July 24, 2012

SAVE THE DATE: Best & Flanagan LLP

Best & Flanagan LLP invites students in the class of 2014 to apply for summer associate positions for the summer of 2013. Best & Flanagan is a full-service law firm in downtown Minneapolis, providing advice and advocacy to individual and corporate clients in virtually all areas of the law, including litigation and dispute resolution, corporate and tax, bankruptcy, family law, estate planning, real estate, Native American law and public finance. Summer associates will have the opportunity to work in all practice areas, contributing to and observing first-hand the work we do on behalf of our clients.

Our goal for the summer program is two-fold: to find future attorneys with the ability, commitment and personality necessary to be successful associates, and eventually partners, in the firm, and to give those students a sense of the firm and its practice. We are looking for students with strong academic credentials, a diversity of experience both in law school and elsewhere, keen human relations skills, a willingness to work hard and a desire to invest in building a career at Best & Flanagan.
We are taking a new approach to summer associate hiring and instead of participating in on-campus interviews, we are inviting interested students to apply directly to the firm. For an early opportunity to meet members of the firm to discuss our practice and culture, we invite you to attend a recruiting reception open house at our firm on August 9, 2012, from 4:00-6:00 pm.

For more details, please visit Symplicity (#10047).

June 19, 2012

SAVE THE DATE: Pathways to Postgraduate Legal Fellowships

Thursday, July 12 6:30 - 8:30 pm
Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP
1333 New Hampshire Avenue NW
No cost to attend - space is limited - register now!
Click here to register!

December 5, 2011

Federal Government Jobs and Internships Webinar

Career Development Network sponsored a 3-part webinar series this fall for students about federal government jobs and internships. These sessions are full of great tips about how to find opportunities, details about the application process, and interviews and negotiating offers. The archived webinar sessions are now available to students via GoldPASS.

This is a great resource for students who may be interested / curious about federal opportunities, this information is available at the Resource Library within GoldPASS. In the Resource Library, under the Federal Government Opportunities folder, you will find links to all 3 webinar sessions.

July 22, 2010

Upcoming Job Fairs & Tips for Successful Participation

Attending job fairs is an excellent way to meet multiple employers at one location. Check out these two websites regarding upcoming job fairs in addition to tips on how to be successful at a fair. Note that many job fairs are restricted to students from participating schools.

Job Fair Tips

Dress professionally - Wear a suit, handle this as you would a regular interview.

Resumes - Bring a supply of resumes to hand out to the employers. Take a portfolio/briefcase to hold your documentation (e.g. resumes, writing samples,firm literature, etc.). And don't forget to bring a pen or two!

Continue reading "Upcoming Job Fairs & Tips for Successful Participation" »

December 4, 2009

Salary Negotiation: "Can Nice Girls Negotiate?"

In this economic time, many people are scared to negotiate a salary, the post "Can Nice Girls Negotiate" gives a little insight into negotiation and gender. The bottom line, it never hurts to ask for more if you know your audience, you either get more money, or more information, both of which are important.

July 29, 2009

Navigating the Career Development Process

Are you wondering how to begin your job search? Check out this article in the July issue of Hennepin Lawyer, by two of our very own, Dana Bartocci and Vic Massaglia.

May 8, 2009

Managing a Legal Career Transition in Tough Times: A Special Video Presentation

As a public service, NALP, the National Association of Legal Career Professionals, and ALI-ABA, the American Law Institute / American Bar Association, have teamed up to offer Managing a Legal Career Transition in Tough Times — a 75-minute presentation by Marcia Pennington Shannon and Susan G. Manch of Shannon & Manch LLP, who generously donated their time and talent to this special project to assist lawyers and graduating students who are currently seeking employment.

To view this great video, go here.

Thank you to our colleagues at Touro Law.


April 13, 2009

From Fired to Fired Up -- from LawyerAvenue

From LawyerAvenue's Off the Clock blog: From Fired to Fired Up has links to resources from the Wall Street Journal and the National Law Journal where you can locate volunteer gigs.

February 16, 2009

Please don't do or say...

SHARED FROM career services professionals' email…. (not from U of MN students)

FROM Cover letters from the fall of 2008 ---

Not all people are criminals, but even criminals are people too

But then I realized that I was not applying to a stuffy ass federal prosecutor or corporate law job

Trial advocacy and the defense of the indignant are the two primary forces behind my study of the law.

