.
Informational meetings are exactly what they sound like–interviews with attorneys to get information, not jobs. You contact an attorney and ask if he or she can talk to you about a particular practice area, locale to practice in, or merely how he or she got into that field. You are looking for tips, not a job, so the pressure is off both of you.
You first make contact by email or telephone, and ask if you could meet to talk about their practice, or refer to something they wrote or perhaps a case he or she tried. At the end of the meeting, don’t forget to ask the attorney if he could suggest other people you should meet–that way when you call, you can say who referred you, which may lead to another informational meeting. You can also ask the attorney whether it would be okay if you contacted them again down the road if you had more questions.
Be sure to show up on time (not early or late), and show up with good questions. Prepare to be there about 20 minutes, unless your interviewer wants to continue your talk, and always always send a thank you note for their time.
Although this is not a job interview, you are not asking for a job, they are not offering one, and absolutely no resumes are given, there have been many jobs secured down the road after a meeting of this kind. In the future, that attorney may be looking for an associate, or hear of another opportunity he or she may relate to you.
To read more of Jay Shepherd’s column, click here.
Just for the 2Ls!
The Career Services Department presents “The 50 Yard Line,” on October 18, 2012 from 12:00-1:30 in room 365. This interactive presentation is designed to prepare 2Ls (Spring or Fall Admit) for the upcoming summer, their 3L year and beyond. The 50 Yard Line will include: a personal assessment designed to help determine a good area of practice for your personality; a discussion on geographic considerations and where it makes sense for you to take the bar; a presentation on the resources available for your job search; and discussion by a panel of students and a recent graduate on successes and challenges in their career search. Lunch will be provided and CPE Credit (1) approval is pending.
RSVP on Symplicity
Core competency is a set of expectations employers now require about knowledge, capability, behavior, skills and attributes. The practice of law is a profession, but operates on a business model and you must be prepared in many different arenas.
According to Jordan Furlong, a consultant writing for Law21, the necessary and sufficient skill set for attorneys has always included logical reasoning, persuasiveness, analytical ability, attention to detail, sound judgment and writing ability. Not anymore. In addition to the aforementioned skills, today’s lawyer must also possess Collaboration Skills, Project Management Skills, Financial Literacy, Technological Skills, Time Management and perhaps most importantly, Emotional Intelligence.
Learning these core skills will allow you to practice law competently, effectively and competively, and in the world of solo and small firm practice, where there may not be extensive training, you will be expected to show up with these skills.
To read the entire article, click here.
Don’t put off meeting with a Career Services Counselor to help you determine your career interests, map out job search strategies, practice interviewing techniques, and further develop the professional skills you need in the legal community. Remember:
“QUI NON EST HODIE CRAS MINUS APTUS ERIT.” Ovid
“He who is not prepared today will be less so tomorrow.”