The Seven Untapped Ways for Attorneys and Law Students to Find a Legal Job |

The Seven Untapped Ways for Attorneys and Law Students to Find a Legal Job


Print/Download PDF

Font Size

Rate this article

445 Reviews Average: 4.5 out of 5

Harrison Barnes' Legal Career Advice Podcast - Episode 26

Learn more about this topic by listening to this podcast
00:00 00:00
Listen to This Podcast on:

Listen to The Seven Untapped Ways for Attorneys and Law Students to Find a Legal Job Podcast

Summary: Getting a dream legal job does not have to be an impossible challenge. There are seven ways to find legal jobs that few law students and attorneys know about. In this article, you can learn about the benefits of networking, public and private job sites, using legal recruiters, and utilizing resources in your local career services office. This article will prepare you to find a job in the legal profession you never thought possible.

Finding the perfect legal job can be more challenging than it seems. You may have scoured the top legal job websites and applied for several law jobs but still cannot land the position you want. And it is not only newly graduated law students who struggle to further their legal careers. Seasoned attorneys can also find it challenging to get the job they want. 

Why can it be so tough to get the ideal job in the law firm you want? The reason is that you are missing the seven untapped ways to further your legal career. 

In this article, I will share my experience in how to tap into career opportunities in the legal profession. At the end of the article, you will have the necessary knowledge to widen your search and find legal job listings you are currently missing.

Untapped Ways to Find a Legal Job

To be successful in your job search, you must find enough legal job openings. This involves more than campus interviews and mailing applications. To maximize your chances of getting a legal job, you must start networking, searching job boards, using mass-targeted mailing, and contacting legal recruiters. These are surefire ways to further your legal career.

Misconceptions About Finding Legal Jobs

Why do some law students and attorneys find it so challenging to get the legal job they desire? Job seekers in the legal profession have a huge misconception — they think they know how to find all the available job listings. Or they think they are already doing all they can to find every open legal position.
However, this is rarely the case. And if you are currently not in the job you want, you must be doing something wrong. 

When I was a law student, the three primary methods of getting a job were these:
  1. On-campus interviews
  2. Sending applications to law firms in the NALP Guide
  3. Networking. 
However, those three methods can never help you find all the legal job listings. Today, there are job boards, online lists of employers, more recruiters, and many more methods for finding positions in the legal profession. 

Unfortunately, most attorneys and law students are not exploring the market and finding enough jobs.

The truth is that you do not—and cannot—know about all the legal jobs out there. Ninety-nine percent of attorneys and law students are typically devoted to one legal job site. And they think they have unique insight into the legal job market. Do not make that mistake. 

The best thing you can do is to question the belief that you are doing everything right in your job search.

Regrettably, far too many legal careers have been ruined due to an inability to find enough legal job openings. As a result, legal careers have stalled, and attorneys are often unhappy or underemployed because they do not know the right way to look for a position.

How to Discover Legal Job Openings

You must use several search methods to find key openings in the legal field you want. The more ways you use, the more jobs you are likely to find. A comprehensive job search reveals untapped legal employers with openings. You get to meet the right people and discover opportunities you did not know existed.

I have worked with top law graduates who worked in the very best firms, law students of all stripes, and every type of attorney out there. However, I know hundreds of attorneys are not working in the jobs they want because they are unwilling to use available methods to find legal positions. In addition, many seem prejudiced about one form of a job search or another.

Seven Untapped Ways for Attorneys and Law Students to Find a Legal Job

What legal job search methods may you be missing out on? And why do many law students and legal professionals harbor prejudices about certain ways of looking for a job? How can you overcome them? 

I will explain some everyday prejudices and why you need to overcome them. Each additional job search method you employ will create another opportunity to find a position. Each different job search method you use will create another opportunity to find a position.

See Also:
  1. Networking is One of the Most Effective Ways to Find Legal Positions

To further your legal career, you must make networking a top priority. This opens up social connections, puts you in touch with other professionals, and exposes you to legal placements you did not know existed. But why are some in the legal sector prejudiced against networking?

