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Starting Over: 7 Best Practices for Your Attorney Job Search

published February 05, 2020

By Author - LawCrossing
Published By
( 58 votes, average: 5 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.
The days of the “forever job” are, for the most part, over unless you start your own law firm and manage it very, very carefully…and enjoy doing so. More and more attorneys, at every experience level and in every practice area, find themselves looking for a new job. We’ve all read story after story about law firms merging, law firms closing their doors, and law firms laying off attorneys. Then, there are attorneys who just aren’t a good fit for a law firm’s environment. We certainly can’t forget that an attorney may not be happy with the law firm they work in. Or they may simply want to work in a law firm that offers more opportunity. The real question is, if an attorney must start the job search, what should they do? This article covers 7 best practices for the attorney job search.
Starting Over: 7 Best Practices for Your Attorney Job Search

Ensure You’re in Control of Your Emotions

Depending on why your attorney job search starts, you must ensure that you’re in control of your emotions. If you left the previous law firm on less than favorable terms, it’s important to recognize that how you feel could impact how you behave and even the way you write. Be very careful in how you draft your cover letters and respond to questions during your interviews. Carefully consider whether you should use the previous law firm as a reference. If necessary, work with a legal recruiting firm that specializes in permanent attorney placements to help you locate openings as well as to make initial contact and to review your cover letter. Sometimes a second set of eyes can be very helpful in assisting in removing biased language that could harm you during job search efforts.

If you’re struggling with depression or anxiety and it is interrupting your sleep or your other day-to-day activities, reach out for professional help. Sometimes even one or two talk therapy sessions can help you put things into better perspective so that you can handle the changes you’ve experienced and what’s to come. You may also be able to learn some coping techniques that can ease your symptoms to make it less overwhelming to engage in the attorney job search process.

Be Prepared to Answer Questions from Friends and Family

Even if you’re not forthcoming about this change in life, your friends and family will notice that you’re not working if you’re unemployed for any length of time, particularly if you don’t have any money saved. You need to be prepared with how you’ll answer questions about it. Some people will mean well when they ask. Some won’t. With your friends and family, you can give them as much information as you’d like. If any of your friends and family are in the legal field, you could follow up by asking them to let you know if they hear of any openings.

Review Your Social Media Profiles Before Starting Your Attorney Job Search

The world continues to be a political hotbed. While we certainly have a First Amendment right to say what we’d like, we’re not free from the consequences of saying it. And that includes what we say on social media. Many lawyers who want to provide commentary related to current events sometimes create anonymous accounts (at least, to the best of their ability; sometimes their identities are revealed). Sometimes, lawyers decide to post on social media using their real names. It’s important to make sure that your social media posts are set to be seen only by friends, depending on which social media platforms you use, particularly if the opinions you post may be considered controversial as opposed to being considered a means of advocacy for a position. Potential employers can and do check most social media platforms to see what candidates post. While most may be respectful of reading a differing opinion, they may not be forgiving of a tirade laced with curse words and something seems borderline or totally unethical. They’ll look at it from the perspective of whether they want their law firm associated with your name and your post.

Update Your Resume or CV

There’s a lot of competition for attorney jobs. Since you’re experienced, you’re a lateral hire. Your resume must stand out among all of the others. You must ensure that the most important information on your resume is noticed. While you need to be concise, you need that information to be noticed by using bold text. Think carefully about the format you should use. Put your information in a way that makes the most sense for the law firm that will receive your resume or your CV. Whether you should put your education or work experience first is up to you. If you went to a great law school, list it first if you think it will help.

You do not need to have every single legal job on your resume. The purpose of your resume is to get you the job that you want. Make sure that every resume or CV you send out is tailored for each job. Do not send out the same resume and make each law firm dig for information to determine if you are the right fit for them.

Read your resume or CV to make sure that your verbiage is up-to-date. If you no longer “draft contracts,” change it to “drafted contracts.” Go through your resume or CV with a fine-tooth comb just as you would any document that you created on behalf of a client. Review the entire document. Do not neglect this because this is essentially the first impression that law firms have of your writing ability.

Before you send it off, proofread it. Please.

Draft a Great Basic Cover Letter That Addresses the Needs of the Law Firm

During an attorney job search, one of the most commonly overlooked best practices is in writing the cover letter. Most attorneys write it in a way that sings of their accomplishments. While a cover letter should introduce you and pique the receiver’s interest, it should address how your experience directly addresses the law firm’s needs and helps the firm move closer to their objection.

When you close the cover letter, invite the law firm to contact you if they believe that you’re a good fit and include your contact information.

How to Answer Questions About Why You’re Looking for a New Job During the Interview

During the interview, it’s likely that you’ll be asked about what led to your attorney job search. Keep your answer short. The more you explain why you are where you are, the more awkward it might get. The best thing you can do is prepare in advance. Think about what they may ask you as a follow-up. Be positive in how you answer the original question as well in how you answer any follow-up questions. It says a lot about you. If you answer in a negative fashion, it may mean that you don’t get hired. You can be truthful without being negative or being perceived as mean.

Work with a Legal Recruiter to Polish Your Skills During Your Attorney Job Search

A legal recruiter can help you polish your skills during your attorney job search as well as help you style your resume and review your cover letter. They can help you prepare for interviews and introduce you to law firms. Legal recruiters may be able to help you find job opportunities you didn’t know existed!

published February 05, 2020

By Author - LawCrossing
( 58 votes, average: 5 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.