As an inspiring defense attorney, I am particularly interested in working with the Public Defender Service.

I would appreciate an opportunity to discuss my qualifications and how foregoing a relationship would be mutually beneficial.

“If assiduousness and passion were candy, then I would leave you with a mouthful of cavities.?

“My anal retentiveness to minute details is quite possibly one of my greatest strengths, not withstanding my sense of humor.?

“My interest in labor Relations and Employment started before my birth as my grandfather was a Treasurer for the AFL-CIO for Canada.?

FROM Interviews from the fall of 2008

Don’t walk in to the Hiring Partner’s office and say “I’d like to work here for a couple of years and then decide what I really want to do.?

Don’t post your rejections with commentary naming and slamming each individual firm. Employers read blogs, too.

If you don't see the issues that these sentences or behaviors raise, see your counselor in the CPDC immediately.

January 23, 2009

Being Active in Your Job Search

A thorough job search requires you to be involved, active, and informed at each step in the process. If you’re still seeking summer and permanent employment, the Career & Professional Development Center (CPDC) hopes you spent some time during Winter Break networking with attorneys and setting forth your continuing job search strategy. If you have not been into the CPDC recently to discuss and update this strategy, please make an appointment early this semester.

Keep in mind that in order to be thorough and complete with your job search, you should conduct a search using varied strategies. Many student rely solely on job postings via Symplicity or other online resource to secure employment. Note that many (if not most) employers that do not have the time or resources to reach out for candidates. What else should you be doing? We recommend the following:

1) Research the types of opportunities available and make a decision about what type of opportunity you are most interested in. Are you interested in law firm work, public interest and government work, in-house positions, etc.? Think about the issues and classes that have interested you most and talk with attorneys who currently practice in these areas. Feel free to meet with your counselor in the CPDC to talk about different types of legal jobs and to consult the practice-area specific resources available in the CPDC.

2) Research specific organizations. Use the Martindale-Hubbell Directory, use the NALP Directory, use PSLawnet, and use the Government Honors and Internship Handbook. Consult the employer files in Symplicity and learn about places where past students have worked. Talk with professors who are experts in the areas of law that interest you to find out what they know about organizations that work in that area of the law.

Continue reading "Being Active in Your Job Search" »

January 6, 2009

10 Resolutions for Job-Seeking Success

10 Resolutions for Job-Seeking Success

William A. Chamberlain
The National Law Journal
January 06, 2009

"We often start off the New Year with a host of resolutions which, though well-intentioned, in practice, may hardly outlast the winter snows. This year, however, the economic news has given both job seekers and the nervous employed added incentive. Like Clarence in "It's a Wonderful Life" or one of Dickens' ghosts, the news has led us to contemplate the future -- and it is a scary sight. The economic picture has never looked so dreary for those of us in the current working-age population. Layoffs continue apace, some law firms appear shaky and even the most profitable are looking to freeze salaries and trim bonuses.

Despite this glum news, there is much that job seekers can do. New Year's paired symbols of Father Time and the New Year's baby remind us of the swift passage of time. We must slough off the lethargy of too much holiday cheer and get moving. Here are 10 New Year's resolutions to get you started whether you are in the market or want to be prepared for an uncertain economic future."

For the entire article, click the title above.


December 19, 2008

Managing your career in turbulent times -- 3 experts opine

The ABA Law Practice Management Section posted "Managing Your Career in Turbulent Times" by Kathleen Brady (a former NALP President), Rachelle J. Canter, Ph.D., and Marcia Pennington Shannon. Worth reading. Thank you, NALPNow!

December 17, 2008

Advice for 1Ls from Bryan Cave's Lynne Traverse

From -- Advice for 1Ls who are scared to death...

December 2, 2008

Holiday strategies for law students and lawyers

If you have a job that you like:

* Be thankful.
* Be actively working to increase your knowledge base to make yourself the "go to" person in your practice group and among your professional colleagues outside of your employer.
* Be sure that you understand your employer's business model and business strategies (and this goes double for public employees who -- through no fault of your own -- may be on the chopping block in the new year).
* Connect with colleagues in bar associations, alumni and community groups.