Prejudices People Have Against Networking

As a law student and attorney, I was never interested in networking to find legal positions. So even though I had some very positive experiences getting leads and interviews with networking, I had some severe prejudices against it. 

Here's an insight into some of my thinking at the time
  • I did not want to owe anyone anything.
  • I did not want to signal weakness to my peers and others.
  • I did not trust other people to help me all the time.
  • I was aware of my weaknesses and thought that others were too, and networking would hurt me.
  • I had a few bad experiences with networking early in my life.
What happened to make me prejudiced against networking? Here are three experiences that shaped my attitude toward networking.

Case #1

First, when I was in college, one of my best friends got a summer position with General Motors paying $40 an hour. At the time, this was a ridiculous amount of money. My friend and I also happened to be friends with the son of one of the top five executives at GM. Unfortunately, I was not as close to the executive's son as my friend was. So, when I tried to get a position with the company, they rebuffed me quite rudely. Being rejected hurt my feelings and left a bad taste for networking in my mouth.

Case #2

I was also interested in a summer job with a major law firm in Detroit while in law school. I grew up in Detroit, and my mother knew a partner in this law firm quite well. She offered to help me get an interview and was unsuccessful. I ended up getting interviews with every other major law firm in Detroit, but not this one.

Case #3

One of my girlfriend's best friends was a partner at a major law firm in Detroit. In my first semester of the year of law school, I wrote him a letter telling him I was interested in a summer job. I had met him a few times previously and thought he might help me. Unfortunately, when I called him on the phone, he hung up on me and was quite rude. This experience also left a bad taste in my mouth about networking.

The Result

Unfortunately, these experiences convinced me that networking would not work for me. Possibly, a few similar experiences along the way also left a sour taste of networking in my mouth. However, I feel that the course of my life and career might be quite different had I not been turned off by negative networking experiences.

Because I lacked faith in networking, I stopped using it early in my legal career. I believed that other job search methods were more likely to be effective for me. 

But I've learned that networking is beneficial in contrast to most job search methods. 

See Also:
Why Active Seekers Have Prejudices Against Networking

If networking is so useful for finding many types of jobs in the legal profession, why do some job seekers have prejudices against it? 

Here are a few reasons from my own experience. 

I started using job sites, job boards, legal newspapers, and other methods to look for positions to find the jobs I wanted. Because I was having some success, I began to see networking as time-consuming and tedious. In addition, I did not get instant rewards from networking as I got from other job search methods. 

For example, I would bet rapid results when I applied for jobs from job sites and recruiters. In contrast, it required significant effort to network in the legal community.

Also, when you network, you tell others in your circle that you are not happy in your current position or open to something else. When you share information like this, your friends and others will talk about it when you're not around. Your employer could find out you're not happy if your friends and others know you are looking for a job.

In truth, networking could have worked wonders for me in my job search had I learned the right way to network and not given up on it. My ego was so fragile as a young student that I reached conclusions about networking to find a job that simply made no sense. I should have learned this skill and continued networking. Networking is one of the most effective ways to find a position.

Benefits of Networking to Find Legal Jobs

Several reasons make networking one of the best ways to find legal jobs:
  1. Your social connections are often interested in helping you.
  2. Employers like to hire candidates who their network recommends.
  3. The hiring manager is more likely to offer the job because you have a connection and recommendation.

In my career, I have hired countless people recommended to me by someone. A recommendation carries massive weight. I have hired numerous attorneys recommended to me by other people. I have hired receptionists, law clerks, accountants, and others. Once someone recommends us, we are very likely to hire them because they have a powerful endorsement.

Here are some reasons why networking is so effective: 
  • The interviewer wants to demonstrate their social status to the person who recommended you. 
  • The person interviewing you may owe a favor. 
  • They may wish to create an additional connection.
  • You are usually the only person the employer is speaking with.
  • Your odds of getting hired based on a recommendation are many times higher than if you are not. 
Of course, it may be harder to network than to apply for a position through a job site. However, interviews based on network recommendations are more likely to result in being offered the position. 

The bottom line is this: networking gives you better chances of getting a job than other job search methods. Therefore, networking needs to be part of your job search arsenal.

