07202022 How to Select the Right Practice Area and Position Your Resume for Success in Your Legal Search pt. 1
[00:00:00] All right. Yeah, I apologize. I was actually sick last week. I had COVID just not all pleasant. It's like a pretty good nightmare. We can not get that. That's a good thing. It was the first time I had it. So the this is a little bit different presentation that I had scheduled for today, but I wanted to talk about this because this is a big problem that I've seen in in resumes and in, in job searches in general.
And I'll also, hopefully next week we can do a resume workshop where we talk about where you can also send your resume to me as well. And then I'll go over it after removing your identifying information in the webinar. But this is a pretty important topic. It's it's about at this, what we're talking about today, I'll take questions after this.
But it's one of the things that I've noticed at BCG law crossing in most of our companies is that people are really just in doing a lot of harm to themselves with their resumes and their practice area selections and the type of work and so forth that they're trying to do.
And and I it doesn't, by the way, it doesn't matter what type of work you do. I make, if you are an insurance defense [00:01:00] attorney or worker's compensation attorney or a corporate attorney or whatever you are, it doesn't really matter to me. Anybody that's very focused in terms of their practice area and and positions their resume correctly is much better off it's more important than where you go to law school in terms of getting interviews is more important than anything.
And one of the things that I've seen. And this is just for your benefit, regardless of your seniority level regardless of your if you're a law student, maybe we, this is, you can learn something about this, but nothing hurts. Anybody's legal career, more than a resume.
That's not focused on a single practice area. And a resume, that's not focused on a single practice area. I'll talk a lot about what that means, but people that have resumes that are all over the place, doing bunch of different things very rarely get anywhere near as many interviews as people are focused.
And again, you could have one of, some of the worst resumes by the way, are people that go to Yale law school, because they typically are all over the place and no one wants to touch them. People will touch them in government and stuff where efficiency doesn't matter, but in the business world, [00:02:00] no they won't get jobs.
People trying to get jobs in multiple practice areas, if you only do one thing is really dumb. If you are a patent attorney and trying to be a corporate attorney, no one is going to hire you to do that. If you are a. Environmental attorney and trying to be an employment attorney. No, one's gonna hire you to do that unless they're insane.
And there are employers that are insane, but no one know what, where we're on business that serves the public is going to do that. And they just don't. And so if you are insurance attorney insurance coverage, which is a great practice area, and you think you can be an employment attorney, no one in their right mind is going to interview you for that job, unless there's something wrong with the firm.
And I just want everyone to understand what I'm saying, because this is just these mistakes are. Our catastrophic and they're on so many resumes. I can't, almost every resume that I see is, has a lot of problems. And then the other thing that people do, which I it blows my mind.
I don't know why anyone would do this, but they put themselves on the side [00:03:00] of very divisive, social, political, and other issues look at how upset people are about decisions by the Supreme court about things like D abortion look how much people hate Republicans and how much Republicans hate Democrats.
There is like a social war going on. Why in the world would anybody in the right mind decide that they want to put the their feelings about one of these issues on their resume, you would have to be out of your mind. And yet 50, 60% of the resumes they look at do that. I don't know why anybody in the right mind would do that.
You literally have to be crazy. Why would you. Decide. You can still get a job if you say if you put all these divisive, social and political and thing issues on your resume, because someone will look at that and say, I'm like that I wanna hire this person, but half the people generally are on half the country as Republicans, half of'em are Democrats.
It's, you're eliminating yourself from half the jobs and that could be one of the jobs that you're interested and people, I don't know why people are so fired up about these social issues. I try [00:04:00] to have to pay attention because it's just but you do not list this stuff on your resume.
You have to, and again you're welcome to do it, but you're eliminating yourself from a substantial portion of employers. Why would you do that? I don't know. I don't get it. Like I, I'm sorry to get so emotional about this, but it's ridiculous. Everybody puts the stuff on their resume that has nothing to do with practicing law.
That takes sides on an issue. And immediately the employer is going to take sides and Wow. Okay. That's a problem now when a law firm looks at your resume your resume needs to look like you're a good fit for that practice area. And this is a very important point as well. And what that means is you need to look like you're interested in one practice area.
So if I see a resume and I see these resumes all the time, the person talks about how they were entertainment, law society, how they clerked for a entertainment company in law school. And before law school, how they they were, did entertainment. Pre-law society in college. I don't know.
They have all this entertainment stuff on there. And then [00:05:00] meanwhile, they're a tax attorney. And and of course they're gonna wanna look at, of course they don't wanna practice tax law. They wanna be an entertainment attorney. You don't put things on your resume that are going to detract the employer from what you're interested in.
If your resume doesn't look like you're interested in one practice area then the employer has no reason to hire you and they won't. They're gonna hire people that look like they're committed and wanna do one thing. Now, there are bad employers out there. There are poorly run businesses.
And so someone may hire you, but it's probably not a good, a well run business. If they hire you to work there it's a, you sh no one would you hire. A a roofer who looks like he eats nails for breakfast to, to watch your children because, and he's saying I'm, I wanna work in a house.
So I'm just applying to your house too. No, it doesn't work that way. Or I'm also interested in taking care of children. No, this is not how employers think they don't. You wouldn't think that way either if you were hiring someone to work in your house and again, you're putting your position on social issues, like abortion, capital, punishment, and stuff on your [00:06:00] resume is like playing Russian RLE.
Like why who does that? Like your political party, what in the world are you thinking? Like, why would you put that on your resume? It's going to no, one's unless you wanna work. Like there are firms, Perkins Cooey is a lobbying firm and they have a lot of lobbying they do in DC and they do it for one political party and there's firms where that stuff is very important.
But for the most part it's not now a lot of, plaintiff's firms are almost, are very overwhelmingly democratic, but they're not all Democrats. A lot of 'em are run by Republicans that are very conservative. I You just have to be careful. So you may think that it's a, when you go to and the thing I don't like a lot of times about A lot of, education is that that a lot of education will basically push you to do think it's important for you to look like a certain way.