If you have a job that you don't like:

* Be grateful to be employed while you begin to structure a job search.
* Be actively analyzing what it is that's making you unhappy -- the substance of your work, your colleagues, the amount of time that you are spending at work or thinking about work, something else in your life? "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" applies here. Finding a new job in a city that makes you unhappy won't solve your problem if the location is, indeed, your problem.
* Be aggressive about talking to friends, family, professional colleagues (other than your employer) and your career office about your job search to make sure that your strategies are sound and that your tactics are productive.

If you are in school:

* Be studying for finals until your exams are over. For 1Ls -- December 1 was yesterday and doing well on finals has the potential to be more productive than throwing together a resume for a job that you weren't keen enough on in early November to have taken the time to do it right.
* Be actively engaged with your family and friends during the winter break.
* Be diligent about attending holiday parties and events sponsored by legal employers and bar associations.
* Be sure to tell everyone you know that you are looking for work.

Finally, spend as little time as possible fretting about the world's economy. You, personally, can't fix it, so worrying about it is a bit like worry about impending earthquakes, blizzards and tornadoes. What you can do is make yourself an expert on something that is both interesting to you and monetizable today -- which is a conversation for another day.

When in doubt, call the CPDC.

October 24, 2008

Strategies for a market in turmoil

With the stock market in turmoil and reports of layoffs in every news cycle, law students and lawyers seem to have two choices: panic or denial. Neither attractive nor useful, exercising either choice is the job-search equivalent of putting yourself out on an ice flow, not a particularly good idea in light of global warming. What should you do?

(1) Create a reality-based plan
, and
(2) Start working on it. Make no mistake -- this is hard work and you - and only you -- have to take control of your career. "Wishin' and hopin' and thinkin' and prayin'�? are lyrics from a Burt Bachrach song from the '60s and not a sound basis for career management.

REALITY-BASED PLANNING Assess your interests and credentials against the near-term market. You may have to forgo long-held goals for relatively short-term stability.

Interests: Beyond "what's hot and what's not?�? is the question of what work is being done now, and what might you predict will be done in the near future. You shouldn't need me to tell you that residential real estate development isn't a hot area and won't be for a long time. However, there will be an enormous amount of work for law-trained folks who will tease out the actual mortgages under the mortgage-backed securities and sort out their values with both borrowers and lenders. One can only hope that Congress adds money for enforcement to the bailout bill, which will protect taxpayers and employ lawyers to do the work.

Credentials: As career services professionals have been echoing the words of their recruiting professional colleagues for years - grades are not enough. Whether your goal is BigLaw, BigGov, small-law, small-gov, alternative legal or any other gainful employment, the people who are hiring want to hire those who (a) really want to do the job; (b) who really care about the work that's being done; (d) who can demonstrate that they have skills and that they want to continue to grow and to learn; and (e) who can demonstrate emotional intelligence.

If you are apply for a job with the title "lawyer,�? employers will hold you to their standards of commitment to their law practices. This can be a barrier for students who have not come to law school saying "I know for sure that I want to be a lawyer.�? Talk to a career adviser about this BEFORE you interview.

BigLaw #1: If your goal is BigLaw Corporate or Real Estate, your credentials are marginal, and you have neglected every single networking opportunity that has been offered to you while in law school, move to Plan B. Plan B requires that you both study the legal and business market and make careful and sophisticated inquiry about practice areas that may be viable for employers - public or private - which are most likely to hire you. Plan B requires that you tailor your short-term goals to the market and keep your long-term goals in mind. If you start in a small firm and build yourself a Big Business that fits with BigLaw, you will be sought after - regardless of your credentials. FYI, law business history often finds that lawyers in small firms with Big Billings are often reluctant to trade their relative autonomy for BigLaw.

BigLaw#2: Loudly or quietly, large law firms will cut back their entry level hiring for the next year or two. As the market returns, those firms may hire more 3Ls in the fall and they will aggressively recruit laterals. Regardless of your credentials, if BigLaw is your only professional goal, you may need to develop Plan B.

