As the person at the firm responsible for hiring at the firm, I see the cycles of hiring in the legal industry up close. Right now, it’s a tough time to be looking for a job as a newly Called lawyer: there are a lot of other newly Called lawyers looking for a job as well.
Having just completed a successful job search for a new associate position, I have some tips to offer to those still looking for positions:
1. Practice your handshake. I encountered both limp (ick) and really strong (ouch ouch ouch) handshakes. By the time you’re a lawyer, I expect you to have the whole handshake thing figured out.
2. Follow directions. Don’t phone me when the job posting says email your resume. You’re not impressing me. You’re annoying me. I’m not going to intentionally hire someone to annoy me.
3. Research the firm you’re applying to. This should go beyond the firm’s website. Do some digging on cases we argued. Show some interest. We know you’re interviewing at other places, but we’d like to feel important while we’re taking the time to interview you.
4. Don’t lie on your resume. A marathon is not a half-marathon. It matters. Seriously.
5. If you’re interested in the position, send a thank-you email for the interview. This matters more than you think. Over 20 years ago I could not decide between two equally fantastic candidates: I hired the one who emailed the thank-you.
6. Be nice to the reception staff. Odds are they have been told to report back first impressions. Make a bad one with reception, no matter how good the interview goes, it’s is still a knock against you.
7. Take heart, it was hard to find a job back in the early 90s too. When I was called to the bar (1993) it took me over three months of searching for a job. I came home particularly disheartened after one interview that was in response to an application for a Litigation Lawyer, which I had understood was to be an employee, but was in fact a situation where two solicitors wanted a litigator to start their own firm and support their litigation needs.
Thankfully, my then boyfriend, now husband of a zillion years, saw that position for the opportunity it was and when I was offered the opportunity, I took it and Andriessen & Associates, Business Lawyers began.
You will find a position or you will create a position for yourself. You cannot control the job market, you can just control how you present yourself to future employers.
You’ve got this !
Inga B. Andriessen JD