And and that always does not work. If you go to a Southern college where there's a lot of Republicans, I mean that they're gonna make you think that it's really good to be conservative. If you go to other types of colleges, they may make it like Republican democratic. [00:07:00] And the point is that all this political and social issues, when you list this on your resume you're going to alienate people and you're gonna disqualify yourself from a huge percent of jobs.
I just don't get it, like even in, within a law firm, like in a law firm, not everybody is a Republican or Democrat. But if if 10 PE, if you are interviewing with five people and two of them are hardcore Republicans that hate Democrats, who knows what they're gonna think if they see you're far, you're a far left person.
You just have to be careful. And so a lot of people leave this stuff on their resume and I don't like that either. The other thing is that. A lot of times people and especially young attorneys are very proud that that they worked on a corporate contract, even though they're a litigator or they're very proud that they filed the trademark application, even though they're a fricking pat.
I don't know some other kind of practice area. If you start putting stuff on your, if you're applying for a job doing one thing and you have all this other stuff on your resume, all the employers gonna think is this person does a lot of different things. And I would rather hire someone who's focused on my [00:08:00] practice area.
So they don't care. The other thing, too, this is another thing I just want everyone to understand is. You may be very interested in something like I dunno, you may be a litigator, very interested in environmental law. That's great, but no one in their right mind is going to hire someone and the people that get a job of environmental law, by the way, typically were doing environmental related stuff in college.
They might have been an environmental engineer at some point after college, they might have been, they were on environmental journals and they off school and they might have worked for the government doing environmental work. That's what an environmental attorney looks like. An environmental attorney does not look like.
I did this and this, everything on their resume speaks to what they do. So again, if you wanna be an employment attorney there, there should be a lot of interest in that, on your, your resume has to look like you are that type of attorney and and law firms care, especially about that.
So they care whether or not you can do their work and whether or not you're interested in that work and whether or not it looks like that's what you wanna be doing. So those are the three things that they're looking [00:09:00] at. And the reason I'm being so emotional about this, and I don't know emotional is the right word, but that is because so many people, like most attorneys are disqualifying themselves from jobs because of this.
It's crazy. If a law firm has can afford to pay you and most of them are going to have pretty sophisticated clients and those clients are gonna have a lot of money to spend. So the only way that law firm can hold onto those clients and service 'em properly is that they have people working on things that understand the practice area and there are committed to it.
And if you look like you don't understand the practice area, or you're interested in a bunch of different practice areas and and you're more interested and you're more interested in social causes then that's not good. No one wants dabblers. Law firms don't hire dabblers.
And no one hires dabblers. A dabbler is someone. Tries one thing tries another may wanna do this in the future, may do this. And and that's not good. If you were, again, if you were hiring someone to to be to do brain surgery on you. Okay. And you had a doc and you were hiring a doctor and you went to see [00:10:00] someone, he said, oh, I was a, or she said, I was a I've been a foot doctor.
I used to be a psychiatrist. And then I also really enjoyed being a I dunno, heart surgeon for a while. And for the past couple months I've been really interested in the brain and I'm gonna, I'm and I'm excited to operate on you. No, one's gonna hire someone like that. This is the same thought process that that, that employers go through.
No, one's gonna hire someone. That's interested in a bunch of different things. People wanna hire people that they can say are experts and that have things in their resume and make them look like experts. And that, that are very interested in something. If I'm a if I'm hired to be a a finance attorney and everything on my resume talks about how I enjoy writing and how I very involved in the I don't know, the.
Social policy and that's not a finance attorney. So a finance attorney is a certain type of attorney. I think we all know the kind of person they are and that's the kind of person you'd want to do your finance. So unfocused resumes, they waste the time of job seekers. Like you will not get interviews.
[00:11:00] If you have an unfocused resume, if you have a focused resume, by the way, you'll get lots of interviews. And let me just explain to you like how important this is. Anytime I see a family law attorney that applies to us. If they're a family law attorney, that's what they do. The odds are very good that I'll work with them and get them lots of interviews.
It doesn't matter if they went to the worst law school imaginable, they're still gonna get interviews. Same thing with an insurance defense attorney, same thing with a worker's comp attorney same thing with a corporate attorney the, if you are focused in whatever you do, it doesn't have to be the most prestig.
You can be plaintiff's personal injury law. It doesn't matter if you're focused, you will get lots of interviews. It has nothing to do. And I want everyone to understand this, nothing to do with where you went to law school, it has nothing to do with how well you did in law school. None of that stuff matters.
The only thing that matters is having focused the, again, the worst resumes they often see are people that went to the best law school. If you go to Harvard or top 10 law school or wherever it is, I many times that's the worst thing that could possibly happen to you because you'll come out [00:12:00] and think you can do anything and do a bunch of different things.
And eventually people will see your resume and be like, what the hell does this person do? I don't wanna hire them. They don't know what they wanna do. Whereas if you come out as some fourth tier law school and you get hired to be a consumer bankruptcy attorney if you want another consumer bankruptcy attorney job, I could probably get you 50 interviews.
Honestly, it's true. So it's the point is that the focus is very important. If you have focus you will do well. And and if you don't have focus, it's gonna waste your time. It's gonna waste the time of employers. It's gonna waste the time of everybody involved. And and again, I see these resumes all day long.
If I have a hundred candidates that are selecting practice areas in BCG, so they come into the database and they look and you can do it on BCG. You can do it on law crossing. You can do it on most job sites. They'll they'll say, this is what I do. So I'll say, I'll send an email.
You've probably gotten one from me before, what is it you do? I say, I, you listed yourself as a commercial litigator, is that correct? And 95% of the time people [00:13:00] will actually get it wrong. They will select something they'll select well, I'm commercial litigator, but I. I really feel like I'm more of a would like to be more of an employment litigator.
So I'm gonna select that even though I've only done 20% employment, something along those lines. So people will always select incorrect practice areas. And the problem with selecting incorrect practice areas is if you select the in practice areas, you're gonna get the incorrect jobs from us, and you're gonna be applying in incorrect jobs and the employers are gonna see the incorrect practice area and won't hire you.
