Getting into law school takes hard work. The same applies to completing it and taking your bar exam, never mind the cost. Then, of course, getting your dream job is the next primary goal, but most positions require mid-level professionals with some experience.
Entry-level opportunities include associate positions in smaller law firms, staff attorneys in organizations or government departments, fellowships, and judicial clerkships. If you are fortunate enough to have legal connections or the right experience level, you could get an offer for an in-house position.
Actionable Tips to Help You Get Your First Legal Job
Read on to find the actionable tips that can help you find the best entry-level opportunities after completing your legal studies.
1. Give Yourself An Edge From Before Completing Law School
Some of your best efforts to get an excellent legal job can start from your years at law school. The obvious one is to ensure you earn a high-grade point average. Also, participate in extracurricular professional activities that will reflect on your CV, like doing pro bono work, publishing articles, or getting a leadership role in a law association.
2. Networking Creates Opportunities
Networking entails putting yourself out there where people can see you, and no, your law school faculty and classmates don’t count. Alumni associations and volunteer programs provide abundant networking opportunities for internships and job shadowing.
In addition, presentations and conferences are much easier and cheaper now because you can attend them online, allowing you to meet attendees in breakout chats. Finally, connect with attorneys or special committees in the area of law that interests you.
3. Seek Recommendations
Besides expanding your network, ask for recommendations from your professors, supervisors, or anywhere else you have worked during your studies. Send out your resume to everyone you can think will recommend you to legal jobs that interest you.
4. Tap into Someone Else’s Network
Building your network does take some time, but don’t waste the opportunity to tap into the existing network of your campus’ service office. They can help you better understand the legal market by telling you about the traditional and non-traditional opportunities in the legal market.
In addition, they are the best people to provide you with information about available internships and can help to schedule interviews. Finally, campus service offices offer invaluable information about how to prepare for an interview, salary expectations, billable hour pricing as a low-entry legal worker, and several other topics about the legal job market.
5. Consider Non-Traditional Positions
Legal career opportunities don’t only entail jobs in legal firms, so think outside the box. Law graduates have options in diverse fields that are law-related. JD Advantage jobs usually require a law degree but not necessarily passing the bar exam. They require analytical thinking, problem-solving, research, writing, client management, negotiation, and relationship-building skills. These positions can range from accounting firms, data privacy specialists, corporate compliance analysts, legal content writers, and other legal service providers.
6. Keep Up With Legal Trends
The legal world is not immune to change and ever-evolving technology. Staying abreast means that you never miss out on any new opportunities. These include new niche areas of law, understanding legal tech tools, and being agile enough to adopt these when needed.
7. Ensure You Keep Doors Open
Your strategy for finding a legal job should remain multi-pronged. First, don’t rely on the campus office alone, and once you leave university, stay in touch with your professors and classmates. Take a proactive role in finding a job by contacting firms and responding to all opportunities from all sources, including LinkedIn and postings on all job sites.
8. Remain Persistent and Stay Positive
As you follow up on leads and participate in interviews, keep a positive attitude and remain persistent, even when rejected. Get feedback from interviews to ensure you step up your game in your following job application.
9. Remain Open to Opportunities
You know what goal you are working toward but remain open to all opportunities. That first offer might not reflect where you are heading, but it gives you a foothold into prospects, especially if it has the proper foundation.
10. Look For Jobs With Training Opportunities
Training and supervision can prove invaluable experience for later work opportunities as you start your legal career. Therefore, apply for jobs that will give you solid foundations to move up within a legal firm or another firm.
11. Be Prepared to Move Elsewhere
If you don’t have an explicit reason to remain in a state or city, look for an opportunity to work outside your geographic location, especially if it comes with benefits like time off to take the bar exam.