What Should I Do About My Résumé or Strategies to Maximize My Chance for Law Firm Offers? | BCGSearch.com

What Should I Do About My Résumé or Strategies to Maximize My Chance for Law Firm Offers?


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This article advises someone with an MBA interested in employment law and working in a law firm. It outlines strategies for crafting a résumé that highlights relevant experience and suggestions for researching firms and networking. There are many labor and employment law firms across the U.S., ranging from major players like Littler Mendelson, Jackson Lewis, and FordHarrison to local options. With the right résumé, networking, and research, finding a job in the employment law sector is possible.
Can You Advise What I Should Do About My Résumé or Strategies to Maximize My Chance for Law Firm Offers?
  • What should job seekers focus on to maximize their chances of landing an attorney job in a law firm?
    Job seekers should emphasize any experience related to employment on their résumé and consider removing their GPA if they went to a top-tier school. Networking is also helpful, as it can help connect people with the right firms specializing in labor and employment law.
  • What are some of the most well-known companies for labor and employment law?
    Some of the more popular labor and employment law companies include Littler Mendelson, Jackson Lewis, FordHarrison, and local firms in each city.
  • How difficult is it to switch from working in-house in administrative law to a law firm?
    It can be challenging to switch and requires the networking to connect with the right firms specializing in labor and employment law. Additionally, job seekers should remove anything on their résumé that doesn't relate to the job they're looking for.
  • What are the different types of employment law jobs?
    There are two main employment law jobs – plaintiff and defense. Plaintiff employment jobs are typically easier to get, while defense requires more research into the market and applying to several firms.
  • Can an MBA help someone looking for an attorney job in a law firm?
    Yes, law firms often seek MBAs as they bring a business-related background to the role. Job seekers with an MBA need to highlight their experience related to employment on their résumé.

I graduated with a JD degree from a top law school with a B plus average, and I'm interested in employment law. I also passed the bar exam. I've got a minimum. Unfortunately, I've not been able to get secure any law firm jobs.

I got offers from quite a few companies for employer relations and manager positions. I have eight years of experience working six years as a paralegal materials and HR. With the current crisis, I feel I should keep my job. But the longer I wait, the harder it will be for me to land an attorney job in a law firm. Can you advise what I should do about my résumé jobs or strategies to maximize my chance for law firm offers?
Okay, the first thing to do is take your GPA off. If you went to a great school—T14 is a great school—that's fine. I don't understand why you got an MBA if you are interested in employment law. But it depends on what type of employment law you're interested in. But if you took any type of employment law classes and so forth in your MBA program, that would be useful. What I'm concerned about with your particular background is most people who get MBAs are interested in doing corporate related work, not litigation or employment law.
Then the other thing about HR that you're doing is that it's not necessarily adverse. You're working for a company. And those are actually very good jobs, by the way, working inside of companies to HR. I know lots of employment attorneys. I know one who worked in a major law firm and then went to work in-house. He is the head of HR now, and it's a very much more lucrative position—better hours and so forth. But the thing is, should you keep your job, or try to get a job in a law firm?
Well, people who get MBAs too, by the way, are typically not as interested in writing and arguing. It sounds like you did well. I don't know why you are interested in HR or employment law. I would think you might do much better in business-related areas. But typically, law firms love to hire MBAs. You have a couple of different options. You need to highlight anything to do with employment on your résumé.
It is hard to get into a law firm. When you want to do employment law and you are not working in a law firm, and you're working in-house in administrative law, that's a hard switch to make. You can do it. But the way to do it, I think is, I've done some stuff on networking. But before you can network in, you need to get anything off your résumé that looks like it's not related to what they want to do. There are different types of employment law jobs. There are plaintiff employment jobs, which aren't that difficult to get, and there are also defense employment jobs. I don't know which one you're interested in.
But I would think defense, and the way to really find one of those firms is to research in whatever market you want to work in. Apply to lots of them, and you can definitely get a job. If you're in a major US market, there are probably 100 plus firms that do it. You may not get a job in a major firm. But as a general rule, in most cities, there are certain firms that do nothing but Labor and Employment Law. They may be interested in you. You have places like Littler Mendelson, Jackson Lewis, FordHarrison, and more. I mean, there are lots and lots of them. Then, there are also local ones in every city.
So, I would network, but I would also apply to all the firms that do labor and employment—both plaintiff and defense. I don't think you'd have any problem getting a job if you do that.

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.

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