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How Can an Average Law Student with Some Job Experience Find Entry-level Positions?

published May 21, 2015

By Author - LawCrossing

( 29 votes, average: 4.5 out of 5)

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Question:

What advice can you give the "average" student with average grades, some job experience and no law review for finding entry level positions?



How Can an Average Law Student with Some Job Experience Find Entry-level Positions?

 
Answer:

Your question certainly is not without merit but I am a bit confused about your situation. You have asked how an individual with some job experience finds an entry-level job. Why would this be? An associate with some job experience should be beyond entry level, even if you are only in the middle of your first year as an associate. Whatever the case, if you have some job experience, I would advise you to not spend your time on an entry-level search.

The reason I suggest this is because, depending on your experience, it will look like your job was inconsequential if you consider yourself entry-level. I know that sometimes people think that if their job was not with the world’s most impressive firm that they become more marketable if they classify themselves as a raw beginner.

Unfortunately, the candidate pool you will be competing against will be law students who are looking for their first job and quite frankly, with your “average” status, there are people out there who will be far more viable for a raw recruit than you. Even if you had the most stellar academics and credentials, you still are not the most viable candidate for an entry-level job because you are not entry-level!

So, my first suggestion to you is that you should be interviewing for positions that require the type of experience that you have.
 
Now, as for the "average" student with average grades, some job experience and no law review, there are certainly guidelines for your own personal job search.

First of all, you should not expect to get much action from the headhunters. Certainly I would advise you to contact recruiters and to respond to their ads but please do not be put off if they say that they cannot help you.

Generally speaking – and understandably – the client wants the biggest bang for their buck. Therefore, it would seem to me that an average student with average grades from an average law school would not have the best chances with a fee attached to his or her candidacy. With your particular academics, credentials and job history, you probably would be better off contacting the law firms and corporations on your own.

The first place you should contact is your law school career services office. So many of you have written to me and complained that you have not been satisfied with the services – or lack thereof – provided to you by the career services centers. Make sure that you are taking advantage of what they have to offer before you criticize this aid offered to you by your law school. Get to know the people who are staffing this office and listen to the advice and/or suggestions that they will offer to you. They are in constant contact with employers interested in hiring alumni from the law school. Don’t expect miracles from one brief visit to the office. You should be checking in with them frequently.

Next comes the networking. This is time consuming and exhausting, but you want to maximize your job search, don’t you? You need to remember to mention to everyone you speak with that you are on the job market. Go through your address book and chat up those long lost friends from law school. Attend bar association events. Go have a glass of wine at the bar where the lawyers hang out. Get out of the house and network!

Naturally you are going to be sending out resumes while you are networking and visiting your law school’s placement center. Make sure you have a brief but to-the-point cover letter and if you specify a date that you are going to call, make sure that you do so on that precise date.

Check out the ads both in print in the legal paper of record and also online. The only thing that I would caution you against is sending out your resume to a blind ad or to a recruiter without first speaking or meeting with him or her.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that you must do all of the above each and every day until you start setting up a number of interviews. None of these techniques or suggestions will work if you only do them sporadically. I know this seems like a daunting task, but diligence and hard work will eventually bring you the results you seek.

Apply here for entry level attorney jobs in New York City.