See Also:
How to Network to Find Legal Jobs

To find legal jobs through networking, you can reach out to people you have previously worked with. You can find personal connections through social networking like LinkedIn, social media groups, law school classmates, and colleagues. You can also meet people through bar associations and let your family, friends, and others know you are seeking a legal position.

Networking is so effective that some people use it as their only job search method. At one time—before newspapers and job sites—networking was the only way people found positions.

Here is top career advice to build a network and get the job you want:
  • Take out a piece of paper and write down 100 people you know. 
  • Contact them. 
It is as simple as that. When you call for a chat, you do not need to say anything about looking for a position. Just ask these people how they are doing and say you wanted to check-in. If these people ask how you are doing, you should talk about things other than your career. Later in the conversation, you can mention looking for a position you are not happy with, and so forth. You should give people something to think about and not go into much detail.

The goal of the initial conversation is to make it about them. Make your networking contact feel good about themselves. Keep yourself in the background. 

If you do an excellent job with this, the person will remember you and think about the fact that you may be looking for something. In many cases, they may refer you to an opportunity or have one themselves. In other cases, the person will simply remember you and may refer a position to you in the future—you simply never know.

Using Networking to Build Your Legal Career

Ongoing networking should be part of your career toolkit, regardless of whether you are currently seeking a position. 

But suppose you are searching for a job. In that case, make a concerted effort to connect with 20 people weekly for the next five weeks. After that, go back and contact them again. You need to develop a list of the people you know. Once you have this list, you need to reach out and contact these people regularly.

Speaking with others can also give you insight into where the jobs are and what is in demand. When you talk with others, they are likely also to tell you where others are finding success, things they have heard about that are working, and more. This sort of insight into the market will be invaluable.

See Also:
  1. Networking Tips for Attorneys
  2. Is Your Networking Working?
  1. Public Job Boards are an Effective Way to Find Legal Positions

Another effective way to find legal jobs is to use public job boards. A public job site is a free job site that is available to anyone interested in using it. Public job sites typically charge employers to post jobs on them. Most attorneys, law students, and others are familiar with the massive number of public job sites.

Prejudices People Have Against Public Job Boards

Why do many people not like public job boards? It is typically because they apply to a position and never hear anything. This lack of success leads many job seekers to dislike public job boards, believing they are useless.

When applying for legal positions, it is best to apply in the first few days after the listing goes live.

Why You May Not Have Success with Public Job Boards

When I have positions in our company for people to do various tasks—writers, programmers, and others—I always post positions on public job boards. What tends to happen is this. During the first few days the job goes live, I receive a ton of applicants. After that, however, the positions pour in so rapidly that it is impossible to view them all. Therefore, I usually review resumes the first day or so and then schedule interviews based on these resumes. 

So, while a job posting may be live for a month, it is always too burdensome to review all the subsequent resumes I receive. I am so busy and have already scheduled interviews for a few people I hope will work out. Therefore, if you apply for a position the first few days it is live, you will most likely be interviewed and hired for the job.

Issues With Some Public Job Sites

There are many public job sites, and some are better than others. I usually cancel the position after a few weeks—but not always. I keep the job open because I want to ensure that if I do not like the initial people that apply, I have more resumes to review later. Also, most job sites charge several hundred dollars for a job posting for 30 days, so I want to be sure that I leave the position open for the full 30 days to get my money's worth.

I have noticed that they stay active even when I close job postings. Many public job sites may leave these jobs active because they want job seekers to believe the site has more jobs than it does. Job sites typically advertise and market themselves based on having the most positions.

The big problem with public job sites is that there are often "ghost jobs" on these sites that you can apply for but never hear back about. It is usually too complicated for an employer to keep up with the volume of resumes they receive and review them all.

See Also:
An additional issue with public job sites is that the employer's needs can often change. For example, I would frequently post jobs online and then, at some point, decide I no longer need or want to hire someone for the job. Despite this fact, the ad for the position may continue to run. This disconnect is another reason you often do not hear anything from public job sites.

A further issue with public job sites that frustrates many applicants is that when you apply for a position on them, the odds are pretty good; you will not always be the best applicant. For example, suppose you are applying for an attorney position. In that case, you may compete with 100+ people for the same job if the listing is on a public site. Under these conditions, your odds of getting the position are slim unless you have excellent qualifications. There are also likely far more applicants for positions in major markets than smaller ones.