Why would they hire someone that's only done 20% employment law for an employment job? Just because you're special. No, that's not how it works. And so people waste their time doing this stuff all night, day long. That would be like me going on a dating site. And and trying to, I don't know, date people that are, I don't know, but I have nothing.
It doesn't make any sense I, or date people in that don't even speak English in some foreign country. I'll never meet. There's not gonna be any reciprocal interest. It doesn't make sense that it's just The [00:14:00] 5% of people that get lots of interviews. And I, when I say lots of interviews, I've had people like, like a 20 year attorney in Colorado with no business decides, oh, I'm gonna move to this rural county in Wisconsin.
And there's. 10 law firms in that rural county and that do family law, all 10 interviewer, all 10, very small, smallest law firm, maybe two people, the rest of 'em. So the point is that lawyers and will get interviews when they're focused. And if your resume is not focused, then you're not gonna get interviews.
And because 95% of the resumes out there are not focused. And here's another example of an unfocused resume. So let's say right now, you're doing well anyway, I'll give more examples later. But the point is that the law firms, when you're trying to get a job the only thing that really sells is market focus.
It now you do need to have really good qualifications to work in certain big firms and focus and things like that. But I'm just talking about getting a job and to get a job, the most [00:15:00] important thing, and to get the best job you can is to have focus. So let's say I went to a third tier law school and which is, I dunno what a third tier law school would be, but let's say I go to let's university or old miss for law school, which is, fine law school.
It's not a, it's it's fine. And I practice It's the kind of a typical I don't know. I practice employment defense. If my resume's focused I may be able to get into one of the best one, a good firm I'm probably not gonna get a job at a mayor brown or something like that.
But if I'm very focused, I can get into a good national firm. If my resume's all over the place, all of a sudden, if I talk, if I'm saying I'm doing employment and doing employment, I'll do some litigation. I do a little corporate. I'm gonna get into like a regional small firm because no one focus wins.
It doesn't, it's most the most important thing. Any practice area you're in family law, immigration trust in the states, workers, compensation, personal injury plaintiff's attorney. [00:16:00] It doesn't matter. If you are focused on one of these practice areas, you will get more interviews than someone at the top of their class from a number one or number two, or number three or four or five school that shows a lack of commitment.
You'll get more interviews and you will be able to get into a better firm than than someone from a top law school. What happens to most top law school people is someone will have a go to a law school that would normally entitle them. And I say entitled because it's almost an entitlement to work at a very good firm in New York or, Los Angeles, Chicago or Houston or big, very big city.
And but they won't focus. Their resume. Won't be focused. So instead of being able to qualify to work in the best law firm they jump down a couple levels. And so they go to the same. They can only get jobs in the types of law firms that they would be able to get jobs at. If they'd gone to a second year law school, for example, this is what most people do.
And then a lot of people that are very focused may go to a fourth year law school, but can get the same types of jobs that people that [00:17:00] went to a top 50 law school went that, because their focus. So it's just so focus is really the most important thing. It's the most important qualification that you have in a legal market.
It's really the only thing that matters. You can I've seen people like that are focused. It's unbelievable, by the way, you may be focused on something as simple as representing I don't know doing I could tell you stories all day long. I've seen attorneys that are like working in a five person firm that became very interested in some aspect of litigation.
It could be I don't know, suing companies that violate privacy policies or something. I don't know. Just, that's just an example. And all of a sudden, they're working at one of the top 10 prestigious firms in the country after 10 years or something because of that focus.
And they've got all sorts of clients want focus, law firms want focus, everybody wants focus. If you're focused, you can get interviews anywhere. You can get in any city you can move from rural Kansas to New York. It just, the focus is huge. People that want focus also get clients and and people that aren't [00:18:00] focused never are good investments because those people do not know what they wanna do.
And and clients don't like it employers don't like it there's just nothing that helps. And most employee or most people you included? Probably think the most important thing to getting hired is having good qualifications working in a big firm, not true. You may think that the most important thing to getting hired is having worked on a bunch of different matters and you wanna like catalog everything that you've done on your resume, not true.
You may think that because you are. Very passionate about one side of the abortion debate, or very passionate about your political party, that other people that you're sending your resume to are gonna all share your passion and advance you because of that, or because of, because you're a certain whatever your background or your, whatever you think is important in your background in terms of your identity you think that's gonna really help you and wow.
It's all wrong. So here's the truth about getting hired by 90% of the [00:19:00] firms? There's different prestige levels of firms. So again, you are not qualified. Most people are not qualified to get a job at Tel or Cravath. That's never going to change. You are never gonna get a job there. Most people, unless you get a job there outta law school you might be able to get a job in solvent and CRO or something as a lateral at some point, if you do really well.
But the odds are probably pretty far against that too. There's certain things that are set in stone, not much but certain things you could get a job at lots of firms, Dentons and things. Even if you went to a third or fourth tier law school, if you're very committed to a practice here and do well.
But most, in most cases, there's certain firms you're not gonna get jobs with. It's just, they just have certain rules and you have to, it's like getting into a college. You can't go to Stanford. If you get, 800 on your SATs, it's just not gonna happen. But for the most part you can, you, you can, everyone can get a job and you can get a job appropriate to qualifications and probably better [00:20:00] than your qualifications, if your resume's focused.
So if your resume's very focused and you normally would work, be entitled to work in a very small consumer firm, you might be able to get into the best consumer firm. There is, or even a little bit better than that. So most law firms, almost all of them care more about the focus of your experience than your qualifications, which means your law school or your current employers.
They really, that's all they're looking for. They're looking at your resume. And and they're seeing that they're, if they start seeing all sorts of different things, that becomes a liability. And also the less you look like you're interested in practicing law and the more interest you look in, like social issues.
The more, the less interested the law firms will be in you. So I see the most insane things all day long. I don't know what's happened to this country, but and again, I'm not criticizing it, but but these are things that people are doing on their resumes that are hurting them. So people will have gone to a great law school, like they'll have gone to Columbia and they will have been like, a Harlem fish, stone scholar and the top third of their class [00:21:00] and done all these great things.
