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How to Increase Your Professional Marketability for Career Success in Law

published March 08, 2023

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BCG Attorney Search is the nation's largest and most geographically diverse recruiting firm specializing exclusively in permanent attorney placements. They currently have more attorney openings, in more practice areas and locations, than any other legal recruiting firm.

Increasing your marketability as a lawyer is an important step for long-term career success. Enhancing your marketability means making yourself more attractive to potential employers and clients, as well as positioning yourself for higher levels of responsibility and higher salaries.

Attorneys can increase their marketability with key strategies. Nearly all jobs seek applicants who are strong communicators. Establishing strong communication skills, such as writing and public speaking, will demonstrate your ability to interact and collaborate with others. Networking is also important for developing connections and relationships, which can lead to job opportunities. Knowing the right people and making sure they know you can open doors for future opportunities.

Joining professional organizations or committees can help demonstrate your professional commitment. By joining, you demonstrate your knowledge of your field and your commitment to staying abreast of the latest developments. Additionally, many organizations offer special events, seminars and conferences that will help you gain additional knowledge.

Writing and publishing are also important components of increasing your marketability. Publishing articles in journals, magazines and trade publications can help you demonstrate your expertise, while writing a book can solidify your position as an authority in your field. Attorneys can also take continuing education classes and seminars to improve their skills and gain more credentials.

Lastly, attorneys should know their strengths and weaknesses and focus on their areas of expertise. Having a niche focus in your practice area and knowing the current trends in the legal field will help you stand out from the competition.

Increasing marketability for attorneys is an ongoing process and requires commitment and dedication. Attorneys can increase their marketability by establishing strong communication skills, networking and connecting with the right people, joining professional organizations, and publishing their work. Knowing their strengths and weaknesses and focusing on their areas of expertise will also help them stand out. By committing to these strategies, attorneys can improve their marketability and advance their careers.

Becoming More Marketable in the Legal Sector

Having a competitive advantage in the legal sector is crucial for success in the job market. With the legal sector becoming increasingly complex, it is more important than ever for lawyers to continuously improve their skills and abilities in order to maximize their marketability. Here are some tips to help lawyers increase their marketability within the legal sector.

Seek Promotion Opportunities

One of the best ways to increase your value in the legal sector is to seek out leadership roles or promotion opportunities. Although these positions typically involve a lot of work and require a higher level of dedication, they can open up new career opportunities and provide additional networking opportunities. Additionally, becoming a leader or supervisor can help to increase one's understanding of the legal industry, and this knowledge can be extremely beneficial in the marketplace.

Gain Experience with Different Types of Clients

Having a wide range of experience with different types of clients is essential for lawyers aiming to increase their marketability. Gaining experience with different types of clients and in various practice areas can help lawyers to build a comprehensive understanding of the legal sector. Additionally, these experiences can be used as a way to demonstrate to potential employers that lawyers are capable of handling a wide range of cases.

Stay Up to Date on Developments in the Legal Profession

Staying up to date with the latest developments in the legal sector is essential for lawyers who want to be successful. Lawyers should make it a point to read legal publications and join professional organizations in order to remain abreast of legal developments. Additionally, lawyers should stay up to date on trends in technology and the legal industry, as these developments can impact the way that lawyers do their job.

As I currently approach my fourth month of unemployment after being laid off from a major firm, I am wondering if there is anything I can do to increase my marketability to law firms? I cannot change my past work experience or my law school credentials, obviously, but is there something else I could do that I am overlooking?

Being out of work is frustrating, for sure, and the feeling that there is nothing you can do to change your current situation probably increases your stress level exponentially. As you said, what's done is done, and you have to focus on the future. We have seen far too many attorneys literally give up on the practice of law entirely after getting laid off during their first few months of practice. In the past several months we have seen attorneys who graduated from Top 25 law schools and worked for a few months at AmLaw 100 law firms before getting laid off become (1) a restaurant hostess, (2) a garbage man, (3) a salesperson in a men's boutique clothing store and (4) a trainee assistant manager of a Pizza store. Nothing is wrong with any of these occupations; however, if these choices were motivated by the perception that no attorney jobs were available, these occupational choices were wrong. More often than not, the attorneys who give up are those coming from the largest and most prestigious firms. Their thoughts run something like "If I cannot practice at a very high level, I do not want to practice at all." We believe this thinking is severely flawed because, as this article will demonstrate, you can find another job if you approach your search in the right manner.

