Category Archives: Uncategorized

How To Connect With Your Bar

Here’s three great tips on how you can better connect with your local bar association.  First, understand how it is organized.  Is it composed of sections with members who practice the same type of law?  Are there also committees responsible for organizing events and planning programs?  Second, reach out to them.  Pick up the phone and call the bar association to ask how you can become a student member (often for a greatly discounted fee) and how you can become involved.  Volunteer to work on a committee or join a practice section.  In addition, many bars have mentoring or intern programs.  Third, attend bar events.  The best way to get to know people in the local legal community is to attend  the monthly luncheon or a social.

What is Commercial Litigation?

Following yesterday’s post, some students asked exactly what commercial litigation is.  Commercial litigation is any type of legal controversy that is related to business matters.  This includes breach of contract claims, employment disputes, class actions, ERISA claims, debt collection suits, franchise issues, tortious interference with contracts, fraud and deceptive trade practices, and a host of other types of claims.  The issues are business in nature, and the clients are small businesses or corporations rather than individuals.  Some firms are devoted entirely to commercial litigation, while others may simply have litigation teams with individual attorneys specializing in commercial litigation.

Rookie Mistakes to Avoid: Bad Attitude

You’ve landed your dream job as a clerk or an associate at a great law firm.  Now that you have secured the position, how do you succeed at the actual job?  For a start, have a positive attitude.  Eagerly accept new assignments and absord as much knowledge as you can.  Embrace every experience and task as a learning opportunity.  Ask questions that reflect your intellectual curiosity.  First impressions are incredibly important, so give an extra 10%!  In upcoming blogs, I will share four more tips for how to be a successful associate or clerk so you can not only land the legal job of your dreams, but have the legal career of your dreams, as well.

One Word for Millennials: Patience

Millennials are accumstomed to a world of instant results through technological innovations, and they bring those expectations to their job searches.  But as any seasoned career services counselor will tell you, things move slowly and deliberately in the job search process.  In part, this is a reflection of how law firms operate.  If you interview on Monday, do not expect the firm to make a hiring decision the next day.  The firm may need to wait until the next regularly scheduled partner’s meeting next month to discuss the matter.  Or perhaps the firm is interviewing other candidates over the next couple of months.  I am astounded when students express outrage at not hearing back from a firm after a mere week or two.  If you are not mature enough to understand the culture of law firms and the fact that the hiring process takes time, you will not fare well in this legal environment.  So start your job search early and be patient!

Check Out Symplicity’s Document Library

Symplicity does more than list job postings.  It also has an entire library of documents that are helpful to your career search.  For example, you can find job search checklists that are fabulous tools for guiding your employment search.  To view the documents, log in to Symplicity and click on “Document Library” on the left margin.

Be A Big Fish In A Small Pond

Networking is often most effective when you are in a small pond.  Focus on events that give more intimate interaction with those attending rather than huge receptions where it is difficult to establish a one-on-one connection with someone else.  The target attorney is more likely to remember you and to spend time chatting with you if you are only one of ten people attending an event, rather than 1,000 at a large reception.  Look for small gatherings sponsored by bar associations, including section breakfasts, small group CLE’s, and sports activities.  Moreover, people are often more relaxed and casual in small groups, so both you and your targets will be more comfortable and likely to make a real connection.

Ray’s Resume Tips: Using the Format Painter

Ray Adams is a fellow Career Services Counselor who has a tremendous amount of knowledge about resumes and formatting in Word.  From time to time, Ray will be a guest blogger to share some of his tips.

Once you set your tab in one location in your document, you do not have to repeat the entire process for all of your current and previous employment.  Use the format Painter!  The Format Painter is a great tool for resumes or any document where you will be doing a lot of formatting and it’s easy to use!  The Format Painter allows you to select a portion of text and copy all of the formatting in that text.  The Format Painter is located under the “Home” tab on the top left of your word toolbar. Click it once and you can “paint” the format once.  Click it twice and you can “paint” the format multiple times.

Ray’s Resume Tips: Setting Tabs For Consistency & Appearance

Ray Adams is a fellow Career Services Counselor who has a tremendous amount of knowledge about resumes and formatting in Word.  From time to time, Ray will be a guest blogger to share some of his tips.

Using Tabs is an easy way to give your resume a clean, organized and consistent appearance.  It is very easy to do and will make some of your other law school projects easier too.

Many resumes I review have the appearance of a tabbed and organized look, but on closer inspection, the preparer “spaced” the text over to give the text a “tabbed look.”  This is problematic for a couple of reasons.  First, if the fort size or font type is changed, on the next line it will be impossible to line up everything exactly the same by only using the space bar.  As a result, the consistency of the format is compromised.  Also, if the user wants to enter more text or set an indent, the spaced text will shift.

Further, if the document is sent to a potential employer in word format and the employer works with paragraph marks in the document, it will be clear to the employer that the preparer does not know how to use Microsoft Word (P.S.—this is why you should ALWAYS send your resume in PDF format).

Example: Setting a tab on your right-hand margin

Instructions

  1. Right-click the area of your document where you would like to insert a tab. When the text box opens up, select “paragraph”
  2. On the bottom left of the text box you will see a selection for “Tabs.”  Click on it
  3. Under “tab stop position” you will want to enter the measurement of your right hand margin.  For example, if you are working with 1” margins, you will want to enter 6.5”.
  4. Next, in the same window below “tab stop position” you will see an “alignment” option.  Click the “right” option.
  5. Now, your cursor should be lined up on your right hand margin and when you type your text it should enter from right to left.