Public job sites generally only post positions that employers pay to list. Consequently, they only show a tiny slice of the legal market. Most employers, for example, post positions on their career sites but not on public job boards.

The Benefits of Public Job Sites for Finding Positions

Free job sites are great ways to track down positions despite their drawbacks:
  1. Most employers do not post jobs unless they have them.
  2. Employers do not invest in the expense of posting a job unless they are eager to hire.
  3. In most cases, employers will interview and hire people reasonably quickly if they post positions online.

Public job sites must be part of your job search if you want to find a position and further your legal career. Therefore, you should apply for job openings as soon as they arise.

See Also:
How to Find Legal Jobs Using Public Job Sites

There are two ways to maximize your success when applying for legal positions using public job sites. First, be among the first applicants to apply. Second, search out under-market positions. These two tips will help make your job search more successful. Here's why. 

Most employers will interview and hire the first applicants they receive. Employers are less likely to hire people from the later applicants they receive. Therefore, set up a job alert to know about a legal job opening as soon as it goes live. Then you can respond within a few hours of them coming out if possible. This tip is the first and most important piece of advice.

The second thing you should do with public job sites is to review all the smaller under-marketed job sites you can find. You want to take advantage of the fact that many job sites are not that good and under-market positions out there. 

For example, hundreds of association sites, small legal online publications, small local publications in various markets, and more. Additionally, many local bar association websites post jobs with legal vacancies. The smaller and less known the site, the better. You should sign up for job alerts from these as well.

The benefit of using smaller sites is that they receive fewer applications when the jobs are unknown to many people. It's easier to get hired for job openings that receive fewer responses.

Under-marketed jobs are one of the best ways for attorneys to get positions. Therefore, if you steer away from the most significant job sites, you will be far better off than doing most of your searches on major job sites.

See Also:
  • How to Find Unadvertised Jobs
  1. Private Legal Job Boards

A private job board is a job site with a paywall to which people must pay a fee. LawCrossing is the best-known private job board. However, some job seekers tend to avoid these untapped ways to find legal jobs. Why is this so? It comes down to prejudice.

Prejudices Against Private Job Boards

People have issues with private job boards because they cost money, and most believe they should not have to pay to find a job. People are also suspicious of anyone, or anything, that tells them they need to spend money to look for a job. They wrongly assume that any form of spending money must be a "scam" or there must be something wrong with it.

Prejudice against private job boards happens because some assume they are just "reselling" information already available in the market for free. However, just because a job listing appears on several sites does not mean something is wrong. Here are a few facts about professional job search sites: 
  • There are over 100,000 employer sites with legal jobs.
  • There are 1,000 job sites with legal jobs.
  • Thousands of state, local, and government sites advertise legal positions.
  • There are hundreds of public interest sites with legal employment. 

Yes, all of the information out there is publicly available. However, it takes significant effort to find all this information.

Benefits of Private Job Boards

Private job boards can put you in touch with thousands of legal job offers. For example, one of the best private job boards advertising legal positions is LawCrossing

This private job site monitors every law firm, corporation, government, public interest organization, legal and non-legal job site, and every source of legal jobs it can find. Monitoring all these sites is a lot of work and something that no single person could do on their own. 

The basic search features of LawCrossing allow you to find every opening out there. This means you know about positions regardless of where they are listed. These could be major job sites, smaller ones, employer job sites, or others. 

Having all this information in one place makes your job search much more manageable. It also gives you the assurance that you are as thorough in your job search as possible. There is absolutely nothing wrong with having access to all the open positions out there.

Attorneys are taught in law school (and when they get out) the importance of doing good, comprehensive research when searching for the answer to legal issues. They use services such as Lexis and Westlaw to ensure their searches are as thorough as possible. Attorneys, law students, and others must apply this same logic to how they look for positions.

How to Use Private Job Sites to Find a Position

The best way to use private job sites is to sign up for job alerts and check them daily. Then, apply to as many openings as possible immediately. The reason? The faster you apply to jobs, the more likely the employer will want to interview you. They tend to hire the first people who apply.