Public Service: If your goal is public defense and you have created a resume that reflects and supports that interest and you are willing to move to a city or town with a funding for your work, stay with Plan A, but expand it. It is not naïve to assume that funding for public sector work is going to be kicked to the curb for the next few years. Adjust your plan to include practice areas in which you can develop the skills that you need to move to public law in better budget times. What might those be? In tough times, people litigate - employment, personal injury, commercial issues, probate. Counter-intuitively, in tough times divorce practice can slow down as middle income people realize that they can't afford to get divorced. They may still fight over custody, and upper income folks won't stop haggling.

WORK ON YOUR PLAN: You brush your teeth every day. You fill your tank with gas when it's empty. Identify tasks that move your Plan forward and do something every single day. Here are some basics, and your career adviser and CPDC materials, including CareerFiles offer many more:

a. Know your region's business climate: You need to know about the business climate in the city or town where you want to live. Read its daily newspaper and business journal, and watch its tv news. You don't want to be the last to know that town's major manufacturer or service business have gone belly up. You do want to connect with the Mayor to volunteer to be part of new initiatives, and to apply for jobs that relate to your interests.

b. Bar Associations are more important than ever:
You need to connect with the bar association(s) in the city or town where you want to live. People hire folks they know. Don't be a stranger.

c. Your career adviser is your partner and your coach. Talk to your career adviser who is your partner in creating a plan and a strategy. Understand that "partnership" requires two-way communication -- lots of it. Your 30-minute first meeting with your career adviser is just that: the first meeting. This relationship is not Twitter and not speed dating. Your partner will advise and direct you, but you must ultimately take the lead in managing your own career.

September 1, 2008

Working overseas after graduation

From the NALP Career Professional List Serve:

Mon dieu! I am working with a 3L who fell in love with a handsome French law student while studying abroad her 1L summer. She'd like to live and work in France when she graduates so that she can be with her amour. Has anyone counseled a student in a similar situation and if so, do you have any information or advice? This student's true interests lie in the public sector and not the big firm arena, although she is certainly willing to be flexible. It is a serious relationship. . . They have talked about marriage although they are not ready to make that commitment now.

From Andrew Chapin, Director of Public Interest Scholars and Counseling Public Interest Resource Center, Fordham University School of Law

There is little reason for a French enterprise or organization to hire and train a US trained JD graduate.

Internships are relatively plentiful and relatively easy to obtain and, I believe that they give a false impression of post JD international opportunity.

The student might strongly consider getting into an exchange program as soon as possible to actually be in the city she desires so that she can seek out opportunities and build network there. It is probably preferable to spend her third year of law school in France. She must, of course, be fluent in French.

The State Department is one of the few entities that hires for foreign placement but they will not guarantee a placement where desired. France is highly coveted and more likely to go to those with seniority. For your student it may be too unlikely to be worth can't accept conditionally.

Public interest organizations with US connections or groups that are based in the US and have work in France might be other targets, but these openings are few, hard to find, and very competitive.

Private sector employers sometimes (meaning rarely) will place an entry level JDs abroad but that is usually because that's where the person is from AND the organization has a business need there, AND they know and LOVE the applicant.

I do have one student who worked at a firm her during her 2L summer and after graduation was placed in London office so she could be with her husband.

She had no other UK connection. In my 15 years doing this I have never seen that happen before or since. Because of that student, I don’t say "it will never happen," but it is a tiny and not particularly representative sample of post-JD opportunities.

She should investigate teaching law or working in some capacity at a law school. Schools may have more interest in a JD and more flexibility for getting work permits than other organizations.

My advice: the first step is to get employed there in ANY kind of position. Of course this poses challenges for later career options, especially if she then wants to return to USA.

July 24, 2008

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.


June 5, 2008

Troubled economy? Pay attention...

As the economy is now in what might politely be called a "troubled" state, it isn't clear whether the immediate future (next two years) of legal recruiting will hark back to the early 1980s, the early 1990s or to the time just after 9/11. Each of these times were grim for new lawyers and tough for experienced attorneys, as well.

Now is the time to pay attention.

1. Pay attention to the economy. If you are a law student or a relatively new lawyer, do not hitch your wagon to a troubled industry. The CEO of Declining Widgets, Inc. will not call you -- she will call the most senior partner in your group, and that phone call may not generate work for junior lawyers.

2. Pay attention to your work product. No "drafts." No free-lance grammar. Perfect citations. Answer the questions that you are asked to address AND think about the client's whole problem.