And then they then you'll see their resume and they'll list all these social causes, which is fine. And then they'll list that they're at this big law firm could be a great law firm. It might be like, I don't know very good law firm. They'll be at a very good law firm in a big city.
And then they'll list all the pro bono work they're doing right at the beginning, like of their resume of their description and half the description of what the three, like every single line, except for one line of the, we'll talk about how they're doing all this pro bono work. And then they might say, Was a member of the M and a department.
What as if all this pro bono work is more important for you to get hired than the fact that you're a murders and acquisitions attorney. This is literally what I see on resumes all day long. I don't know what's going on, but law firms want to be you to be interested in your practice area.
And and so if you care about the stuff I would really look at some resume review things I've done. But this lack of focus in your resumes [00:22:00] is is really harmful. And by the way if you wanna list all the pro bono work you've done on your experience of your resume, you will very rarely get anywhere near as many interviews as you should like.
And if a law firm interviews you it's usually because someone wasn't paying attention and brought you in. But no one's gonna interview someone who the focus of their resume for a law firm is pro bono. Now I'm not, I have no problem with it pro bono. I think it's a great thing. And I think it's, everyone should do pro bono, but at the point I'm making is when the law firm's hiring you, they want someone that's focused on what they're doing, they don't, and then that, that, and that's what they wanna see.
They don't wanna see that. This other stuff. And and if a law firm hires someone who's on focused and wants to do something else, or is interested in 10 different practice areas that's not gonna help them. And it's gonna hurt you. Like why would you, why would someone spend, if you're smart enough to go to Columbia law school and be on the top [00:23:00] of your class, wouldn't you be smart enough to know what to put on your resume to get a job anywhere?
So your resume needs to look like you're a committed specialist if you want to get hired. And and again, I'm gonna keep going over this because this is again, if I look at a hundred resumes, I see 95 people making this mistake. So unless the law firm, and there are small law firms in and in in, in different errors of the country that have generalists in them.
And that's fine. It could be in a rural area where the attorney's forced to do all sorts of different types of work. It could be a small law firm or solo practitioner that takes whatever walks in the door. But there's very few solo practitioners that are generalists.
And and if and most law firms, if they hire a generalist Are not gonna be in business very long or they're gonna have a difficult time paying you because they're taking whatever they get and no one's seeking them out for their specialists as a specialist. They're just the law firm's taking whatever work they get.
And this is just how the [00:24:00] business world works. People hire people that are, know what they're doing, not those who do not. And they also hire people who wanna do the sort of work they're doing, not people who would rather be doing something else. So I've hired lots of people in my career. Lots of people and every hundreds of people, probably thousands.
And every time I've hired someone that looks like they wanna be doing something else, they always do something else. Anytime I hire someone that has an interest in whatever if a very strong interest in whether they're extremely conservative or whether they're extremely liberal, that always comes out and they're, employment and and so that it's and affects the, so people wanna hire people.
That're doing the sort of work they're doing and not peop anybody that would be hired and willing to do something else. Just think about yourself. Would you wanna if you went to I don't know to to get, I don't know to, to if you were gonna pay 30, I just realize this cuz someone was te talking about, if you were gonna pay $30,000 to get your car painted would you go to some guy that said he's really, he, painting [00:25:00] cars is okay for him, but he would, much rather be a stockbroker.
And that's really what he spends all his time studying his stocks and, he paints it's fine, you would want someone, if you were gonna spend that kind of money, that would loved doing nothing, but painting cars. I mean that at least I would, if I had a choice of spending $30,000 on some guy that loved it and was a, was his whole life or someone that wanted do something else, I would hire the person that wanted to do nothing but that.
So the resume that looks like the person wants to do a bunch of different things is always gonna be SU suspect. I have made thousands of placements and when I say thousands like and I'm not bragging here, but I make placements pretty much every day of the week. And sometimes several placements a day.
It's not it's because I've been doing this a long time and I have some understanding in the market. As a person, I probably make more placements than, maybe there's a placement firm that makes more placements than I personally make. But but the point is that all the placements that I make as a person I don't think I've ever placed a general.
I may have I, I don't remember placing a generalist. I'm sure. I do, but I can tell you that every single [00:26:00] placement that I make and I get lots and lots of interviews every day. And but every person that gets a job is almost always a and gets interviews is almost always a specialist.
If they say that they do litigation corporate and employment on their resume I don't think I have anybody that I place like that. They just don't get jobs. I, as someone that, that, that does this at the level that I do it, which there's and I'm not bragging, but but I've doing nothing but this for quarter century I don't think I've ever placed a generalist.
They just, and that would be out of probably millions of applications that I've given to millions or law to law firms. So I want you to think about that, cuz how really what I'm saying. People get hired by almost every law firm. Now I have made placements that, with solo practitioners and things in small towns, but even that the person was being hired to do one thing almost all the time or hired for their expertise, they weren't hired because they did 15 different things.
No one says, wow, this is great. This corporate attorney also does litigation. Isn't that [00:27:00] awesome. I can give 'em some litigation work too. No, that's not what they think. They think the exact opposite. So people, every law firm almost regardless of where it is or who it is or what is hiring people to do one thing, that's it.
Okay. That is it. It needs to be very specific and the more specific, the better, and the more expertise you have in something the better. So if you're doing right now, you're doing corporate law corporate, and your last job, you're doing litigation. You better make it look like you were just working in a law firm in your freaking previous job.
You do not wanna talk about how you were a flake because you're now doing something else. And I'm not saying you're a flake, but people aren't gonna like that. Why is this person, why can't they stick with something I'm gonna hire someone that can't. So the more expertise you have the better the legal jobs and again, millions of submissions, millions, meaning I have just, I don't wanna get into it, but hundreds of thousands of attorneys that have that have worked with my companies and I, I don't, again, some specialists probably I've probably hired some, [00:28:00] gotten some generalist jobs.
