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How Legal Professionals Can Use the Art of Telephoning

published February 11, 2013

By CEO and Founder - BCG Attorney Search left
Published By
( 3 votes, average: 4.3 out of 5)
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Telephoning is art at best and at worst clumsy hindrance. Telephoning can be effective at various times in the job hunt. Never telephone when a personal appearance is feasible. Flesh impresses more favorably than a disembodied voice, and employers find it more difficult to chase a body out of an office than to disconnect a caller.

Unless, and generally even if, you have a close contact at the firm, write rather than telephone to introduce your interviewing intention. A letter provides some distance of reflection, applies no overbearing pressure, and remains as physical evidence of your thoughts. A letter appears more substantive and deliberate than a call, and is, or should be, more artfully phrased. Your initial entry into the firm's vision should be by post, not wire.

If, three weeks after sending your initial inquiry, you have no response, telephone. Mail service can be delayed, internal administration slow, and decision-making on applications interminable, so three weeks is not undue. In that call, attempt to engage a lawyer on the hiring committee or that lawyer's secretary to inquire about the date of a decision concerning an interview. Your call will not, incidentally, produce any result, but it shows your interest and willingness to plunge into the cold waters of verbal communication.

Your next occasion for telephoning comes at appointment-scheduling time. Again, attempt to contact an attorney, usually the one who signed the letter extending an invitation. The conversation should briefly accomplish scheduling and should not detour at your initiation into other areas. Secretaries can often be helpful but in this situation are an intermediate dodge to be avoided. Unless a secretary definitely is entrusted with the task of appointment-making, try to bring a lawyer to the telephone, and call again if you cannot succeed with that call, unless discouraged expressly from so doing.

Do not telephone with thanks for the firm's courtesy following interviews. Thank-you should appear in letters, as discussed above, and not verbally. A written thank-you implies old-world dignity and respect and can win you a point.

Telephoning can occur when questions about the firm or its lawyers arise after you leave the offices. Often lawyers insist that a call would be most welcome whenever you have even the slightest question concerning the firm. Although it is a privilege seldom exercised because the applicant senses inadequacy in calling about something forgotten in the rush, the call is not inappropriate and can help to re-implant you in a lawyer's mind.

Telephoning can be useful and productive while on an interviewing junket, with time between interviews, or to fill an empty day. Analogous to door-knocking, but more assured because it follows an introductory letter, this call awakens an employer to your presence and immediate availability for a spot visit, without extra cost (except coffee). This type of telephoning is entirely hit-or-miss.

The last situation in which telephoning is useful occurs four responseless weeks after an interview. A letter or call is appropriate, to inquire about your status and the timing of reply. Telephoning is preferable to writing in this instance because it connotes urgency and definite interest. Writing can indicate pro forma automation directed to every encountered organization. The call, especially when adroitly including a veiled warning that your list of offers grows by the day and that a long delay in the firm's response could endanger your acceptance, can have some effect. As always, the appearance and effort count, even if they cause no immediate result.

Telephoning can be an artful foil in your arsenal of appearance. A wisely placed call may produce that lucky combination of pleasant surprise and welcomed admiration for aggressiveness. An ill-placed call can offend and reveal your real sense of nervousness, damaging your opportunity. Call well.

See the following articles for more information:


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 www.LawCrossing.com.

published February 11, 2013

By CEO and Founder - BCG Attorney Search left
( 3 votes, average: 4.3 out of 5)
What do you think about this article? Rate it using the stars above and let us know what you think in the comments below.