Targeting “small” law firms

LegalJob was recently asked how to effectively seek out and reach out to small law firms.  Evidently, some recent law graduates are being advised to randomly reach out to small firms (cold without having a contact) and see what happens.

This approach does not seem likely to be very fruitful.  Instead, consider following many of the approaches discussed on this blog for targeting large firms.  As two examples, experts in this area point out two useful strategies of:

  1. Making the business case for how you can be helpful to the firm's bottom line immediately, and
  2. Putting yourself in a place where decision makers will be for the particular job you want

    • the courthouse, the bar, speaking on a panel, etc.

For additional strategies from an article in an ABA publication from 2011, click here.  As explained in the article "Blanketing potential employers with unsolicited, nonspecific letters and resumes is never your best bet, but that’s especially true when it comes to small law firms. Small firms do not have a recruiting administrator or, in most cases, a human resources manager, so sending a letter to the aforementioned nonexistent person isn’t likely to garner a response. And generally, unless there is an immediate and pressing vacancy, a busy small firm lawyer isn’t likely to respond to an unsolicited “Dear Hiring Partner” letter, either. At best, your snail-mail probably ends up in the “to-do” later (much later) pile."

In addition, check out the Small Firm Job Handbook, a guide written by the Career Services Office at Cornell Law School, which provides information and advice to guide you in this type of job search.

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