I just, they don't stick out. But I can tell you specialists always get jobs. It's the way it works. They always get jobs. They, every single one of 'em, it doesn't matter. If they stick with it with either me or on their own or however they get a job people will always hire a specialist.
And again, I don't remember having placed journalists and this is hundreds of placements I make per year. And I'm not bragging to tell you that I'm telling you that because I have experience doing this and I wanna drive home the point. I want you to believe me that there's nothing that's helping you having a bunch of stuff on your resume.
Now I've worked with tens of thousands of attorneys that have, against my advice and everything I'm saying to you now have insisted on crafting their resumes to look like I do 15 different things. And and tell them what I'm telling you now. And most don't listen. So the average, the average law student or someone will then young attorney and old attorney will decide that everything that they've done in the past is [00:29:00] really great.
And then they need to really show people all the experience they have. And unfortunately, that's just not the way it works. Like the law firms that are hiring you, almost all of them wanna hire people that, that want them to do one thing. You make your prac, you make your resume look like about one practice area and that's it.
I don't care. You can talk about different things, but if I'm like a, I've had in instances where I'm just thinking of one, not too long ago, I had a girl that had gone to really good law school. She, I think she got to Stanford law school. She was in Los Angeles and she was doing plaintiff's employment litigation, which is very there's not a lot of people in doing that that went to Stanford law school in I think she was in LA or Riverside or something, but but she would not get no one in the defense place.
No defense law firm would interview her because that's different than mean employment defense. It's different than doing plaintiff's work. So the point is that you need to make your resume look about, about one practice here. When I say [00:30:00] plaintiff and defense employment litigation, those two are different.
So just keep in mind a girl from Stanford law school very smart girl. I think she was from a, a a diversity candidate as well, but great background and but incredible academics. And I might have even had an appellate clerkship or something and no, no one would interview her to do defense because she was plaintiffs.
And so the point is that like in plaintiffs, people would interview her all day long, but that's how granular you need to be. You have to get references to practice area on your resume off there that have nothing to do with your focus. So if you're doing I dunno federal tax. And you did a little bit of state tax once or you've got 10% state tax experience.
I don't think it's a good idea to put that 10% state tax experience on there. So when you look at our database in BCG, for example, if you're a candidate and you should be because if you are focused, I don't care what you think you, your how prestigious you are, and you can get plenty of jobs with us.
No problem. But you need to select a practice [00:31:00] area that, that matches what you do and your resume needs to be about that. And you need to apply to jobs that were that that we are focused on that experience. So very focused, meaning, if you do municipal litigation, that's your practice area.
It's not commercial litigation, it's not environmental. You have to stick with your focus and because if you wanna be a generalist you're going to get jobs that are beneath your pay grade, meaning you could do much better. If I wanna and again, I'm not saying The size of the firm's important.
I'm not saying money's important. I'm not saying the size of the city, your in is important, but if you try to be a generalist we rank firms from one to five. So five would be experience, representing the biggest companies in the world on vet the company cases, the most prestigious hardest firms to get jobs in.
And then one would be working with consumers that don't have a lot of money to spend. Two would be consumers, maybe with a little bit more money to spend and maybe small businesses, but, 1, 2, 3, 4, and fives. That's how we [00:32:00] rank firms. So if you are a four candidate, meaning you, or if you wanna if if you're, if you wanna work in like a five firm.
And you're not fo no five firm is gonna hire someone who's not focused if you are, but they a five firm may hire someone that if you could normally get a job, for example, in a only in a three firm and that's your experience and prestige of your schools and everything, but all, but you are very focused.
You may be able to get a job in a four firm because you normally could only get a job in a two or three firm. So the point is that you're gonna get better jobs with bigger firms making more money where things are more focused. If you are very, if your resume is very focused and no one cares.
For example, if the trademark attorney once worked on a corporate transaction they're gonna hire someone, who's done nothing but a trademark attorney. And if I was a law firm, I would hire the person that's written papers about being a trademark attorney. That's done all sorts of things about being a trademark attorney.
If you're a corporate attorney, no one cares. [00:33:00] If you did a trademark months, it just makes you look, it makes you look weak. It makes you look like you're unfocused. And and if you've done four different practice areas in the past three years, which is okay, by the way, I'm not saying there's anything wrong with that.
People have to get experience and you have to understand what you like, what you're doing, but from the employers standpoint no one cares what you did in the past. You just need to speak about what you're doing now, and then And then deemphasize what you've done in the past. It's not helping you it's doing profound harm to you.
So if you think it's cool that you did some entertainment law, and then now you're doing litigation and and then before entertainment law, you'd worked at a corporate law firm. No, it's gonna, none of this is good. It's very bad. So you can do what you want. But your resume needs to really focus on one thing.
If you want to get the best job you possibly can. And again, people get jobs all the time with all this stuff on their resume. Otherwise that the 95% of people that have this, these mistakes on their resume would not [00:34:00] get jobs for me. And I certainly get people jobs, but I only get them jobs by I get a lot more of this 5% that focus their stuff than the ones that don't.
So you can talk literally about any practice here you want on your resume. You can talk about corporate and patent and all these different things, but just, I want you to understand that it's like a, it's like an exam. So I was when I started college it's funny, but I'll just tell you this is a, a, an example that I haven't thought about in a while, but I was in my second semester of college and And and I decided that I don't know what it was, but I decided that I was just going to get all I decided that I wanted to get really good grades.
I, and and so I was just asking, talking to a teacher or something, a professor, and he said, the idea is that when you turn in a paper if there are remarks and the teacher says this doesn't make sense, or these are typos and things, or, you get a one or two of those, you go from an a, to an, a minus, you get three or four, you go to a B.
And he said, all you need to do is [00:35:00] just, put together very good arguments. There has, they have to be and there has to be none, you have to make sure that your grammar and stuff's good. And then the arguments, there has to be no way for the key people have to take a look at your logic and stuff and say, I agree with that.
