J. Nick Augustine, J.D., is the principal of Pro Serve Public Relations, a PR firm for law, finance and small business professionals. Nick is experienced in law, business, entertainment, public relations and his Secured Solo Practice™ agency model. Nick enjoys sharing career growth, strategy and experience with legal job seekers and attorneys in transition.
Last night I attended a bar association holiday party, and I am optimistic about the 2012 job outlook. I attend enough events and talk to enough people to be a reasonably accurate judge of the state of our legal market here in Chicago. I hear people talking about hiring again. I hear people discussing moving and expanding. I hear people who are very busy with new work.
There are a few possible explanations for an increase in law firm hiring. First, news outlets are reporting economic growth, and the law firms might be responding positively to good news. Second, firms hit hard by the rough economy could have restructured their financial and production systems to make room to rehire lost associates. Third, consumers of legal services are likely returning to spending as usual after adjusting their habits. My advice for 2012 is to forget about 2008-through 2011.
Nick’s school of business psychology recognizes that people don’t like to dwell on the negative and are quick to forget unpleasant conditions. Stop singing the blues and start polishing your interview shoes. During recovery times, most business like law firms pursue economic opportunities to recover from recent loss periods. If forward progress is a function of confidence, then reminders of fear are obstacles.
Look, everybody knows that times were bad, but they don’t need to be reminded of loss. If your resume has gaps, fill them with the development, pro bono or other positive activities and highlight your resiliency. There are several people out there who whine and complain about hitting the job market at the wrong time, missing the big opportunity or who are otherwise upset with economic factors beyond their control.
By always focusing on what is within your control, you have the best shot at keeping the positive attitude that hiring partners seek during recovery periods. If my indicators are correct, we should be past the toughest times. I wish us all the best in 2012.