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July 31, 2008

Resume Quick Tip (References)

Note the phrase "References available on request" is outdated and should not be written on your resume. It is assumed a) you have references and b) you will provide them to your potential employer when asked.

For more information, see Kimm Walton's Guerrilla Tactics for Getting the Legal Job of Your Dreams, page 4.

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July 30, 2008

Army JAG Visit

Late last June I had the opportunity to attend the US Army Judge Advocate General's (JAG) Corps Career Services Conference in Washington D.C. We had a packed agenda and learned a lot. Here are some of the topics that were covered:

* Professional & Personal Rewards of Service with the JAG
* Life of a New Army Judge Advocate
* An Overview of Practicing Law in the Military
* Application Process
* Overview of International and Operational Law Practice in the Army JAG
* Career Progression

We have a binder of print material from the conference in our office. Also, visit Army JAG for more information.

A JAG representative will be visiting the Law School this fall.

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July 24, 2008

Halleland Lewis' recruiting micro site

Halleland Lewis has a new recruiting micro site.

Young Lawyers Connect

The New York City Bar Association has created Young Lawyers Connect in response to the challenges of being a busy young attorney or law student, be it through age or professional experience. For more information, visit the link above.

Thanks Brett and Crew.

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In a down economy, the basics are more important than ever!

A helpful posting from a colleague of ours tackling the economy.

"With the recent downturn in the economy, many law students are nervous about their prospects for summer employment and after graduation. The most helpful advice to allay these fears may be the most simple -- go back the basics: networking, being proactive in your summer employment and in your job search, understanding what an employer is looking for and how he/she runs his business."

For the complete post, visit Career Files.

Thanks Christine.

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July 21, 2008

Don’t Wear Flip-Flops . . . And Other Advice for Summer Associates

Great advice from the Wall Street Journal.

"The last time we heard about an anonymous hiring partner starting a blog, it was a ruse by Harvard law grad Jeremy Blachman, whose summer associateship at Willkie Farr & Gallagher provided him with enough fodder for both a blog and a book. We couldn’t help but think of Blachman’s “Anonymous Lawyer? this morning, when we opened up an email sent from hiringpartneroffice@gmail.com announcing a new blog, called — you got it — “Hiring Partner Office.? "

For the complete posting, visit WSJ Law.

An Alternative Way to Work

At Virtual Law Firm, Lawyers Will Work at Home, Earn 85% of Billings

"A lawyer-entrepreneur is joining with 14 other lawyers to start a new legal venture called Virtual Law Partners.

The firm will employ lawyers who work at home, saving on overhead and costing clients less in legal fees, the Recorder reports. Craig Johnson, the lawyer who formed the Venture Law Group in 1993, told the publication that the typical large law firm business model is “a situation that can’t continue.? That business model includes high associate salaries, prestigious offices and billing rates as high as $800 an hour, he said."

For the complete post, visit At Virtual Law Firm, Lawyers Will Work at Home, Earn 85% of Billing

July 20, 2008

Split summers -- from a Recruiter's Perspective

Lynne Traverse of Bryan Cave, spoke at the U of MN in January 2008. She has more excellent advice for you -- this time on the pros and cons of splitting your summer.

She suggests that during the fall 2008 recruiting season, that employers may be less inclined than in the past to permit splits, and she offers some advice for students who are in splits right now.

July 16, 2008

"A new game plan for retaining women in law firms..."

The National Association of Women Lawyers has recommendations for recruiting and retaining women in law firms.

From the National Law Journal on line, July 14, 2008.

July 13, 2008

Earrings in court?

A current extern reports that men are, indeed, wearing earrings in the courthouse where he is working...

... as it happened I decided to take my earring out when I first visited chambers and met with my judge. I later noticed a few male defense attorneys wearing earrings (some attorneys had more than one per ear in fact), and one of the male clerks had an earring in one ear. I asked my clerk if wearing an earring would be acceptable and he assured me that it would be, and was actually a bit surprised that I had asked. I don't know if this scenario is portable to another courthouse, but based on my observations thus far it seems as if state trial courts are a bit less formal than I had imagined from the classroom.

Notes:
1. This student was absolutely correct to be conservative first.
2. The "Earring Are OK Policy" may be particular to his courthouse.
3. In the same way that women still must be careful about very short skirts, and in some courts they may still find that pants are frowned on by senior judges, guys and their earrings may still be fraught with peril. Your judge may not mind, but your peril may lie with clients and with juries, two groups whose opinions you value but cannot survey in advance.

