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Legal Jobs?

Discussion in 'Business, Careers & Education' started by sartorialism, Feb 8, 2011.

  1. javyn

    javyn Senior member

    Messages:
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    Mar 15, 2006
    Have you clerked with any firm while going to school?

    I work at a boutique patent firm and the students who clerk here end up getting snatched up by a big firm rather quickly, or by the USPTO if that's the route they want to go.
     
  2. Alex C

    Alex C Senior member

    Messages:
    138
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    Aug 3, 2010
    Location:
    St. Louis
    at least the economy is picking up for you. I graduated in 2010, had a few interviews, but ultimately started as associate with the small firm I worked for during school.

    You have to make a niche for yourself, what is special about you that no one else has? it might be top 10% or it might be 10 years of construction experience, either way there are way too many middle of the pack liberal arts majors who did so-so in law school and have no special skills

    Parents or important friends count as a skill, btw.


    Big time.

    Only reason I've got a guaranteed job on exit at the firm I'm working for now as a 2L. Don't be afraid to whore yourself out to friends and family. In this market it's sometimes the only way to find something worth doing.

    If you're a member of a church/social group/anything and anyone you know tenuously "knows a lawyer" ask if they'll set up lunch.
     
  3. rohde88

    rohde88 Senior member

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    Jul 19, 2008
    Location:
    Dallas, TX
    Big time.

    Only reason I've got a guaranteed job on exit at the firm I'm working for now as a 2L. Don't be afraid to whore yourself out to friends and family. In this market it's sometimes the only way to find something worth doing.

    If you're a member of a church/social group/anything and anyone you know tenuously "knows a lawyer" ask if they'll set up lunch.


    yep, all great advice. The purpose of lunch isn't necessarily to get a job with that particular lawyer, but to find a lawyer who likes you as a person. They'll go to bat for you and setup other interviews that will lead to a job.
     
  4. Harold falcon

    Harold falcon Senior member

    Messages:
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    Dec 6, 2009
    Location:
    NE PA
    I look back on how I managed to get my legal work following school and there really isn't any lesson I could impart from it. I got my first work in the Public Defender's office following an internship through school, then a job at a small firm from a fellow graduate. Then moved to another firm after responding to a posting on the school's alumni job posting service. Then I got poached by another firm in town after doing well on a high profile case in the area, which is where I'm at now.

    Certainly joining the local bar association and developing connections with other attorneys is a must. Even now, I make it a policy not to "dick around" other attorneys in the area. I'm very happy where I'm working but you never know what will happen in the future, and I'd rather face a market with firms of attorneys who respect me than attorneys who hold a grudge. I'm amazed at the number of attorneys who do act like dicks in some attempt to get one over. Do they just expect others to forget how they behaved? People can hold grudges a good long time, and you've got thirty or forty years to work and you'll probably run into the same people over and over again.

    I'm rambling, but good luck.
     
  5. VaderDave

    VaderDave Senior member

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    Don't forget about allied professionals. If you want to do estate work or tax or business law, talk to CPAs and financial planners--they usually know and refer work to attorneys who might be hiring. Interested in litigation or personal injury? Talk to chiropractors or physicians or insurance agents. All these people tend to know and refer work to attorneys. If you work on building a network of allied professionals, they can point you towards jobs, and eventually they may send referrals to you directly, which is also extremely valuable.
     
  6. Zobo

    Zobo New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2011
    Try the following places:

    * Cravath, Swaine & Moore
    * Davis Polk & Wardwell
    * Latham & Watkins
    * Sullivan & Cromwell
    * White & Case
    * Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton
    * Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz

    ...and of course, the crowd favourite and pioneer of the poison pill

    * Skadden Arps

    Good luck!
     
  7. Matt

    Matt Senior member

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    Jan 14, 2005
    Location:
    Sunny Saigon
    Don't forget about allied professionals. If you want to do estate work or tax or business law, talk to CPAs and financial planners--they usually know and refer work to attorneys who might be hiring. Interested in litigation or personal injury? Talk to chiropractors or physicians or insurance agents. All these people tend to know and refer work to attorneys. If you work on building a network of allied professionals, they can point you towards jobs, and eventually they may send referrals to you directly, which is also extremely valuable.

    i know nothing about law, but think this is basically sound advice for any job seeker. Your network begets opportunities.
     
  8. Meis

    Meis Senior member

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    Location:
    Chicago
    I was asking because (i) I was curious whether you would be able to bring anything to the table to those employers in terms of being able to hit the ground running, and (ii) was going to ask whether you've asked your former employers re: opportunities upon graduation.

