Unpaid interns and fresh graduates are both in the position of having little or no previous work experience. Recruiting them for a law firm can be a bit more challenging than recruiting older lawyers, who usually come with an excellent CV or are highly recommended.
Here are 9 tips for hiring these young legal professionals:
1. Make your law firm attractive
If you have a smaller law firm, you may find that you have difficulties attracting young graduates or unpaid interns. This is because many are getting offers from bigger law firms before they complete college. There are some strategies that you can use to lure fresh graduates to your firm. These include offering them perks and benefits that make your legal company attractive. One such perk is offering them a mobile phone and phone plan – the annual cost is minimal.
Flexible hours are another perk that young graduates and interns find attractive when looking for a firm to join, and many graduates are even willing to take a pay cut. Finally, work on your company brand and its culture and advertise these on social media. Candidates will take notice, finding your law firm attractive to join.
2. Don’t expect an extensive resume
Don’t expect interns or graduates to have an extensive resume with job experience and knowledge of the tools and lingo used by you. Look for other characteristics like intelligence and drive. These characteristics will help them learn quickly and they will soon become invaluable to your team. Look for candidates with excellent results who also participated in other activities while studying, e.g., volunteering, interning, working part-time, or participating in college organizations.
3. Get to know the candidates
Don’t spend hours reviewing resumes. Take the time to interview candidates personally. Ask them questions about their career ambitions, get an idea of their maturity level, and find out why they chose to apply at your legal firm. Find out how ready they are to embrace a legal career, and how they would approach the job if hired.
4. Help them grow
New graduates and interns hardly have any work experience. You should offer them training if you want them to have an immediate impact on your company. Companies that don’t have the time and resources to offer training should rather not hire young legal staff. However, it is sometimes easier, and cheaper, to train a young graduate into someone suitable for your law firm than to hire a more experienced person already set in their ways.
5. Implement a solid interviewing process
Set down a list of characteristics your firm is looking for in an intern or graduate. Intelligence, adaptability, willingness to learn, and a team spirit are some. Sometimes, you may hire an unpaid intern that turns into not so good a fit. Make a note of the traits you didn’t like so you can avoid such recruits in the future.
6. Look for important skills
Legal interns and graduates need some skills like legal research, filing, client assistance, and legal paperwork preparation to carry out their duties. Also look for research skills, communication skills, administrative skills, and any other skills you feel are important for your law firm. These could include a second language, knowledge of serving diverse cultures, etc.
7. Follow compliance for hiring interns and graduates
Many legal firms hire a recent graduate or college student as an intern before making them a full-time employee. These internships must be mutually beneficial. Legal companies must comply with the rules set out by the United States Department of Labor:
- The internship is part of a student’s studies resulting in academic credits.
- Interns must understand they will receive no compensation.
- Interns must receive training related to their field of study.
- Their schedule must accommodate their class schedule.
- The internship ends when the intern completes the company-provided training.
- Interns cannot replace paid, full-time employees.
- Interns expect a paid job on completion of their internship.
8. Make sure to use their technology skills
Most young graduates and interns are active on social media and have the experience to help you engage with clients online. Hiring candidates with this experience can boost the marketing of your firm.
9. Mentorship and its advantages to your law firm
Giving mentorship to a new generation of legal students is very rewarding. As an experienced attorney, you can help young legal graduates or interns learn from their mistakes and successes by providing valued feedback.
Young legal graduates and interns are beneficial to legal firms because they can bring growth and profitability. For these young legal professionals, working in an established law firm enhances their personal and professional experience.