July 8, 2008

What are "they" looking for? Tell your story

What are "they" looking for?

Yes, some employers make a first cut for grades. But beyond that, recruiters and hiring partners are looking for candidates who can express themselves well -- both in their writing and in their speech.

COVER LETTERS:

The first paragraph should tell who you are and what you want. "I am a second year law student at the University of Minnesota and I am interested in a summer associate position with your firm." If you have good grades and you want to mention your journal or moot court, add that. But remember that the topic sentence of this paragraph -- indeed the entire focus of the paragraph -- is "Who are you and what do you want?"

The second paragraph relates your experience to the work that you will do as a law clerk or summer associate. "But I've never worked in a law firm! How could I possibly know what I will do?" While you might not be able to chart the entire anthropological lifecycle of a law clerk's day, not only do you know what law clerks do, but you have done it well.

Law clerks research and write. When you were an undergraduate or in graduate school, you researched and wrote papers for a variety of courses. Let your employer know that you enjoyed the work and, that you especially enjoyed doing research in original (not electronic) sources. Why is this important? While much of your time in law school is spent embracing the law, a large amount of practicing lawyers' time is spent searching out and parsing facts -- facts that can't be found on the internet, but might be located in a client's paper records or in a dusty courthouse basement or by talking to potential witnesses.

The third paragraph should address something about you that might be valuable to a potential employer? Again, you ask "How can I possibly know this?" Think about what lawyers actually do: they read, write, talk on the phone and go to meetings. But why? They are acting as advocates for their clients, their business, their policies, their problems and their personal lives. Anything that you have ever done that demonstrates your advocacy skills can fit neatly into this paragraph. For example:

1. Teaching: You have explained things to people who were unfamiliar (and possibly resistant) to your information.
2. Coaching: You have identified problems, including three dimensional problems such as how to hold a baseball bat or how to swim the Butterfly, and then explained and demonstrated the solutions.
3. Other work: One Peace Corps returnee had to climb a jungle-covered mountain to persuade people in his district who had never EVER left their villages, to accompany him to the largest city in the country to make the case for water control projects that he was developing. This is advocacy.

The fourth paragraph will usually take one of two forms:

1. Thank you for taking the time to review my credentials. You may reach me at [phone] and [email], and I look forward to hearing from you.

2. Thank you for taking the time to review my credentials. I will be in [your city] during the week of [x date] and I will call you next week to set up a meeting. In the meantime, you may reach me at [phone] or [email], and I look forward to meeting with you.

INTERVIEWS

Tell your story. Know three things about yourself that an employer ought to know before you leave the interview room, and be prepared with three examples of each which you can use to answer just about any question that's thrown at you.

This is the ONLY way that you can begin to be prepared for behavioral interviews. Behavioral questions usually begin with "tell me about a time when..." If you have thought about your leadership, scholarship and other skills and you have prepared by telling your stories OUT LOUD, you will appear comfortable and sharp in your interviews.

July 5, 2008

ILSA Internship Opportunity

Interested in learning more about international law? Then check out the International Law Students Association.

"The International Law Students Association is a non-profit association of students and lawyers who are dedicated to the promotion of international law. ILSA provides students with opportunities to study, research, and network in the international legal arena. The organization's activities include academic conferences, publications, the global coordination of student organizations, and the administration of the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition."

The CPDC also has information at its website for you to review.

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July 4, 2008

Litigation or Transactional Law Career: Some Advice to Law Students

Jeff Lipshaw, a professor at Suffolk Law School, provides thoughts about choosing a ligation or transactional practice.

"A reader who is interning in a NYC corporate law firm, and about to enter law school, saw my earlier post alluding to the creative possibilities in transactional work, and sought advice about choosing between transactional work and litigation work. I'm happy to share some thoughts.

1. Mostly I will be talking about big firm practice, but I should issue a disclaimer. There's big firm practice, and there's mega-firm practice. The reason it's important to make the distinction is because I'm looking backwards at a career in which many of the fulfilling aspects came later, after I did my time in the trenches (both in litigation and corporate). So there is a substantial period of learning how to chop the wood before a new lawyer gets to build, much less design, the house. My perception is that period is shorter in big firms outside of the financial centers. You will probably take on more responsibility more quickly at a big firm in Detroit than Chicago, in St. Louis than Los Angeles, in Salt Lake City than New York."

Visit Professor Lipshaw's entire post at Legal Profession Blog.

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Top 100 Blawgs

Criminal Justice Degrees Guide has identified 100 Blawgs (law blogs). I found this site helpful for it is organized by various legal topics of interest. Explore.

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