06
November 2018

How to Get Started as a New Lawyer

You’ve taken the bar, and now you’re on to the next challenge: finding a job after law school. What jobs can you get after law school and how do you land one? Below is a summary of jobs for law school graduates and how to get a job as a lawyer.

Entry Level Jobs for Law School Graduates

The most popular job you can get out of law school is an associate attorney position at a small to midsize firm. There are also opportunities to work as a government attorney or staff attorney for an organization. You could look into legal fellowships at universities or in public interest. Some people start their legal careers doing judicial clerkships. Others, with the right experience or connections, go straight into in-house positions. There’s also the possibility of getting into compliance work or JD preferred roles.

How to Find a Job After Law School

The first and most obvious recommendation is to leverage and expand your network. If you know you want to work in a specific practice area, the ABA has specialty groups that are open for membership. You can join the tax law group, for instance, and connect with tax law attorneys online or at special committees. Similarly, sign up for CLEs and network with speakers or panel members there. Request informational interviews with alumni from your school or people with jobs you aspire to have. Reach out to prior bosses and supervisors, and send your resume to professors you worked closely with. Basically ask anyone and everyone you can think of – you never know who will have a good connection for you.

At the same time, take advantage of your law school’s resources. Your school’s career center probably offers services like mock interviewing, resume critiques and cover letter reviews. Check your school’s job board daily. Get involved in the alumni association and attend alumni programs and events.

Explore all of the jobs sites out there. General sites like Indeed, LinkedIn, Simply Hired and Glassdoor post new attorney jobs every day. PSJD is a great resource for public interest opportunities. Check out government websites for attorney positions at different agencies and departments. If you’re looking to work in a specific field, like entertainment, there are sites for those particular fields as well. You could even try searching for keywords like “legal” and “hiring” on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

It’s also important to be flexible. Accept that your first job out of law school might not be your dream job, but look for something that gives you the foundation you need to eventually move into your dream job. Apply to jobs that will give you proper training and supervision. Apply to jobs outside your geographic location (as long as you’re willing to relocate) – some jobs in other states don’t require that you’ve passed their state bar, or they’ll give you time to take it or transfer your score. Apply to as many jobs as you possibly can, even if you’re not sure if you’re qualified for them.

While You’re Applying

It could take over a year to land a job out of law school, so it’s advantageous to find legal or law-related work in the meantime to build experience. Bar prep courses look for seasonal attorney essay graders from December to February and May to July. Law firms sometimes need temporary document review attorneys for weeks at a time. If you’re okay with volunteering your time, you could look into doing pro bono work. Another option is legal project work. Lawyer Exchange makes it easy to sign up and submit proposals for short-term legal projects like reviewing documents and drafting motions.

The post-law school job hunt can be equally stressful and exciting. There are plenty of opportunities out there – you just have to search thoroughly and ask around for them. Be open to applying to different positions and don’t be afraid to ask for help.