- Do not commit a social media blunder. Sure – you've probably heard this advice before. Don't post pictures on your Facebook account of you making it rain at the Spearmint Rhino or hitting the pool at the Hard Rock in a thong bikini. But sometimes it doesn't take anything that egregious to turn a potential employer off – one firm cancelled an interview with my candidate because (1) they saw that he was wearing a un-tucked button down shirt in his Facebook profile photo and (2) they thought the fact that his Facebook profile was publicly available demonstrated poor judgment on his part! A little harsh – yes- but why even risk losing the interview at all? Do a Google search for your name and make sure your Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and other social media accounts are not publicly available. When Google searching yourself, make sure you go five pages deep – at least – and do both an image and text search. Also, for any photos that are publicly accessible (i.e., on your LinkedIn profile), make sure you stick to professional pictures only.
- Do not fudge your resume. At all. This includes: stretching dates or eliminating employment gaps, lying or exaggerating about your responsibilities in any position, padding or rounding your GPA, or excluding the law school from which you transferred. If you had a contract or staff attorney position - be honest about it. Don't try to make it appear as if you were a permanent employee. Law firm and in-house recruiters will sniff out EVERY inaccuracy and you will not get an interview if you have the slightest fib on your resume.
- If you get an interview, do not be over confident. I typically get two kinds of feedback from partners – the candidate was either dull and unimpressive or too confident and cavalier in his or her attitude. Overconfidence is a turn off to partners – they still want to be able to tell you what to do – they don't need a know it all. However, a candidate who comes across as unsure of him or herself is also a turn off because they won't feel comfortable putting you in front of clients.
- Do not look like a slob. Things like long, unruly hair on men, ripped tights (women), wrinkled clothes, scuffed or unpolished shoes, and an unorganized bag all indicate that you don't have your act together; you're not detail oriented, you lack professionalism, you aren't courtroom/client ready and you don't take yourself seriously. Get a haircut before the interview. Dry clean your suit. Polish your shoes. If you still don't look respectable after all of that, go out and get a new suit and/or shoes.
- Do not seem apathetic about the job. Partners want to be wanted. If you want the job – show enthusiasm and interest in the partner, the practice, and the firm. Ask targeted questions that are not “me” focused. Examples of “me” focused questions are – “What does my career growth look like?”, “What training do you have to offer me?”, “What does my bonus potential look like?”. Examples of firm targeted questions are: “Where do you see the practice in 10 years?”. “What do you look for in an associate?”, “What do you like about this firm?”. Send a follow up email to thank your interviewers for their time and to reaffirm your interest.
See 6 Things Attorneys and Law Students Need to Remove from Their Resumes ASAP If They Want to Get Jobs with the Most Prestigious Law Firms for more information.
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, HarrisonBarnes.com, and BCGSearch.com, 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 www.BCGSearch.com.
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.