Why should you apply to many positions when using a private job site—often more than you think you should. The reason is that getting out and interviewing provides networking opportunities. These can lead to other types of jobs you may not have expected. 

For example, someone interviewing you may know someone else with a position you are a better fit for. Or you may simply make contacts in the legal community that can be useful to you later.

LawCrossing also has a feature called "LawCrossing Archives." This service allows you to do an advanced search for older positions that no longer exist. Searching for previous openings is an excellent way to find employers that needed someone like you in the past. Employers that hired someone like you in the past may need someone like you in the future.

Whether searching for a legal position or not, you must always be aware of the opportunities available. This is because you may learn that you are already in a good job or discover better opportunities. 

After all, you are a product, and knowing your worth is an essential component of self-knowledge that you should always have.

See Also:
  1. Mass (Targeted) Mailing to Legal and Other Employers for Positions

Mass (targeted) mailing to legal employers is an excellent way of tapping into openings for legal positions you are unaware of. Using a targeted mailing list in your job search means building lists of employers. You then send them letters or emails with your resume and a cover letter expressing interest in working for them.

Prejudices Against Mass Mailing to Legal Employers

There are many prejudices against mass mailing employers for legal positions:
  1. Most people believe employers only hire for advertised positions.
  2. Many believe unsolicited mailings are a waste of time and effort.
  3. Other people think that most businesses charge fees for the service, and these services are scams.
Benefits of Mass Mailing to Legal Employers

In my experience, mass mailing legal employers is among the most effective ways for anyone to get a position. I have seen thousands of attorneys who tried this get more jobs than they believed possible.

Mass mailing is effective because you are approaching the universe of employers you could work for. The more emails you send, the more likely you can find a position that suits you. You are likely to find all the openings (or even potential) out there simultaneously. Approaching the universe of potential opportunities all at once is a huge benefit that can pay massive dividends.

Think about the number of potential legal job vacancies in the United States. Here are a few facts to think about:
  • There are 100,000+ law firms in the US
  • Thousands of federal, state, and local government offices and thousands of judges. 
  • Over 100,000+ companies hire attorneys. 
Each of these potential employers often has employment opportunities they are unaware of. Often, these employers hire people that appear at the right time. 

It is crucial to remember that an employer does not always go out and proactively list job vacancies. Instead, many employers have unarticulated needs that only become apparent when someone who looks like they could do a good job approaches them.

How to Do a Mass [Targeted] Mailing

A targeted mailing campaign would typically look like this. Let's say you are an attorney who does corporate mergers and acquisitions and want to work in Chicago. You are interested in working for a small to large law firm. You could build a list of all the firms of 10 to 500+ attorneys that do mergers and acquisitions. This list might include as many as 300 law firms (or more) in a market like Chicago. 

You would then research the proper person in human resources at each employer to send your resume. Then you would contact the most senior M&A partner in each firm. Finally, submit your resume with a cover letter indicating your interest in working for and interviewing with that employer. The more personalized your messages, the better.

See Also:
  1. Legal Recruiters

Using the services of a trusted legal recruiter opens up tremendous employment opportunities you did not know were out there. 

Legal recruiters typically work with legal employers to help them find legal talent. A legal recruiter also has relationships with firms in given markets. They will reach out to the market to find suitable jobs. This could be through advertising, cold calling, or drawing on its network of existing candidates. They will find people for various positions legal employers are advertising. 

Prejudices Against Legal Recruiters

Many active job seekers do not like using legal recruiters because they sense a lack of control in their job search. Typically, a legal recruiter will do the initial interactions with legal employers. Unfortunately, many people wrongly believe this is something they would be better off doing themselves.

There are three typical reasons job seekers shy away from hiring a recruitment company. 
  • Limited scope: Many legal recruiters operate independently and lack access to the entire job market. Therefore, they may only work with a few legal employers at one time. This restriction can limit your success when you do your job search through a recruiter.
  • Fees: Legal recruiters charge employers fees when they hire candidates through them. Many job seekers believe they are less likely to get hired if they come with a cost associated with interviewing and hiring them.
  • Quality: The quality of legal recruiters (like any middleman) can vary tremendously. Some are very good at their work, and others are quite weak. Unfortunately, the bad actors in the profession taint the reputation of the good actors—a taint they must overcome. For example, bad actors have a reputation for deceit and sometimes even dishonesty.

