Tagged in: Law Schools

Welcome Back

Welcome back from the holidays! We at LawFit hope you enjoyed a wonderful holiday season. Now that you’re back, we are sure you are greeted with anxious 1Ls who have one semester under their belts and are getting offers for summer jobs. 1Ls are especially engaged with career services this time of year because by the time they return from winter break, most of them are deep into their summer job searches and this is the first time in the school year when the job search, rather than navigating law school and grades, is their primary focus.

For law students who came to law school straight through from undergrad, 1L summer job offers are most likely the first professional job offers they are receiving so career counselors are used to January being the season of talking about juggling, accepting, and declining job offers.

So how do you have conversations with 1Ls about navigating job offers? Join in as LawFit addresses three common issues that arise.

1. Wanting to take the path of least resistance

Some 1L jobs take very little effort to get. Professors hire Research Assistants exclusively out of their own law school’s student body, some judges hire students who attended their law school without even reading their resume, and family connections are eager to help. But sometimes the easy-to-get job will not put the 1L on track to accomplish their career goals.

This is a time to remind the student why they went to law school, encourage them to reconnect with their initial passion, and take a second look at their LawFit assessment results.

2. Having a job offer in hand but still waiting on their “dream job”

It is impossible to go through January without hearing a 1L explain that they have one offer but their dream job is interviewing them next week. What should they do!? In times like these, it is helpful to remind 1Ls that it is not terribly difficult to get a 1L summer job because the vast majority of them are unpaid. If the student is waiting on a job offer from an employer that will set them up to reach their goals, they owe it to themselves to pursue it.

3.  Having no idea where they want to go

Inevitably, some 1Ls are wide open about geography and willing to go “anywhere” over the summer. In the end, however, they will have to make a decision and choose one or maybe two places.

One way to help them narrow their field of geographic interests is to talk about the practice areas that interest them and to consult the LawFit assessment. LawFit’s practice area guide comes with every assessment and provides helpful information such as where a certain practice area is predominately active. For instance, if a student is committed to antitrust law, they will definitely have to be in a city.

Navigating Multiple Job Offers

Why It Is So Hard for 1Ls

Navigating the legal job market and often the professional career world itself is new territory to many first-year students. Often, when a 1L receives their very first legal job offer, they feel like they have to accept it. The prospect of continuing to interview seems rude to them and the prospect of turning down a job offer can seem absolutely terrifying. When career counselors put themselves in 1Ls’ shoes and remember how new this process is for many of them, it makes it easier to communicate in a manner that will get through to them.

Talking About Tone

Assuring your students that turning down an offer is perfectly acceptable as long as they have a professional, gracious tone, can help the students relax. Doing so meets them halfway and acknowledges that turning down an offer is an uncomfortable thing to do and then helps them see that there is a right way to do it. Help the student work on their email turning down the job offer. Ask them if they would be offended by such an email and when they realize that of course they would not, the process gets easier.

Remind the 1L that any employer who is extending them an offer has been where they are. The employer knows that they will be interviewing at multiple different organizations because applying to only one place would be way too risky and because 1L students explore their options. It’s just what they do, and every lawyer knows it. Employers also know that most 1Ls haven’t settled on the type of law they want to practice.

Additionally, remind 1Ls that employers hire summer interns every year. They have had multiple candidates turn down offers in the past, and they expect candidates to turn down offers in the future. It is not a new or offensive phenomenon to them.

Do your 1Ls have multiple job offers and not know which one to accept? Are some of them stagnant and not excited about any particular job opportunity? The LawFit Career Assessment can help them narrow down their practice areas of interest and get them motivated.

 

 

Public Interest Month

October is public interest month at America’s law schools!  In October,

As a result, law schools across the country have created programming highlighting jobs available in the public interest and government fields.

Public Interest month is a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with students after OCIs.

After OCI, career services offices often lose touch with students who:

  • Can feel dejected about their job searches after receiving callback rejections;
  • Are public-interest minded, but may believe that their Career Development office is not knowledgeable about or interested in these career paths.

This is an ideal opportunity for CDOs to address both of these concerns — and re-engage students who need new career options. Planning panel discussions and designing a professional- looking poster can help you launch an ‘official initiative’ that will let public-interest minded students know they are supported, by putting a spotlight on new opportunities they can pursue.

Public Interest Month Can Jump-Start a Conversation on Job Fit

After completing a service project as part of ABA pro bono week, attending the Equal Justice Works Conference, and/or going to your school’s public interest programming, magic often happens! For the first time after OCI, students start to open up to the possibility of looking outside private practice. Despite a bit more openness, students NEED guidance since many do not know what areas of practice they are interested in – or where they have the best match.

