As an Unemployed Associate, How Can I Best Position Myself to Get Placed with a Top Law Firm? | \n

As an Unemployed Associate, How Can I Best Position Myself to Get Placed with a Top Law Firm?


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As an unemployed associate, how can I best position myself to get placed with a top law firm?

It is important to show prospective employers that you are staying busy, being productive with your time off, and staying involved in your practice area, even if you are not employed. There are many ways to show that you are utilizing your time off to better yourself and enhance your expertise. You can write articles on topics relevant to your experience, or go for that LLM you may not have had time for or previously never considered a priority. One of my unemployed candidates, who accepted a position recently, began networking with all of his contacts. This effort resulted in him taking on several new clients on his own, in his field of expertise, which kept him up to date on the law, showed off his interpersonal skills, and ability to work well with clients, and even told employers he can bring in business. As a young associate with only a few years of experience, this was very impressive during his subsequent interview process. In addition to helping you stay sharp and focused, remaining involved in your given practice area will help you maintain a positive attitude during the important interview stage.

You need to be extremely proactive about getting your resume out to the appropriate law firms, and to make sure you are properly represented. This means working with a good recruiter, who has significant contacts and market knowledge in your specific territory. You will have to be extremely well versed and confident in discussing not only what you have been doing recently, but also the specific circumstances surrounding your departure from your last firm. How you present this information will be key to how you are perceived by future employers. I once represented a candidate who was moving to NY from out of state, and who had not worked in over 6 months. She was a litigation associate and I was working with her at a time when litigation associates were not in high demand. However, she had such a positive attitude, and she spoke with such confidence about her work experience and her abilities, that she walked out of a first interview I was able to arrange, certain that she would get the position. Within two weeks, after a second interview, she received an offer and is still with this mid-sized firm.

While you may be primarily interested in larger, more prestigious law firms, it is important to keep your options open and pursue all opportunities if you are currently unemployed. This means considering firms that may be smaller, or less well known than you would ideally like. The longer you are out of work and the greater the gap between employment, the bigger the obstacle being out of work can become with regard to your next placement. You may be concerned with how a less than stellar firm will reflect on your long term career path, but you can gain valuable hands on experience at such a firm, and it is better than remaining unemployed for an extended period of time. That is not to say that you should necessarily accept the first opportunity that comes your way, but you should remain open-minded about all opportunities and cognizant of the time frame of your unemployment.

About Harrison Barnes

Harrison Barnes is a prominent figure in the legal placement industry, known for his expertise in attorney placements and his extensive knowledge of the legal profession.

With over 25 years of experience, he has established himself as a leading voice in the field and has helped thousands of lawyers and law students find their ideal career paths.

Barnes is a former federal law clerk and associate at Quinn Emanuel and a graduate of the University of Chicago College and the University of Virginia Law School. He was a Rhodes Scholar Finalist at the University of Chicago and a member of the University of Virginia Law Review. Early in his legal career, he enrolled in Stanford Business School but dropped out because he missed legal recruiting too much.

Barnes' approach to the legal industry is rooted in his commitment to helping lawyers achieve their full potential. He believes that the key to success in the legal profession is to be proactive, persistent, and disciplined in one's approach to work and life. He encourages lawyers to take ownership of their careers and to focus on developing their skills and expertise in a way that aligns with their passions and interests.

One of how Barnes provides support to lawyers is through his writing. On his blog,, and, he regularly shares his insights and advice on a range of topics related to the legal profession. Through his writing, he aims to empower lawyers to control their careers and make informed decisions about their professional development.

One of Barnes's fundamental philosophies in his writing is the importance of networking. He believes that networking is a critical component of career success and that it is essential for lawyers to establish relationships with others in their field. He encourages lawyers to attend events, join organizations, and connect with others in the legal community to build their professional networks.

Another central theme in Barnes' writing is the importance of personal and professional development. He believes that lawyers should continuously strive to improve themselves and develop their skills to succeed in their careers. He encourages lawyers to pursue ongoing education and training actively, read widely, and seek new opportunities for growth and development.

In addition to his work in the legal industry, Barnes is also a fitness and lifestyle enthusiast. He sees fitness and wellness as integral to his personal and professional development and encourages others to adopt a similar mindset. He starts his day at 4:00 am and dedicates several daily hours to running, weightlifting, and pursuing spiritual disciplines.

Finally, Barnes is a strong advocate for community service and giving back. He volunteers for the University of Chicago, where he is the former area chair of Los Angeles for the University of Chicago Admissions Office. He also serves as the President of the Young Presidents Organization's Century City Los Angeles Chapter, where he works to support and connect young business leaders.

In conclusion, Harrison Barnes is a visionary legal industry leader committed to helping lawyers achieve their full potential. Through his work at BCG Attorney Search, writing, and community involvement, he empowers lawyers to take control of their careers, develop their skills continuously, and lead fulfilling and successful lives. His philosophy of being proactive, persistent, and disciplined, combined with his focus on personal and professional development, makes him a valuable resource for anyone looking to succeed in the legal profession.

About BCG Attorney Search

BCG Attorney Search matches attorneys and law firms with unparalleled expertise and drive, while achieving results. Known globally for its success in locating and placing attorneys in law firms of all sizes, BCG Attorney Search has placed thousands of attorneys in law firms in thousands of different law firms around the country. Unlike other legal placement firms, BCG Attorney Search brings massive resources of over 150 employees to its placement efforts locating positions and opportunities its competitors simply cannot. Every legal recruiter at BCG Attorney Search is a former successful attorney who attended a top law school, worked in top law firms and brought massive drive and commitment to their work. BCG Attorney Search legal recruiters take your legal career seriously and understand attorneys. For more information, please visit

Harrison Barnes does a weekly free webinar with live Q&A for attorneys and law students each Wednesday at 10:00 am PST. You can attend anonymously and ask questions about your career, this article, or any other legal career-related topics. You can sign up for the weekly webinar here: Register on Zoom

Harrison also does a weekly free webinar with live Q&A for law firms, companies, and others who hire attorneys each Wednesday at 10:00 am PST. You can sign up for the weekly webinar here: Register on Zoom

You can browse a list of past webinars here: Webinar Replays

You can also listen to Harrison Barnes Podcasts here: Attorney Career Advice Podcasts

You can also read Harrison Barnes' articles and books here: Harrison's Perspectives

Harrison Barnes is the legal profession's mentor and may be the only person in your legal career who will tell you why you are not reaching your full potential and what you really need to do to grow as an attorney--regardless of how much it hurts. If you prefer truth to stagnation, growth to comfort, and actionable ideas instead of fluffy concepts, you and Harrison will get along just fine. If, however, you want to stay where you are, talk about your past successes, and feel comfortable, Harrison is not for you.

Truly great mentors are like parents, doctors, therapists, spiritual figures, and others because in order to help you they need to expose you to pain and expose your weaknesses. But suppose you act on the advice and pain created by a mentor. In that case, you will become better: a better attorney, better employees, a better boss, know where you are going, and appreciate where you have been--you will hopefully also become a happier and better person. As you learn from Harrison, he hopes he will become your mentor.

To read more career and life advice articles visit Harrison's personal blog.

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