That makes sense. And if they can't say, if they can't take that, do that to your. To your, the things you're writing, then they have to give you an a, and that's just how it works. And all of a sudden I went, from a, like a, I dunno, maybe a B plus student to just every paper, like just figure that out.
And so the point is that and it works like, this is how it works. This is how employers read your resume too. They read it and they look for inconsistencies. So if they see some inconsistencies, you're automatically like, you go from really good to bad it's just, this is how it works. It doesn't matter if you went to Yale law school or what you do.
But if you have these inconsistencies and an employer can look at it and say, wait a minute, that doesn't make sense. What the hell is pat law doing on a corporate attorney resume? Then you suddenly go down because it looks like you're less interested. It looks like you're [00:36:00] inconsistent. It looks like you don't know what you wanna do.
So you can talk about as many practice heres as you like, it's, that's your responsibility. You can make arguments in a paper in law school or whatever, or where, and people can write that doesn't make sense five times, and then you, but you're gonna go down. Your grades are gonna go down.
So if you talk more practice here, as you talk about, if you resume. You have a resume and all it talks about is how your mergers and acquisitions attorney that's an a, someone's gonna absolutely, I don't care. If you have 25 years of experience in no business, I can get you a job. I don't care if you went to a third tier law school.
And if all your resume talks about is mergers and acquisitions, I can get you lots of jobs all over the country. But if you start talking about how you do mergers and litigation and stuff, your resume goes from an a to a B the first time you talk about another practice here and then do a C the second time and so forth, it just drops dramatically.
And and law firms are looking for ABES. Of course [00:37:00] they are. They hire people with consistent interest and a focus on a practice area. So if you think it's cool to have done a bunch of things all it's showing is lack of long term commitment and a risk for the law firm. And and the law firms will avoid you.
You would do the same again. Would you hire someone. To operate on your brain. Who's been doing so for six months and there's ly been a foot doctor, eye doctor, a radiologist. No you wouldn't. I listen to people that have gotten sick all the time whether it's whatever it is. They say, oh, I, I got cancer.
And then they say, oh, I went to the, I went to this I went to this, I dunno, this MD, this special clinic in Houston. And my doctor is the guy that wrote the book on this. And and he he's so special. He went to, did this and this is, and he also operated on the president.
I don't know, but the, these sort, this is how people talk about their doctors. People talk about their attorneys the same way. So if you had an, if you were accused of a horrible crime would you wanna and it wasn't true. Would you wanna go see a corporate attorney, [00:38:00] honestly, like you would find the best attorney you could and you would say, oh, my attorney represented Bernie Madoff and did this, or whatever.
don't know what I'm just giving you some examples, but you would, this is how you would do it. And so this is the same thing people do with their attorneys. They wanna hire people that are good. So what sort of hospitals gonna hire someone to be a brain surgeon? That's been a foot doctor, eye doctor, and a radiologist.
Think about that. And what if the brain surgeon's saying yeah, but I was interested in those things and I think the foot's really fascinating. No, absolutely not. No. So again, what kind of patient would trust the brain to someone like that? Would you trust your, if again, if you were accused of murder, would you trust a corporate attorney to defend you?
Would you wanna, if you had a patent to write, would you wanna hire someone that was an environmental attorney? Good. Lo this is the stuff that people do with their resumes all the time. No one cares by the way that if they if you're trying to get a job [00:39:00] at a giant law firm, no one cares that you did some pro bono work in the jungle in Brazil fighting deforestation or something for the last year.
No. One's interested in that. They would be insane to hire someone like that because that person is probably not going to commit and not be a good person to document a merger between a few first few fortunate 100 companies they're interested in something else. That's not a good decision, and I wanna ask you and everyone just so you understand, when you start doing stuff like this, are you out of your mind? okay. Do you think that like that a law firm that needs people to represent a large company and stick around because they're hiring you and it's a lot of money for them to pay you.
It's a lot of money for them to train you. They're they, they, don't not need that. People are proud that they get experience doing different things. The litigator thinks it's cool that they got experience writing a corporate contract. I saw a resume the other day, or the person was calling themselves a corporate attorney that had been a [00:40:00] litigator for five years.
And their only claim to mean a corporate attorney was that they had they had written helped a a business, sell a piece of equipment by writing a contract. I'm serious. It's this is the kind of lunacy that is going on resumes and it doesn't it's upsetting. And I'm not trying to be mean to anybody specifically here, but this is what's going on in the world and this is why people aren't getting the jobs here they should.
And you, people can only get jobs. If they look focused and again, there are bad employers out there, there are employers that make mistakes and they employers make mistakes all the time, by the way, and they make horrible mistakes. And and it, you may have gotten jobs when an employer has made mistakes before people do not pay attention all sorts of things.
And so people, the wrong people do get hired all the time. I'm not saying this doesn't happen, but consistently is a consistent rule. If you wanna get a lot, if you wanna get the best jobs, you really need to have focus and people, like here's an idea. So this is an example that I just wanna give you.
So [00:41:00] imagine dating. This is just, and I give this example because most people have experience. So let's say you meet someone and they tell you something like, I like dating men. I like dating women. I also like old people and young people. I like sometimes I date men, women, and other couples and couples simultaneously.
I like to date married people and single ones too. And I'm I don't, I like it when people are rich, but I also like poor people. And I, I don't care if people use drugs but I'm fine with they do as well, or don't, so this kind of person is all over the map. Like why would again, it doesn't matter if you, what your preferences are in a person, but if the person is 15 different things, how are you gonna be comfortable with that person?
Because you are not gonna know if the person's gonna wanna run off with a couple, if they're gonna wanna run off with someone of the same or not size, if they're gonna run off with an old young per you're not gonna know how, where do you fit into this person's plan. How think about this. Where do you fit into someone's plan?
That will literally date [00:42:00] anything or anyone. And doesn't know what they want people. The first kind of question people ask people is, do you wanna be in a committed relationship? Do you wanna what is your ideal mate? What is your, these are the kind of questions that.