    To the first part - I've never really understood that. With a few exceptions (states att. etc), you generally aren't allowed to do much of anything as a law student, especially anything that would really be helpful in a job once you graduate. Same goes for legal volunteering. IME the work you can do in law school really isn't going to do much to "help you hit the ground running."

    at least the economy is picking up for you. I graduated in 2010, had a few interviews, but ultimately started as associate with the small firm I worked for during school.

    Parents or important friends count as a skill, btw.


    You actually had it pretty well. I knew almost no one who had a job upon graduating, and a large chunk of the people I graduated with are still without work (myself included).
    And second part is definitely true. Actually its probably the best "skill" you can have.

    Also-
    Anyone have any suggestions as far as alternative jobs? I've been looking into it lately, mostly jobs relating to contracts and other transactional work (was my focus in law school) with little luck. Most are looking for experience that I have no way of getting...
     
  9. yerfdog

    yerfdog Senior member

    Messages:
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    Sep 23, 2006
    An "alternative job" I was able to get w/just my law degree and no experience, and do for 1.5 years until I finally got a real lawyer job, was as a Contract Specialist w/the government. I think DCMA has a Chicago office that is probably still hiring despite all the hiring freezes, etc. On the other hand, these jobs will not help you get a "real" lawyer job aside from getting your foot in the door with a government agency (or a big defense contractor, possibly). It paid the bills but was not exciting and definitely did not make much use of my law degree.
     
  10. randomkoreandude

    randomkoreandude Senior member

    Messages:
    8,061
    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2008
    Location:
    DC
    Try the following places:

    * Cravath, Swaine & Moore
    * Davis Polk & Wardwell
    * Latham & Watkins
    * Sullivan & Cromwell
    * White & Case
    * Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton
    * Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz

    ...and of course, the crowd favourite and pioneer of the poison pill

    * Skadden Arps

    Good luck!


    lol worst 1st post ever
     
  11. aravenel

    aravenel Senior member

    Messages:
    5,624
    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2006
    Location:
    New York City
    lol worst 1st post ever

    +1. I was trying to decide whether or not he was trolling...
     
  12. Eponym

    Eponym Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    58
    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2011
    Location:
    Midwest
    Please post job-search tips for starting attorneys. I'm keeping my question open-ended because I'm open to all suggestions and advice. This market forces me to be open minded about my options. Fire away...

    I wish I could offer better advice, but I joined my firm under the traditional model of summer then offer. Needless to say, the market has changed significantly since then. Still, other posters have given some great advice in this thread already, and it's worth repeating:
    -Network with other attorneys and develop contacts through family as much as possible. Your resume tells a potential employer that you did a great job in contracts and tax, but a personal referral tells them you are trustworthy. Nepotism is alive and well in this profession - embrace it if you can.
    -Get as much practical experience as possible. An employer will want to see that you can hit the ground running with practical skills. The learning curve is huge for a new lawyer. Do what you can to stay ahead of it.
    -Find a niche and have clear goals and aspirations. There are hundreds of raw new lawyers running around out there. The less you look like them, the more you will stand out.
    -Listen to everything Zobo said. He knows all.

    Best of luck. It may look bleak out there, but you'll land on your feet
     
  13. Unfashionable

    Unfashionable Member

    Messages:
    18
    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2011
    lol worst 1st post ever
    +1 Ha! No trolling there...no way.
     
  14. airportlobby

    airportlobby Senior member

    Messages:
    1,625
    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2007
    You have to rely on every lawyer you know. If there is a job out there you want, start emailing all the attorneys you've done projects for in clerkships or internships, or any professors you've had that you think might be able to help you. It's kind of unpleasant, but it's what recent grads without a clear trajectory have to do. You never know which attorney that you performed some small task for will have a connection and a kind word for you.

    Until then, keep working as much as possible in the field. Take on underpaying contract or part-time gigs, especially if you will meet established attorneys. Often, you can work for Legal Aid, etc., doing things like case intake. Volunteer if necessary (pro bono divorces, etc. You'll stay in the game, meet lawyers, and get a little courtroom experience, which can serve to impress at big firms where only 4th year associates see any action). Just plan of doing as much legal work as possible and meeting as many lawyers as possible. This is really key. It's the people who give up early and work outside the law that never recover.
     
