Lawyers - please help! Need advice...

  1. Technically I'm seeking advice for my boyfriend...

    My boyfriend just graduated from law school and had a job lined up at a firm in town, he was supposed to be moving down here from the Chicago area in October. Well, his job just fell through this morning, the firm told him that they didn't have enough money to hire another associate (unexpectedly low case load I guess). So I'm bummed beyond belief, and my boyfriend is nervous about his future and our future, it's a mess...

    I know my boyfriend's doing what he can to get another position, but practicing lawyers out there, do you have any advice? Is it a matter of going firm to firm and passing out resumes? I can't figure out whether firms advertise positions or not (he says he's been searching some website for listings, but it's not very helpful). He's trying so hard to get a job in my town (I live in a medium-sized college town), but it's hard seeing as there aren't that many positions out there. Is it better for him to give up hope on living in the same town with me and just start applying in Chicago? He really doesn't want to work for a huge firm, but at this point he has to pursue any avenue that he can. Any help or advice at all would be appreciated, I'll pass everything along to him.
     
  2. He should contact his law school's career services office and talk to them. If he had an engagement letter from the firm they should be able to give him advice on that too. There are probably more medium sized law firms in Chicago than in a smaller town. I would consider where he wants to live in a couple of years. Sorry about this- first time I've heard of it actually, well since the last economic downturn.
     
  3. Oh yeah, he can also temp for awhile - that should pay the bills and keep him from getting too nervous. He should sign up with legal temping agencies asap. I'm assuming that he's already taken the bar, but maybe hasn't received his results yet?
     
  4. I graduated from law school in the 90's in Boston when the economy was not good and none of us could find jobs when we graduated. It really depends on the economy since competition is fierce. If he didn't graduate at the top of his class and wasn't in law review or moot court, then I would recommend just sending his application to as many places as possible, focusing on small to medium sized firms. Really big firms generally only hire those who graduate at the top of their class. The most important thing he can do is join law associations or any assoications where there might be lawyers. I cannot stress how important connections are at this point in his career. Good luck.
     
  5. Thanks for the advice, winternight! He's waiting on his bar results, they'll come in October. I know that he's talked to career services already, his counselor wasn't of too much help last year but maybe now he can get some more focused advice. My dad's a lawyer and I called him for advice, and my dad basically said he can try his best around here to get a job but his best chance is to move to a metropolitan area, either St. Louis or Chicago. Maybe temping would be an option in the meantime...

    I'm just heartbroken, I don't know what to do. I mean, he's a good candidate for a job, that's not the problem, it's finding an opening in this area that worries me. The thought of our separation being basically permanent (for at least the next few years, I really can't move right now because I'm in grad school) really does break my heart. I was so happy when he got the offer, things seemed like they were going to be ok, and today all I've been doing is crying.
     
  6. Thanks for the advice, I think the economy is a little rough right now, but he did win a national award in moot court, he was very good at that. He wasn't in the top of his class but he did graduate with honors, cum laude. And he's definitely making use of any connections he has, but I didn't know about these law associations, are they basically professional organizations for lawyers? I'll advise him to seek them out.
     
  7. Please don't cry. There's always hope he might find a job where you are. I am really serious about connections though, if there are any associations for lawyers in your area where he could meet attorneys that is a great opportunity.
     
  8. Yes, there are many associations for lawyers, depending on where you are located. If he has an interest in a particular area, there are subsections for that where he can meet lawyers practicing in that area. That is good that he graduated cum laude (I did and all my friends did as well, apparently that didn't mean much). I think the national award in moot court is something to emphasize. I hope he finds a job soon!
     
  9. If you want, send me a PM. I am in Chicago. I have practiced with a number of large firms around the country so know the legal landscape fairly well and have also done some career counseling.
     
  10. He can totally get a new job ;)
    Just tell him to contact his school, start passing out Resumes, and call in his contacts
     
  11. I would also tell him to follow up each resume he sends out with a phone call. Show initiative and determination. Two traits firms love. Most people just send resumes in but never call to initiate an interview. Have him call the hiring partner, and tell him/her how he sent in a resume and would like to set up a time to come meet him/her to discuss the possibility of joining their team. It works.

    You should also PM chigirl- she knows what she is talking about.
     
  12. My husband graduated from Law school last May. His best bet is to go to staffing agencies and to do document review. As those are things that many firms look for. The only downside is that those are projects and not permanent positions however the money is more substantial per hour than what would be earned as an associate in a firm ie starting in a firm is 35-45 k While my husband has worked one job at 25 an hr equiv to $50 a yr and 40 and hr equiv to about 80 k a yr
     
  13. Depends on what kind of law he wants to get into. I know it's harder in a smaller town but not impossible. My knowledge relates to criminal law. Government jobs specifically. I really don't know about civil firms. I can tell you that if he's not picky about his first job is I'm sure there are plenty of opportunieis, it's just a matter of finding them because many are not advertised. It is just important for him to get his foot in the door and start to establish a resume and build a reputation to launch from.
    I would suggest starting at local law schools in the area that he wants to work if he can. They likely have a career development office for their students to find jobs but they may help him given his situation. Another idea is for him to contact the local government attorneys offices and get leads from them. He may want to apply for a city or county position such as deputy district attorney, assistant public defender, county counsel, city attorney, child or parent advocate etcetera. Often times there is also an alternate public defender's office. If they are not hiring, those officers can offer a wealth of information about local attorneys and firms with good reputations in the area that may be looking for help. Additionally, he can check to see whether there are local legal clinics that may be looking for help. For instance, now in California, parolees have the right to representation at parole revocation hearings. There is now a clinic that hires contract attorneys to do this type of work. Even if he does not want to practice a certain type of law forever, it is just so important to get that first job and start making contacts within his community and establishing a reputation of his own.
    I think it's also good advice for him to join or contact local associations both in his area and the ones in the area he wants to move to. I don't know how helpful mailing resumes is. I think that if he opens a line of communication with lawyers or people in the legal field, they are likely to be helpful and offer him whatever advice or help they can. We've all been in that position of looking for our first attorney position. I think he will find people will be willing to help him if he just starts asking around.
    Sorry for the long post. Hope it helps.
     
  14. This isn't "fun" but sometimes a mass mailing that's targeted to a certain area of law is a good way to go. He can got to martindale.com and search for all the law firms by city and by area of law. I printed out the entire list and sent out about 100 resumes when I was looking as a law student. It wasn't fun, but I wrote a good cover letter that emphasized why I would be a great candidate for them, etc., etc.

    I didn't get tons of calls, but I did get about 5 calls which is better than nothing...