3. Pay attention to your behavior. Let's take for granted that you won't be drinking and carousing on the job. What you must pay attention to are the professional cues that you get from senior attorneys. If you are given the choice of a social event or helping the partner who took you to an all-day closing who says that he will be in the office until later this evening wrapping up the deal documents, offer to help. He may say "No, go on to the event." But if you don't offer, he will remember, mark you as unprofessionally disconnected to the client's work, and this may cost you an offer.

May 21, 2008

Top tips for summer -- before resumes and cover letters

1. Develop an elevator speech -- two minutes of professional, useful information that you can share as you walk around a prospective employer's office.

2. If you are interested in BIG LAW, take the time to learn about it. Read THE AMERICAN LAWYER (the CPDC has 16 years worth of back issues), the NATIONAL LAW JOURNAL, or in DC (required reading for public and private practice: THE LEGAL TIMES).

3. If you have targeted specific cities, read the local newspapers (on paper or online). Your commitment to the new place will shine through in your conversations with interviewers if you know what's going on in town. This will also be of enormous help if you are applying for a public sector job because you will be up-to-date on hiring freezes, which may alter your search strategies.

4. Scrub your electronic persona
for anything that would embarrass your grandmother or that might not help your career if it appeared on the front page of the New York Times. The CPDC staff will gladly review your personal websites or pages if you have questions.

5. Scrub "I'm like" from your vocabulary before you interview with anyone. "I'm like" is not a part of speech, nor is it a substitute for "I said" or "I thought." If you don't know whether this is a habit of yours, ask your friends. If you don't believe them, walk around with a tape recorder for a day. Then, imagine that you are cross examining a witness and your words were entered into the Court record for all eternity.

6. Reconnect to family, friends and former colleagues, and bring them up to date about your law school experience. This will make it easier to ask for recommendations when you need them.

7. Connect with attorneys who are doing the work you would like to do. Consider a visit to the local bar association, attend CLEs, etc.

8. Work on your interviewing skills now. Do mock interviews with your friends and ask the HARD questions. Remember, when you learned to play the piano, hit a baseball, paint a picture or bowl, you had to practice to improve. Interviewing is not magic – it’s a learned skill.

April 8, 2008

Best Selling Legal Career Guide Updated and Expanded

Guerrilla Tactics for Getting the Legal Job of Your Dreams, 2nd Edition, by Kimm Walton, 2008.

* The long-awaited second edition of this bestseller has finally arrived! This essential and very readable handbook is now significantly expanded to over 1,300 pages. Kimm Walton's informal and infectious style, wit, and humor remain, however. She covers every aspect of the job search, from exploring practice areas to conquering the large firm without stellar grades.

Note that we have copies of this comprehensive text in the CPDC.

Table of Contents
Chapter 1: The Secret to Being Happily Employed for the Rest of your life
Chapter 2: Figuring Out What the Heck the Job of Your Dream Is
Chapter 3: Getting the Most Out of Your Career Services Office
Chapter 4: The Most Important Element of Your Image

Continue reading "Best Selling Legal Career Guide Updated and Expanded" »

April 7, 2008

Thinking of a Career in a Non-Profit Organization?

Making the choice to use your law degree for less traditional reasons requires you to be both strategic and thoughtful about your skills and abilities. Many law students express interest in working in the non-profit sector, either because they see such organizations as places where it is possible to be involved in public service and social change or where the expectations are less driven by bottom-line financial success. However, it is not always apparent to employers in non-profit organizations, particularly non-legal related ones, why a person with a JD degree would be a good match for their needs. This makes it incumbent on the candidate to help explain the connection between his or her background and the work of the non-profit entitiy.

A recent New York Times article provides some helpful advice for non-profit job seekers, "Your True Calling Could Suit a Non-Profit". The article can be found at the following (registration required):

While not specifically addressed to lawyers or law students, I think it presents a good overview of how/why candidates can make the transition to this sector and some successful strategies to use. There are additional resources in print, including "What Can You Do With a Law Degree" and other texts. More information can be found on the NALP website at the following:

March 18, 2008

Break Into Your Career By Breaking a Sweat: Hobbies Make A Difference

We often tell students to follow their passions outside of law, even if it takes time away from the daily work of law school. Not only does that make for a balanced life, it also can be a hidden job search strategy. I recently was contacted by a second year law student who discussed the unconventional way she located her summer employment:

I will be working at XYZ law firm (a mid-sized Minneapolis law firm) this summer. I did not interview with them through OCI. I was able to get an interview with them because I run with one of the partners. I trained for the TCM [Twin Cities Marathon] with him all summer. He forwarded my resume to the hiring team. He did not interview me and did not tell any of the interviewers that he knew me.