October is the time to open up these conversations! Following your public interest programming, invite students to your office to talk about public interest job paths and discuss which ones might be a good fit for them. Show them how to search for public interest organizations on PSJD, and talk to them about networking with your alumni and local public interest attorneys. Of course, have them take the LawFit Career Assessment, so they can learn in detail (and be confident about) the unique qualities they can contribute to a public interest or government position.

Public Interest Month Generates Positivity

Public Interest Month initiatives are a great opportunity to get students AND your law school community reinvigorated about exploring public sector job paths. Once OCIs are over, and the sun is setting on offers from private law firms, many students will be considering different directions for their job searches. And a Public Interest Month initiative is the perfect antidote to student lamentations that Career Development professionals only focus on private law firm careers.

Dedicating a week or a month to showcasing public interest allows you to introduce positivity to job search conversations. Instead of thinking only about job opportunities that are lost after OCIs, students receive the message that great opportunities are still available since public interest, and government employers have later hiring timelines. And students who have always been dedicated to careers in public service from the get-go will feel supported and accepted, as their law school creates a forum designed for them.

Start by hosting employer panels full of happy public interest and government attorneys who are thrilled with their jobs and did not land them until 3L year or even after graduation. This will turn the conversation away from any negative fall-out from the OCI process, by encouraging students who are still looking to THINK, early-on, about a career that will lead them to career satisfaction.

On-Campus Interview Season

It is difficult to imagine a more stressful time on law school campuses than the on-campus interviewing season. Wearing one’s freshly pressed suit day after day, interviewing with multiple employers and being “on” all day is exhausting. Once OCIs conclude, students hear about classmates’ callbacks and offers while anxiously waiting to hear news themselves. It is no wonder that Career Development offices across the country get the same question at this time of year: “When should I panic?”

Students who go through the OCI have easy access to job applications: the application process is streamlined, they can apply to many jobs at the same time — and getting interviews is fairly easy. To engage with 2Ls after OCIs, (especially with those students who have the least success in the OCI process), career counselors need to engage individual students and help them focus on self-assessments and other types of job applications.

The post-OCI period offers a great opportunity to reenergize students who, if they come up empty from OCI, need help planning their next steps. It is an ideal time to focus on what the student looking for in her/his career and to delve into a deeper assessment of career fit.

Counseling 2Ls Post-OCI

Whether successful or not in securing a job through OCI, 2Ls are bound to wonder about next steps in their career searches. Students who have accepted a job with an employer for the following summer may wonder which practice areas to explore at their summer employer, whereas students who were unsuccessful after OCI will wonder what other options they should consider as they continue their job searches.

Both types of students should evaluate their personalities and interests to analyze their fit with employment options. Ideally, career counselors will have focused conversations with 2Ls, pinpointing what exactly they are trying to get out of their summer work experience and career. Does the student like researching and writing, contact with other people, exposure to criminal issues? Now is the time to ask these focused questions.
Reminding 2Ls There is Life Outside of Big Law

Reminding 2Ls There is Life Outside of Big Law

The OCI process tends to make students think that Big Law is the be all and end all of legal jobs. Reminding students who will not work for larger law firms of the many great job opportunities that exist in smaller employment settings or government or public interest save them stress and worry. As you acquaint students with a wider variety of appealing job opportunities, it helps to get the student thinking about what they want their daily lives in the law to look like. Through these discussions, students may come to see that Big Law may not even be consistent with their life vision, so they can start exploring options that are.

Building Your Legal Career

Whether you just passed the bar, are closing in on your 30-year anniversary, or somewhere in the middle, building up your legal muscles is always a wise investment of time. Options can include continued education, participating in online legal groups, attending conferences, etc., but choosing the right answers for you can often be a challenge. Perhaps the best way to discover the answers, is to start with questions.
What are my strengths . . .

  • Within the realm of my legal work?
  • As a communicator, a leader, speaker, organizer, etc.?
  • Concerning pro-bono or other charitable activities?
  • As a mentor (or mentee)

How can I build on these strengths to grow . . .

  • As an attorney?
  • As a person?

Conversely, what are my weaknesses in these same areas?

How can I turn my strengths into . . .

  • Tools for overcoming the weaknesses?
  • Opportunities for growth?

What is my emotional intelligence level and how can I improve my score?

Do I have sufficient understanding of and skills with the world’s ever-changing technologies?

How does my legal finesse measure up with the legal marketplace? Should I . . .

  • Participate in continuing legal education?
  • Focus on specific skills or choose general studies?
  • Set aside significant time and /or money to invest in my professional repertoire by learning new skills?

Asking the right questions will often channel our minds in the right direction, helping us to choose which areas of our life/career need the greatest investment in order to grow.  That’s the principle behind LawFit. Our assessment is a designed specifically to help guide present and potential law students in making choices concerning what area of law best suits their skills and personality. It is also effective for those who are already in the legal field, but considering a different area of practice. Contact us today and discover how questions provide answers.