After the Bar: How to Find Jobs for Recent Law School Graduates

Written by
Rebecca Smith

Published
Dec 17, 2018

Dec 17, 2018 • by Rebecca Smith

The law school commencement celebration is over now. You spent a fantastic weekend with your family and friends, reminiscing about your journey. Now the cold hard reality sets in for you; you don't know how to get a job at a law firm.

Before you get too gloomy about your future, read this article to learn how to find jobs for recent law school graduates. Follow some of these steps and you'll see your career take flight.

How to Find Jobs for Recent Law School Graduates

Finding that first job is no small task. The competition for entry-level attorney jobs is tough. The market is full of competent graduates who want to apply to the same positions you do.

You can begin your strategic search by following these few steps:

Find Your Niche

Identify your niche market or area of expertise. Maybe you've already started to refine this specialty in law school and picked those courses that help you determine what your focus in the field is going to be.

Picking your niche market will help you narrow your search to the kind of jobs you're looking for. It will also help you be able to research the trends in that field in an organized way.

Research the Law Firms That You Want to Apply To

Once you've identified your niche market, then you can research those firms that practice this type of law. Most law firms maintain a website that you can access to learn about the members of the firm, their practice areas as well as the history of the firm.

For example, the Verhaeghe Law Office of Edmonton Canada website clearly outlines their long list of corporate legal services for those ready to launch a business. This research ahead of time will serve you well during an interview when you can show prospective employers that you've done your homework to get to know more about them.

Networking

Networking is probably the most effective way to getting a job after law school. When you have more contact with people, you're more likely to find someone who knows about w a job lead. Networking can take on many forms, whether it be on professional social media or in person settings.

Some sources for networking opportunities include Joining your local bar association. You can sign up to serve on one of their committees. You can even meet colleagues in the field if you sign up to take continuing legal education (CLE) courses in your field of expertise.

Your law school alma mater can also be a valuable source for networking opportunities. Reconnect with some of your favorite professors who may have connections to help you find jobs out of law school. These educators are in the best spot to know your limitless capabilities.

Get back in touch with your law school's Career Services Office. Most Career Offices have staff dedicated to advising alumni on everything from resume building to interview skills. Many schools may also provide alumni members with access to their job boards.

Be Open to Other Career Paths or Alternative Employment Options

You may think that the only jobs out of law school are with big-name law firms. Positions with law firms can be a rewarding and secure career. But they aren't the only professional law careers out there.

You might consider internship opportunities that will help you to learn and grow in your chosen field. Internships can give you a firsthand glimpse on life inside a particular law office. With this working knowledge in hand, you'll be able to interview with other future employers and know what is expected of their attorneys.

Consider clerkship options as well. A clerkship will allow you to provide direct assistance to a judge. Your duties may include helping make legal determinations or writing opinions on cases before the court.

Clerkships will give you invaluable experience in dealing directly with the justice system. Clerkships can either be at the federal or state level.

Final Steps Towards Finding Jobs Out of Law School

So you've identified your niche and grown your networking circle. You've kept in contact with your law school's career services office and they tipped you off on an open position. What do you do next?

Prepare a Professional Resume

The old saying is true; first impressions are everything. Your resume is a potential employer's first glance at what you can offer.

When these jobs come around, ask for advice or hire a professional resume writer to prepare your resume. If the funds don't allow you to hire this service, be sure to triple-check for grammatical errors or misspelled words.

Expect Some Common Interview Questions

Employers are going to want to know why you chose to apply for their position. Some questions they may ask you include "how did you hear about us?" or "what makes you the best fit for our firm?"

Interview panelists are also going to want to get to know you the person as well. They may ask you to describe your law school accomplishments or explain some of your other work experience. If you've never been on a job interview, ask a friend or family member to go through a mock interview with you.

Wear Your Professional Best

As a representative of the firm, you will be expected to meet with the public, clients and possibly appear in court. You will be expected to represent your firm in the most professional manner possible-all the way down to the clothing you wear. If you don't at least, come to the job interview inappropriate business dress, how can they trust you to represent their firm in the best possible light?

Next Steps

Feel like you're more prepared to find jobs after law school? Use these tips to put your job-hunt strategy in motion today. The future awaits!

Want to know more about how to find jobs for recent law school graduates? Don't forget to check out our careers blog. You'll find all sorts of helpful career information that will help you put your best foot forward.

Research some specialty areas of law to identify your legal niche. Reconnect with the career services office at your law school and check their jobs board. Hire a professional to update your resume with your relevant experience that proves you can hit the ground running.