Five tips for securing government jobs (without much pre-planning)

As discussed throughout this blog and in Making Partner, the best plan for law students to secure any job is to pick a major early, take classes in that area and do well, and gain some substantive work experience in the area.  For those that have not planned ahead, consider these five steps.

1.  Do some research to find out what agencies are hiring.

  • Talk to professors, career services folks, lawyers
  • Regulatory areas are generally good as demand is up.
  • Consider these active areas:  Immigration, Environmental, Tax, IP, Health law, Elderly law, Financial services (Dodd/Frank)

2. Attend panels where these government attorneys are speaking.

  • Stay after the presentation and provide your resume.
  • Don't be disingenuous. For example, the statement “I always wanted to be an EPA lawyer” is probably not true.
  • More plausible (and helpful to your case) is to say something like you talked to other EPA attorneys about what they do and listening to the panel presenters confirmed your interest.

3. Have a general sense of the big picture.

  • For example, if trying this approach for an EPA position, know what administrative law is about.
    • Take the class and excel if you can
    • Be prepared to demonstrate that you have some understanding of admin law (even if you did not take the class)

4. Stress your strong writing skills which may help separate you from the competition.

  • Journal experience
  • Writing sample from work experience

5. Submit comments to regulations.

  • Requires some preplanning but demonstrates interest and shows you can write so two birds down
  • Professors can be good resources for which you can bounce around your ideas

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/at