Four steps for overcoming rejection from any law firm (or other employer)

People are rejected from their "dream" legal jobs all the time, especially in this market.  Sometimes it was not meant to be and it is best just to move on to something else. However, in many instances showing persistence with a real plan can change the outcome the second time around.

Try following these four steps the next time you get rejected:

1. Seek feedback as to why the answer is no.

  • Is it something you can change/improve?  Low grade point average, low grades in relevant law courses, no relevant courses taken in practice area, not enough relevant courses taken; no legal experience, no relevant legal experience, not enough heavy lifting in previous legal job, no demonstrated commitment to practice area, anxious or nervous during interview; or flat interviewer.
  • Is it something you cannot change?  Where you went to school, your major, etc.

2. If it something you can change, then address the items.  Take the classes, get good grades (at least in the area for which you want to practice), and show some focus.  If it something you cannot change, be prepared to explain why it does not matter or how you can make up for the perceived (or real) deficiency.

3. Channel your inner entrepreneur, ala James Altucher, and think about ideas that could help that firm (or other legal employer).  Be creative here.  Perhaps you can help a specific partner that you talked with by providing him or her an idea to write or speak about or some helpful advice regarding the clients or industry he or she represents (i.e., what to advise client if a pending case comes out adverse to the client’s or the industry’s interests).  The idea is to demonstrate that you are a thoughtful person with good ideas and to dig deep such that you can really provide some really valuable ideas to the person.

4. E-mail the person for whom you have the idea and explain your idea(s) upfront.  Also, explain that you have other ideas your would like to discuss and request a short meeting to discuss them.  Finally, explain that you have addressed the opportunity areas mentioned in previous meetings by doing x, y, z.  That e-mail likely puts you in the best possible position to secure another meeting.

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