Human being ask when they're in the, in in the world. And this is how employers think too. What is your interest in us? What is your interest in the commitment to this practice area? What do so the law firm, if the law firm can't figure out what you stand for then what are they gonna do?
And so anyone that is interested in dating has no preferences of the kind of people that they date is is basically not gonna be impressed to you. You're not gonna be impressed. And the same thing goes with law firms. It's about focus and clarity. There, there has to be some focus it's okay to be interested to really like people of one.
Sex or to like people of both sexes, none of I'm not criticizing any of this. But what I am saying is you have to have some sort of focus because everybody that [00:43:00] anybody that commits to you is gonna wanna know that they're a match for what you're seeking and you can't look like you're dabbling in different things and don't want, wanna do no one is gonna be impressed.
And so law firms are gonna be repulsed are, and they are, they don't again, they don't hire people that to do plaintiff and defense works almost all of them hire, if you wanna be a plaintiff's attorney, they're fine. If I send a plaintiff's attorney to a defense law firm, I start getting like literally angry calls just people venting.
And I'm like, I, sorry but this is but imagine like you, you doing this with. Being an environmental attorney, trying to get a corporate job like this is people do this all day long. You're either a corporate attorney or a litigation attorney. You really can't be both.
You you can certainly be both and you can have done both, but your bet resume better. Look like you wanna do one thing and you're committed to it. You're either pretty much a transactional attorney or litigator law firms. Aren't gonna hire you to be a patent attorney. If you're a real estate attorney or taking some classes and to get in the patent bar you're a real estate attorney law firms.
Aren't gonna hire you to be an employment [00:44:00] attorney. If you're a general commercial litigator, now you can frame your resume. You're a commercial litigator to be look like. You're very interested in employment and your past experience look like you're interested in employment and maybe get a job that way.
But in most cases no one cares. No one cares what you're interested in. They don't care what you wanna do. They're a tax controversy attorney is not the same as a federal tax attorney. You know it, one of the big things and you probably, you may have read an article that I've written about, why, going in house is a horrible career choice for most attorneys and the reason it's a horrible career choice, it's a horrible career choice.
Only what, for the most part, it's, there's it's not always a horrible career choice, but again, I'm an expert in getting people jobs in law firms. And, I don't know how. A recruiter could possibly be expected to do in-house and it's law firms are very complex, but the point is I'm an expert in law firms and and I see people go in house all the time.
Once you go in house, it's almost impossible. It's not [00:45:00] impossible, but it's almost impossible to get back into a law firm because first of all, the experience, most in-house jobs, you're doing a bunch of things. But the other problem going in house is that it doesn't look like you're committed to working in a law firm.
No one in the right mind is going to bring you back. When you're showing a lack of focus in working in the law firm and no one in their right mind is also gonna wanna hire someone to be a a litigator or in a that a litigator when they're suddenly in house and their focus is a bunch of different things.
You just, you become a generalist and generalists, again are not hireable. And that's the problem with going in house. A lot of times and people become generalists and then law firms only hire generalists. So going in house is not just a problem from the standpoint that. They don't like the practice setting.
They don't like the fact that a lot of people that go in house become generalists and law firms can do better and they do they all hire general, they all hire, specialists and you need to be able to commit to, to your practice here.
So one, this is [00:46:00] a big suggestion that I would make to you and everyone watching this and that I it's a plea. I, cuz I want you to get a job. I'm very passionate about this. I know what I'm doing. And and I know what works. I literally, millions of submissions and your resume needs to look like you've always done one thing and have been interested in that.
And I don't know how many different ways to say this, but it needs to look like if it looks like you've changed interest, you need to dumb it down and make it look like you've always been committed. So if I look at someone's resume and I need to think all this person is a litigator like this.
This looks like a great litigator. Look at all the stuff they've done related to litigation. If you think it's cool that you wrote a paper about IP did a bunch of pro bono work. That's fine. You can put that on there, but it's gonna hurt you. None of this benefits, anyone, and it's going to hurt you.
And here's a example. This is just how resumes work. And and again, I'm gonna do a resume workshop next week, because I want to go over this, but here's an example, like a, the person's current job is a litigation turn doing [00:47:00] commercial litigation, which is. This is, there's nothing wrong with that.
That's fine. It's fine to do commercial, nothing but commercial litigation. But then the person's last job is a family law attorney and the job before that was a taxed attorney. Now these are, these kind of patterns are very common in resumes by the way. And so I'm not saying it, but you, if you, if this is your background which is fine you need to fix it like you need to.
And again, there's nothing wrong with this background, but your background needs to look something like this. You talking about your current job, doing commercial litigation. Your last job, you say you're an associate at whatever firm it was. And then you just say drafted pleadings and did other stuff related to litigation.
Cuz this is stuff that took depositions. This is stuff that family law attorneys do. You don't use the word family law. Okay. You keep it off there. You just do not use the word family law because even though you think it's dishonest, it's not dishonest to put down the work that you've done by not talking about family law.
Just put down the did all this litigation related stuff, family law attorneys, [00:48:00] draft, pleadings, they respond to discovery. They do all the stuff that litigators do. That's all you put, you just put that you drafted pleadings. Then you say your job before that you worked at this law firm just, and that's all you need to say you.
And if you were again, you were. Your third job ago, you were a tax attorney. So you could talk about represented individuals and the businesses and fighting, I don't know, but something to do with nothing that's gonna give the sent because you want the fricking resume needs to give the sense of the fact that all you do is that practice area.
And if you talk about a bunch of different things, you're hurting yourself. I, again, the resume needs to have a commitment to one thing which stands out. And if it doesn't show any interest, it shows interest in a bunch of different things. You're gonna look like, it's not good. You need to look like you wanna do something, have always done it and that's it.
So that's the resume. And again, this is not a resume review webinar, but I just want you to understand if you're a patent attorney. All [00:49:00] you do is you make it look like that's all you do on your resume. And you selectively choose organizations and things that you did in law school that are related to that.
