Recently LegalJob talked with a 2L about steps he could take to place him in the best possible position to eventually secure a job with a big firm. Overall, LegalJob stressed the importance of specialization and demonstrating to future employers your commitment to the particular practice area.
Below is a summary of some of that advice:
What classes to take.
- Consider taking classes in the area in which you want to practice
- Employers appreciate focus and commitment
- You may use this opportunity to find niche within the practice area (i.e., estate tax for tax law)
- Consider taking classes in which you will do well
- Grades are obviously important so put yourself in a good position to excel
- Consider taking classes related to the area in which you want to practice
- For example, taking a financial products class could be useful for someone thinking about transactional tax
Focus on earning the highest grades possible versus applying for a big firm summer job.
- Make your case to future employers by excelling in the areas in which you intend to practice
- Experience is helpful too but first get the great grades
Once you have one solid semester with high grades in the area in which you intend to practice, get some practical experience to further your candidacy.
- Small firms or so-called boutique firms may provide an immediate opportunity for heavy lifting and serious responsibility
Use the Career Development Office as it is suppose to be used.
- Have the CDO provide you lists with alumni that match (at least three of) your suggested touch points
- Have the CDO provide you a list of alumni at boutique firms in the area of interest.
- Have the CDO review your resume
- Be specific in descriptions so employer can determine everything from that page
- Try to tie together experience and background such that they are applicable to niche you are pursuing
- If that is not the case, it suggests you may want to beef up resume in these areas
When interviewing, have an agenda.
- Get into the weeds about your experiences and how these experiences will allow you to make strong contributions
- Answer questions asked but make sure to provide the information that demonstrates your long term commitment and focus to the area and your success in the area
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