Over the last 12 months the legal market has shown signs of recovery from the recession. For the most part, lateral hiring has increased across all regions and most practice areas.

Over the last 12 months the legal market has shown signs of recovery from the recession. For the most part, lateral hiring has increased across all regions and most practice areas. However, it may still be difficult for you to find a job in today’s market. First, the job market is extremely competitive. For every job listed, firms are receiving hundreds of applications from highly credentialed attorneys. Second, firms are taking their time to collect resumes, evaluate and interview candidates and to extend offers. Law firms are hiring judiciously and are taking longer than average to make hiring decisions. It is not uncommon for a firm to respond to an application two or three months after receiving it. Interviews are taking longer to schedule, offers are delayed, and as a result, applicants are forced to play the waiting game.

What can you do during this wait and see period?

  1. Reset Your Expectations: To avoid frustration, try to think of your job hunt in terms of a marathon and don’t expect to sprint to the finish line. Give yourself at least 6 months to find a new job. If you are practicing in an area with fewer opportunities (T&E, Employee Benefits, even Litigation in some markets), you may need to give yourself a year to find the right job.

  2. Cast a Wide Net: To increase your chances of finding a new job, make sure you consider all of your options and keep an open mind. Don’t rule out firms based on size, location or reputation. You will never really know what a firm is like until you have had an opportunity to meet the partners and associates and get a feel for the work, the culture and the people. You can always turn down an offer – just make sure you put yourself in a situation where you have offers to turn down!

  3. 3. Continue to Do Good Work: Don’t slack off at your current firm just because you have decided that you don’t want to be there long term. Continue to gain great experience and update your resume to reflect the new matters on which you have worked.

  4. 4. Network: Attend industry events and stay in touch with law school classmates and former colleagues. It is important to stay connected and plugged into the legal community. You never know who may be able to recommend you for a position or fast track your application.

  5. Stay in Touch with Your Recruiter: The more often we hear from you, the more interested we know you are in making a move. We are your biggest career advocates and we will make sure to keep you informed of new opportunities that hit the job market as well as provide updates regarding your outstanding applications. Trust that we are going to do everything in our power to move your application forward, collect feedback and stay in touch with firms regarding your candidacy. However, if you don’t hear from us, it is simply because we don’t have anything new to report.