Tiffany Farber is a solo practitioner who has been practicing law since 2008. As someone who has been through transition in her career, she understands the challenges lawyers in this situation face.
Traditional job searching gets old fast. Here are some quick tips for tapping resources you may not have thought of before.
Alumni: Contact your law school and ask for a list of alumni in your geographical area who practice in areas of law you are interested in. People write this method off as pointless, but they shouldn’t. Alumni who are willing to give of their time are clearly helpful people by nature. If they had no interest in helping out, their names wouldn’t be on the list. If you are shy, it’s easier to connect with someone who walked the same halls and had the same professors as you. The truth is that folks have more of an interest in helping people they feel camaraderie with. You already have a leg up with someone who proudly graduated from the same school as you, why not use that resource?
Become and independent contractor: If you have malpractice insurance, and you are willing to work at a relatively low hourly rate, you can work as an independent contractor for another attorney. This is a great way to develop relationships with attorneys who already have established a practice. By doing this, you can prove yourself as a reliable and competent attorney. Not only do you get great legal experience doing this, but you just may land yourself a job with one of the attorneys. If they have a successful practice, and more work than they can handle, they may bring you on as an associate.
Work with legal recruiters: Legal recruiters don’t traditionally charge to work with you. Although the market is tight right now, I have been told by several recruiters that it is picking up. Different recruiters work with different types of candidates. Some of them place candidates permanently and some of them place candidates in short term or temporary jobs. Once you are hired, recruiters get paid by the firm that hires you. In my opinion, it can’t hurt to try working with one. Many of them are very dedicated and provide feedback about your resume.
Get to know someone who works at the agency or firm you are interested in. The truth is, jobs open up all the time. People move away, they get promoted, they leave to be with their families or they change careers. Sometimes you have to be patient with this particular tip, but if someone gets to know you and sees you as someone who can be trusted, they may recommend you as their replacement when they leave. When I was a first-year law student, I met an attorney who worked at an organization I was extremely interested in. At the time I met him, he had chosen his interns for the summer. I was really dedicated to working with the organization, so I kept up with him. We developed a good rapport, and by the time next summer rolled around, I had an internship there. It was fantastic, and I still keep in touch with that attorney today. Remember, the best job seekers cultivate important relationships in the process of job hunting.