See Also:
The Benefits of Using Legal Recruiters

Connecting with top legal recruiters gives you access to more employment opportunities than you would have yourself. Typically, legal recruiters know about jobs that employers have not advertised—ones you could never find on your own. Legal recruiters also know how to frame your candidacy for various positions to increase your potential for employers.

Here are several benefits of using a legal recruiter to further your legal career:
  • The best legal recruiters can prepare you for interviews.
  • The very best legal recruiters also often represent very few people. 
  • Professional legal recruiters know how to optimize your job search and get the attention of legal employers.
  • Fees recruiters charge employers are insignificant compared to the return you represent for the legal employer.
It's good to note that most legal recruiters only receive their fee six months to a year after you start working at a legal employer. This waiting period reduces the risk for most legal employers hiring you. They owe nothing if you do not work out.

Another reason to use a legal recruitment agency is that they are typically strong advocates for their candidates. Hence, they can get the eyes and ears of hiring personnel faster than you might on your own. 

Also, they ensure your application is solid and well-prepared and that nothing slips through the cracks. They will position you like you are the one best suited for the position. Moreover, most legal recruiters are your advocates. They say positive things about you to hiring personnel that would be impossible otherwise. If you did, you might look like you were tooting your own horn too much.

For example, the best legal recruiters will interview you before they start working with you. They will learn about how you grew up, the struggles you might have, and other factors that can make you stand out from other applicants.

How to Use Legal Recruiters to Find Job Openings in the Legal Profession

The best type of legal recruiter to use is one who specializes in whatever it is you might be seeking. There are many kinds of legal recruiters out there. Specialties include permanent placement, law firm placement, temporary placement, in-house jobs, and various geographic territories. 

There are also large recruiting firms and small recruiting firms. Some legal recruiters will represent anyone who contacts them, and other legal recruiters will only represent a few of the people who contact them. Others will only represent people the legal recruiter contacts for a specific job.

Having contacts in the legal recruiting community is extremely intelligent for attorneys. I have represented people in the past who tried other job search methods for months or, in some cases, years. Within a few weeks of finding me, these candidates got five or more interviews and received offers. 

A good legal recruiter can make a massive difference in the success or failure of your job search. They will know about positions and how to get you looked at by employers you would not usually find on your own.

See Also:
  1. Done-for-You Legal Job Search Services

You can greatly boost your chances of getting a legal job by using additional search options. For example, some advanced done-for-you job search services greatly assist attorneys and law students in getting the interviews and job offers they want. 

One example would be "LawCrossing Concierge." LawCrossing Concierge researches all the existing and past jobs in its database, then suggests which ones to apply for. It will then do the time-consuming job of applying for these positions. Then, all you need to do is respond to applications and show up for interviews. 

Unlike a legal recruiter, a done-for-you job search service cannot prepare you for interviews. Nor will it negotiate with legal employers on your behalf. You will typically need to do all of that on your own.

Prejudices Against Done-for-You Legal Job Search Services

The main prejudice against these job search services is that they cost money. Also, most of these services will only expose you to existing openings in the market—or past opportunities if you so choose. Finally, these will not network for you in most cases or help you track down the "hidden job market" as a targeted mailing or a legal recruiter might.

Benefits of Done-for-You Legal Job Search Services

Done-for-you legal job search services can save a great deal of time by researching and applying for legal jobs. These services also act as your "private recruiter." They will send you every legal position in the market, not just ones where they think you would be a good fit. Finally, they run your legal job search like a business and are always on top of it.

How long do you spend searching for legal jobs? Maybe an hour or two—or even more—during the weekend applying to new positions? A done-for-you job search service will apply daily to legal openings on your behalf (if you choose). This essential service means you apply to new positions and stand a better chance of getting them when they first come out.

