Nancy Mackevich Glazer is the manager of Legal Launch LLC. The goal of Legal Launch is to provide uplifting career counseling for 3Ls, recent law school graduates and experienced attorneys. Nancy offers her clients endless ideas and possibilities to help land them the right job in a competitive market. For more information, visit LegalLaunch.net or e-mail Nancy@LegalLaunch.net.
The author dedicates this writing with appreciation to Marianne Deagle, Assistant Dean of Career Services at Loyola University of Chicago School of Law. Without Marianne, this writer/career counselor would never have discovered her real passions in law.
The first thing I ask a lawyer or law student who seeks my help in a job search is whether they have contacted and exhausted all possibilities with the counselors in their law school career office (“OCS”). Actually, I dig further. I also ask them if they have contacted the career counselors from their undergraduate or graduate schools. Career services from all of these institutions should be open to students and alumni, and their help shouldn’t cost a dime.
Your law school career counselor should be your BFF
In fact, I think it is impossible to “exhaust” all possibilities and opportunities with one’s law school or undergrad OCS. An attorney/ law student should be having ongoing conversations with her (a) career counselors, (b) their staffs, (c) their constantly-updated websites, (d) their alumni-bolstered job boards and (e) their alumni databases. (A jobseeker must be sensitive, however, that OCS staff are quite busy in the fall.)
Lest you answer that your OCS is unhelpful … After I cringe, I would respond, “Huh?”
Don’t ever dismiss what the OCS folks can do for you. They are there for you and should be there for you years past your graduation date. Remember, these overworked and finely-tuned- in- to -the-market advisers weren’t the ones who brought on the recession; they didn’t promulgate the rules about your student loans; and they weren’t responsible for the glut of lawyers looking for legal work. They are there, helping those who need it.
As jobseekers well know, all the rules of employment changed in the middle of the recent law school game. The OCS staff is learning and playing by those new rules too.
What can the OCS staff and their resources do for you? Not only does the staff become aware of openings in the market and post those positions, but the team also sees new hiring trends in changing practice areas, and they keep apprised of new hiring models for attorneys.
In addition, your alma mater has a vested interest in YOU. If you look good, so does your law school.
Bottom line — doing what’s best for you
If you badly need a job, you have to do what’s best for you, no doubt. Once you have made use of some of these valuable resources, I suggest you take it even a step further.
A novel thought … Help the OCS when you can; it will come back to you in spades
Your OCS counselors know the market. I suggest that you do what you can to become a part of that office. If you really want to benefit from the ever-alert eyes and ears of the OCS staff, create a relationship that travels a two-way street.
Maybe they need a speaker on a panel who has been out there, volunteering at the Daley Center or accepting ongoing temporary work. Maybe one of your counselors has a son interested in attending your undergraduate university; possibly you can offer her son some first-hand advice.
If you haven’t been utilizing the resources of the OCS in the best way, I suggest that you start now. The more you give, surprise, the more you may receive in return. Once you get to know these folks and they get to know you, perhaps an opportunity with your name on it will land on one of their desks. I’ve seen it happen over and over again.
You may discover that it pays big to remember from where you came …