  15. JoelF

    JoelF Senior member

    Messages:
    1,459
    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2007
    Location:
    MA & NYC
    Here's a thought, just find a niche and start a practice. Not the easiest route but you'll probably find some clients somewhere and learn as you go. For a couple years I took time off from real life and lived in Florida, eventually got bored of not working and took the bar down there. My Spanish is good and so I took out some Spanish language ads for business law. The clients showed up in droves, most of it was pure garbage but there were a couple interesting cases and I even made a little money. My background at that point was pure corp biglaw but when some civil litigation came in I found some young guy to co-counsel in state court and started to figure that stuff out. Has nothing to do with what I do now but I definitely learned a fuckload from the experience.
     
  16. Zobo

    Zobo New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2011
    Get out whilst you still can...

    Based on my 3 years as an associate at Davis Polk in NY, and now 2 years at Slaughter and May in London, I'd say that if you want money, go and be an investment banker, if you want a good life, go "work" for government. The law is a place for suckers.
     
  17. sartorialism

    sartorialism Senior member

    Messages:
    1,065
    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2008
    Location:
    New York
    Sorry that I've been neglecting this post. Thanks for all the wonderful advice, people. I'm still jobless....

    I am an alumnus of two very large, AmLaw 100 firms, and now am one of two partners at a very small firm. For the smaller firms, they really like people who can do things in-house that the firm normally outsources. You could get your foot in the door and quickly make yourself indispensable. The kinds of things I am thinking about would include, able to create and maintain a blog, able to update website, able to do some basic optimization, able to write press releases, able to write or ghost-write articles. Any high tech skills that you bring to the table will tend to make you a valuable get, especially if the firm is comprised of techno-phobes. Good luck!

    Mark


    While writing press releases and ghostwriting are on my resume, I never thought of adding blogging. I did blog for a while, but it was a personal blog. Not personal in the sense that it was private"”it had about a thousand+ followers"”but in the sense that it was about my personal reflections, insights, thoughts, observations, commentary, etc. on every aspect of life. I wouldn't want to add that to my resume because I would NEVER want any employer to ask me if they could have a look at the blog...

    Have you clerked with any firm while going to school?

    I work at a boutique patent firm and the students who clerk here end up getting snatched up by a big firm rather quickly, or by the USPTO if that's the route they want to go.


    Yes. In fact, I worked not at one but at TWO patent litigation boutiques! I loved the work, but I didn't receive an offer because I have no science background. None at all.

    Try the following places:

    * Cravath, Swaine & Moore
    * Davis Polk & Wardwell
    * Latham & Watkins
    * Sullivan & Cromwell
    * White & Case
    * Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton
    * Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz

    ...and of course, the crowd favourite and pioneer of the poison pill

    * Skadden Arps

    Good luck!


    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] (But thanks for the good wishes! [​IMG] )

    Get out whilst you still can...

    Based on my 3 years as an associate at Davis Polk in NY, and now 2 years at Slaughter and May in London, I'd say that if you want money, go and be an investment banker, if you want a good life, go "work" for government. The law is a place for suckers.


    Yeah, a week before my last class ever in law school... Though it would be funny if I decided to drop out right now.
     
  18. Big A

    Big A Senior member

    Messages:
    2,112
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    Jan 24, 2008
    Location:
    At your house, when you're not there
    I am an alumnus of two very large, AmLaw 100 firms, and now am one of two partners at a very small firm. For the smaller firms, they really like people who can do things in-house that the firm normally outsources. You could get your foot in the door and quickly make yourself indispensable. The kinds of things I am thinking about would include, able to create and maintain a blog, able to update website, able to do some basic optimization, able to write press releases, able to write or ghost-write articles. Any high tech skills that you bring to the table will tend to make you a valuable get, especially if the firm is comprised of techno-phobes. Good luck! Mark
    This is good advice. Also, why not hang a damn shingle and go it alone? Hustling for clients is no harder than hustling for a job. Pick an area you like, go to some CLEs to learn & to meet someone willing to answer stupid questions that come up (almost any lawyer is happy to help, even if you are really just helping your future competition), and market!
     
  19. Big A

    Big A Senior member

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    Jan 24, 2008
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    At your house, when you're not there
    P.S. - BigLaw generally sucks ass. There are benefits to working there, but in the end it isn't worth it.
     
  20. Grenadier

    Grenadier Senior member

    Messages:
    693
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    Mar 23, 2009
    Location:
    Phoenix, Arizona
    This may sound like heresy here, but try hitting up insurance defense firms. They're the only firms doing any serious hiring because litigation, particularly litigation paid for by an insurance company, has not appreciably slacked off during the recession. If anything, it has increased.

    It worked for me.
     

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