An additional benefit of done-for-you-job search services is that they typically monitor and help you apply to all types of openings. The job search service applies to law firms, in-house, government, public interest, academic, nonprofit, and more. Access to the entire market simultaneously means you are much more likely to know your best practice setting. This fact helps you to get a job more quickly than most other methods of searching for positions.

How to Use a Done-for-You Legal Job Search Service

The best way to use a "done-for-you" legal job search service is to ensure you have a good idea of what you want. Typically, it is a good idea to use advanced search options for what you are seeking. Then ensure there is no uncertainty in your instructions. This is the best way to achieve satisfactory results.

For maximum effect, you can also use a done-for-you job search service in tandem with other job search methods, such as using a recruiter, target mailing, and networking.

See Also:
  1. Law School Career Services Offices

The career services offices at your law school can be an excellent source of untapped legal ways to find a legal job. Most law schools have a career services office with excellent resources to assist you in your job search. In addition, you can use your law school's career center to find a position at any stage of your legal career.

Drawbacks of Using Your Law School Career Services Office to Find a Legal Position

Many law students and attorneys sometimes have a poor experience with their law school's career services office the first time they use them. Because of that, they discount using them. There are two reasons why the first visit to the career service office did not go as planned. Here they are:
  • Timing: Many career services offices are bustling. So, you may have caught them at the wrong time when you needed something.
  • Asking the wrong questions: You may not have known the right questions to get the needed information. 
It is essential to understand that virtually no job search method is perfect—you need to accept that each has its limitations and strengths.

The main drawback of using a career services office is that it may require some work on your part. You will need to make appointments, follow up, and be persistent. Legal career advisors are typically extremely busy people.

Benefits of Using Your Law School Career Services Office to Find a Legal Position

Most career services offices at law schools have a massive number of contacts they can connect you with for your job search. Many offices receive exclusive openings given to them by alums and local employers. Moreover, they know which employers are most likely to hire their graduates. 

Most people who work in career services offices are former practicing attorneys with connections to the legal industry. They can often help you with your resume and cover letter and help hone your interviewing skills at no charge. A career services office is one of the best deals in town and something that can help you long after you have graduated from law school.

Don't make a mistake many attorneys and law students make. They feel too proud to draw on the resources of their career services office and fail to utilize this crucial resource. 

The people inside career services offices have no incentive to do anything other than tell you their honest opinions and help you. Speaking with and using your career services office when searching for a position is always a good idea. Being on their radar is extremely useful.

My Experience with Law School Career Services

In my career, I have hired graduates from local law schools in the Los Angeles area after directly calling the local career services office. They were able to give me the names of people I should interview. This has helped me find some of my best employees. 

Many career services offices will send employers the resume of everyone they know looking for work. However, many tell the employer something to the effect of "you should speak to this person; you will like them." If you impress the career services office, they will go to bat for you. 

I have never heard any career services office say something terrible about an attorney or law student. However, I have heard them go to bat for people numerous times.

See Also:
How to Use Your Career Services Office to Find a Position

Get on the career services office's radar if you are serious about having a successful legal career after graduating from law school. Once you are, you should stay in touch and review listings and other announcements from them. 

It is an excellent idea to meet with your career services office and check in with them periodically. The more familiar you become with them, the more likely they will remember you when job opportunities arise. In addition, sign up for job alerts if your school has a private job site. Also, take advantage of the cover letter, resume, and other online and in-person workshops and resources they might have.

Finding a Legal Job — In Conclusion

You can get the legal job you desire if you widen the search as much as possible. To do this, use fantastic search opportunities like networking, job sites, targeted email campaigns, and legal recruiters. If you are still at law school, connect with your career services office and use their resources. 

Ideally, if possible, you should employ all of these in your legal job search. Your objective is to track down every opportunity, then speak and interview everyone you possibly can.

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.

AGREE/DISAGREE? SHARE COMMENTS ANONYMOUSLY! We Want to Hear Your Thoughts! Tell Us What You Think!!

Related Articles

We've changed thousands of lives over the past 20 years, and yours could be next.

When you use BCG Attorney Search you will get an unfair advantage because you will use the best legal placement company in the world for finding permanent law firm positions.