First, you need to think geographically. You are currently living in the worst market in the country. Barring circumstances that tie you to the Seattle region indefinitely, a move to a healthier marketplace will provide you with more available opportunities, which will give you more opportunities for success. One of the strangest phenomena we have ever witnessed is talented attorneys who give up on the practice of law because they refuse to move. Detroit, Michigan used to be one of the largest legal markets in the United States several decades ago and, by today's standards, there are fewer than 10 large law firms there. If attorneys continued to stay there instead of following the jobs, their chances for employment would be significantly reduced. While the change from an industrial-based to an information-based economy is certainly beyond the scope of this article, the fact of the matter is that certain legal markets simply contract at various points in time. Many of these markets never return to their former glory. Who knows if Silicon Valley or Seattle, for that matter, will ever be what they once were. The point is you should not let geography influence your future. You went to law school for a reason and your current geographic location should not be something that you let influence the next 25-plus years of your life.

There are tens of thousands of law firms throughout the United States and the idea that one of them does not have a job waiting for you is an absurd thought. Unfortunately, far too many attorneys accept this thought. Does this really make sense to you? If you have been practicing long enough for a legal recruiter to represent you (usually one year), then you should contact one and let them help you in your search. If not, you should find a way to apply to as many of these law firms as quickly as possible in order to increase your chances of getting hired. While job boards do not traditionally have advertisements for entry level attorneys, you should review as many potential openings as possible. In addition, you might want to investigate using a targeted mailing service to try to apply for positions in your existing market or other markets that interest you. It is extremely unlikely that you will not find a position with an aggressive approach.

Second, if you are just considering the largest, most prestigious firms, you may have to aim a little lower. While we most likely would not have said this in the heyday of the economic boom, at a time when many large firms are severely restricting their hiring, it may make sense for you to consider taking a position at a less prestigious firm. You may come across a smaller firm that might actually be in "growth mode," unlike larger firms in the area that are experiencing financial troubles. While we are not advocating working somewhere that you regard as beneath you, giving smaller-to-midsize firms a chance should not necessarily be considered settling. When the economy does recover, your resume will look a lot better for having worked somewhere than if you were to be unemployed for a few years. It is possible that you will like the different atmosphere of a smaller firm, and perhaps your experience and know-how can even help that firm grow.

Third, you may be able to find immediate employment with the government. Clerkships, often seen as the domain of newly-minted attorneys, can increase any attorney's marketability. More law students are likely to search for a clerkship as first-year associate hiring dwindles, so the competition may be tough, but your experience may impress a judge enough to take you on. Not only will you be working, but you will be learning more about the justice system which can only help when the clerkship ends and you want to seek out a law firm opportunity. In addition, you may be able to locate an opportunity in a local prosecutor's office. In any of these jobs, you will begin to develop the skills of an attorney that you do not necessarily learn during law school.

Fourth, your law school record may be etched in stone, but there is always the opportunity to go back to school and further your education. While LL.M degrees are not for everyone, they have proven to be an asset to some attorneys who can get them in the right areas and at the right schools, especially for those with somewhat unimpressive law school records. Similarly, for intellectual property attorneys, getting an advanced degree in engineering or even one of the natural sciences could help your cause.

In conclusion, while none of these methods are guaranteed to get you a job, anything is worth a shot in dire times. The economy will recover, as it always does, and when that happens, it will be better to have built up some experience and improved your resume than to have sat back and ridden it out. The holy grail of many firm lawyers is partnership at a large firm, and the best way to obtain that is by proving yourself consistently throughout your career, no matter what roadblocks stand in your way.

See the Top 32 Reasons Attorneys Lose Their Jobs Inside of Law Firms to learn some of the most common reasons attorneys are fired or let go from law firms.

Alternative Summary

Harrison is the founder of BCG Attorney Search and several companies in the legal employment space that collectively gets thousands of attorneys jobs each year. Harrison’s writings about attorney careers and placement attract millions of reads each year. Harrison is widely considered the most successful recruiter in the United States and personally places multiple attorneys most weeks. His articles on legal search and placement are read by attorneys, law students and others millions of times per year.

More about Harrison

About LawCrossing

LawCrossing has received tens of thousands of attorneys jobs and has been the leading legal job board in the United States for almost two decades. LawCrossing helps attorneys dramatically improve their careers by locating every legal job opening in the market. Unlike other job sites, LawCrossing consolidates every job in the legal market and posts jobs regardless of whether or not an employer is paying. LawCrossing takes your legal career seriously and understands the legal profession. For more information, please visit

published March 08, 2023

( 164 votes, average: 4.5 out of 5)
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