The lackluster economy of the last five years has affected most career fields, especially new law school graduates looking to join the job market. Upon graduation, it can be difficult to land a job, let alone find the type of career you want as a new lawyer. This week, we looked to our legal resources for advice for new law school graduates.
We received a wide array of advice depending on the type of experience and background of our seasoned legal resources. Some key points were the importance of meaningful relationships, becoming a prominent figure in your community, and learning as much as possible from partners at your law firm with more experience.
Below are five of the top tips from our legal resources:
1) Learn from the experienced
Billy Aposotolou of Pessin Katz Law, P.A. explains:
“I personally feel getting into a firm and developing your craft is important before thinking about going out on your own. Once in a firm, remember the partners are your “clients” and listen to them.”
There is absolutely no substitute for real life experience on the job. Lawyers who have become familiar with their practice have so much knowledge to offer new attorneys.
2) Build your resume early
Attorney Shane Fischer of Shane E. Fischer, P.A. expands: “With SO MANY LAWYERS and so few available jobs, budding young lawyers need to begin establishing themselves before they step foot in law school by volunteering or getting jobs with organizations in the field they think they want to practice. If you are interested in practicing divorce law, for example, you can work at the local courthouse assisting pro se divorcees file paperwork, or get a job with a divorce attorney scanning mail and running errands.” Essentially, gaining as many experiences as possible is key to standing out. Start to pursue the area of law you will be practicing before you even begin law school, if possible.
3) Work for an established law firm before you start your own
Attorney Jonathan E. Pollard of the non-compete blog explains the benefits of working for an established law firm before branching out independently:
“If possible, I think people graduating from law school should try to spend two or three years, or maybe more depending on their comfort level, working at a firm, for the government, or a non-profit organization— working with other lawyers. Law is a vast, complicated array of statutes, cases, doctrines.”
It is best to get some time working with other lawyers before taking the leap into running your own firm. That way, you can get the benefit of years of experience without having to go through too much trial and error.
4) Immerse yourself in your community
Attorney Andrew Drazen of Doster Ullom, LLC shares his experience of serving his local community:
“Being involved in the community is a necessary element and I am happy to enjoy serving in multiple roles in many organizations. If you wish to be involved in your community, consider participating in organizations that are driven by your interest. If the organization does not hold your interest, and the people in that organization don’t make you want to attend meetings, happy hours, and other functions, it will show.”
Find organizations that you support and enjoy being a part of. If you are going to be giving your time to these functions, you need to be genuinely behind them. With community involvement you will not only give good PR to your firm, but you will also network for new clients and business opportunities.
5) Make your boss’s life easier
Attorney Susan Burns of Susan Burns LLC shares the most universal advice for all new graduates:
“The best advice I have ever received from one of my mentors is to observe your bosses and think about what would be helpful to you if you were in her or his position. Approach your work always keeping that in mind. What would make your boss’ life easier? How can you make him or her look good?”
Improving life for your boss isn’t brown-nosing–it’s being a team player. You are much more likely to be promoted if you are an asset to the company, and the best way to do that is by making your boss shine.