You selectively frame your experiences related to that. You eliminate. Or deemphasize things that have nothing to do with that. That's the rule. And then when you in our database or however, you're searching for jobs, if you're using, BCG, if using, know, whatever you're doing you select one practice area, you stick to that.
If your resume talks about how you do nothing, but talk about workers' compensation, law I'm can place workers' compensation attorneys all day. But no, one's gonna hire you ever to be a corporate attorney. Because law schools are pumping out tens of thousands of new attorneys every year.
And so unless they stop that or unless you're searching for a job in the middle of the Mojave desert in a town of hundred people no, one's gonna hire you to be a corporate attorney. It's just not gonna happen. Like you, sorry, but it's [00:50:00] just unless the employer has no other option and no one's applying I mean you could go and work there for free maybe, but no one's gonna hire you.
So the, you have to, your resume has to match the sort of jobs you're applying for. So law firms do not care. What you wanna do? Would you like if you needed someone to I don't know, to. To rewire the electric electricity in your house. And someone came and they said, I really love think I wanna do this.
I've been a painter, but I really think I wanna learn about electricity on your house. Would you hire that person? No, they don't. No one cares about what you wanna do. It's not their concern. So if you really wanna, know, they care about what you're trained in, so you will hire the painter to paint your house, but you're not gonna hire them to be an electrician.
So if you hire, if you apply to jobs that have nothing to do with your experience, the law firm, isn't going to be interested in you. You're wasting their time. You're [00:51:00] wasting your time. So again, say you're watching and I gave this example earlier, but you're looking for a nanny to wash your child and someone shows up that's a professional roofer that looks like they eat nails for breakfast, meaning scary looking person, with huge person with, no, what are you gonna think?
You're gonna think. The person may say, I saw your house open for a babysitter. I'm roofer interested in babysitting. I was thinking you're gonna think I was thinking about someone different, right? You're not gonna be interested. There's no difference than a litigator applying for a corporate job.
No one is going to be interested in that person. It's not the same person. It's the roofer applying for a babysitting job. It makes no sense. Again, like you have to be very careful and no one, no employer cares about what you're interested in. No one is interested in you for a certain type of job, because you're interested in that if you do not have that experience.
And so the cost and the ability to inability to select a practice area and to have a matching resume. And again, I've seen this with hundreds of thousands of attorneys. Like it's very [00:52:00] simple if you have two to three years of experience as an associate, you become a mid midlevel associate and you think you're gonna put all this stuff in your resume, you're not gonna get hired, or you're gonna get hired at a firm that's much worse than you should get hired at, or a firm that's probably going have financial problems.
So again, example, you're not gonna hire a pat and attorney to help through a murder trial law firms, hire attorneys professionally, and they're not gonna hire you. If your resume doesn't match what they're seeking a lot of attorneys. Continue to select practice areas that their resume says nothing about which is absolutely insane.
I don't know why they do it, but they continue to do it. If you're trying to sell a company, would you hire an attorney to, to represent you to help you sell your company whose resume talked about all the pro bono political affiliations their racial, religious, and other statements on their resume.
Is that gonna help you sell your company? And again, no one cares law firms only wanna hire people that are interested in doing the work and have a recent experience doing that work and are interested in it. And a lot of times people will put [00:53:00] all the stuff on their resume that has nothing to do.
So there, they may be a lit litigation attorney, but then they start talking about how they did a corporate matter or did a trademark filing. No, one's interested in that they do not care. And and then sometimes people will put stuff on their resume that detract that makes it look like they wanna do something else.
So here's an example. Like I see these kind of examples all the time, family law attorney helped a small time celebrity draft, a. An adoption order job before the tax attorney helped an entertainer with some stuff. So like you can see here that this person is very interested in the entertainment aspects of what they're doing.
And again, I see resumes like this all the time, and then they might have been an entertainment journal and stuff and law school. And then, so the person wants to be an entertainment attorney. So whoever hires this person can rest assured that if anything, entertainment comes along. This person is going to be applying for entertainment jobs and is going to leave them and or we'll go work at a studio or something, and we'll always be looking for a job like that, cuz that's just what people do that are interested in other things.
This person does not wanna be a [00:54:00] litigator, a family law attorney or a tax attorney. It's just a waste of everyone's time. And so you have to have one practice here and committed to it. And and that's it, and this is the final piece. And then I will take, we'll take a quick break and and then we'll come back and answer questions.
But this is the, and I talked about this earlier. This is another thing that and it's getting worse. It's, again, it's getting worse and worse. And people are making their resumes into social pieces that have nothing to do with being a law firm attorney. Now, let me explain something to you.
I've done this as well, so I am actually guilty of doing this and I did this when I was in I have always been interested in helping people from, position themselves for success. So when I was in college and law in college, I ran a, I did all this stuff where I was helping.
And it doesn't matter the, but helping basically people in Detroit and that were drug rehabs and helping them get jobs with prove themselves and going and help putting 'em to work in businesses and writing recommendation. And [00:55:00] so I'm very interested in social causes. I wanna, I'm very interested in them.
I was a, a, like a, almost a road scholar because I was, I got, I was doing it. I've written books about helping people about how to, racial discrimination in law firms. And I'm extremely interested in it. I wanna help people in different backgrounds. I'm trying to help you right now.
And again, so I'm not, this is not some white guy, like lecturing you. This is this is what it is I'm actually very interested and passionate about this stuff. And but when I put this kind of stuff on my resume I did not get interviews when I took it off. When I was in I got interviews at the best law firms I could, you can imagine.
So it's not that that there's anything wrong with this stuff. It's just that I'm extremely interested in it. I wrote a book about race when I was in in discrimination and how to fix it when I was in college. I taught a class at the university of Chicago, like as. Junior which, I was told the first time, I that, and it doesn't matter.
I'm just saying I'm really interested in this stuff. So I am all for [00:56:00] social causes and helping people from different backgrounds and helping the poor and discriminate against. And and I'm all over it, but I am not. And again, people will take what I say and say, oh, but he must be a racist because he, it's the exact opposite.
People have actually said that before. But ag