This student also had the following advice:

[I]f you do have a 1L who says that they are interested in running, encourage them to join a running club in the cities. The group that I run with is not a club per se, just a bunch of people who have picked each other up around the lake. But there are lots of attorneys who run and train for the marathon. I met the guys I run with on my morning runs, however, I am sure a more formalized running group would have some great connections as well.

So there you have it -- having hobbies in law school can be good for your career development. In all seriousness, you never know how you will connect with people and the more you follow your passions, the better the possibility that someone will see how much you can accomplish when you are engaged and committed to an activity or project. Even if you don't run, people get hired through volunteer work with community groups, political activity, artistic/creative endeavors, etc. The most important thing is that your interest be genuine -- people can easily tell when you are doing something purely for the networking prospects.

February 4, 2008

Five Biggest Barriers to a Job Search

The following are five of the most common reasons why people get frustrated with their job search and as well as don't spend enough time and effort on their search:

1. The Rejection Syndrome: A job search can often involve frequent rejection for a variety of reasons (known and unknown). These reasons range from being underqualified or overqualified to just not fitting into the organization at that time.

2. Emotional Stress: Law school is exhausting enough and searching for employment obviously adds more stress and fatigue. Typically over time, job candidates will express negative behavior in their communications (i.e. content, rhetoric, and/or their body language). Interviewers pick up on this negativity immediately.

3. Working Solo: A job search can often be an extremely lonely activity and people often feel that they are their own and seclude them don't invite others to aid and support them.

4. Lowered Self-Esteem & Confidence: Or as I call it: The 'Is it Me? Syndrome. Feelings of rejection make it difficult to maintain self-confidence. This also makes for poor interviewing. The interview is the time you are to tell people how competent you are and how you fit into the organization. Low self-esteem and confidence make it extremely difficult to stay focused on a search.

5. No Plan or the Wrong Plan: Many people approach their job search by just 'winging it' and/or will only use one strategy (the most popular is just to answer job ads online). Having no direction leads to unproductive time and a sense of 'going nowhere fast'.

Continue reading "Five Biggest Barriers to a Job Search" »

February 3, 2008

The Hiring "Year" Deconstructed


THE HIRING “YEAR?There is more than one “Hiring Year.? All but one contain more than 12 months and they all have their own characteristics and casts of characters. Because these “years? overlap, there is absolutely no time when it is “too late? to begin or revive a job search.


“Fall? recruiting for 2L summer and 3L permanent positions with large law firms and agencies begins for 1Ls and 2Ls in February with applications for the Loyola Patent Law Interview Program which is usually scheduled for the first weekend of August. The CPDC’s “Fall Interview Kickoff? program is set for early April.

“Fall? recruiting for employers participating in on or off campus interviews begins in early July when applications are due for off campus programs. “Fall? recruiting for large state and federal agencies begins with applications in late July or early August. Some government employers participate in on and off campus interviews; others can be found in the Arizona Government & Honors Handbook (password protected on the CPDC website), which you may search by class year for available agencies and deadlines.

For Fall 2008, the U of MN on and off campus interview schedule is as follows:
August 15 – West Coast
August 18 – Chicago
August 20 – Washington DC
August 22 – New York
Week of August 25 – 100+ interview schedules during the week before school starts)
These interviews are conducted before school start to keep students competitive with other early-interviewing schools, and to minimize disruption of fall classes. When the market shows signs of strength, 3Ls may find that large law firms continue to hire through the spring and into the following fall (yes, after graduation).

The “fall? ends – more or less – in December. For Fall 2008, the NALP Guidelines for the Timing of Offers and Acceptances will have a rolling offer system, which will give students 45 days from the day they receive an offer to accept, decline or negotiate for more time. The CPDC will provide updates when the NALP rules change.


Spring recruiting includes both on campus interviews and a set of public interest job fairs including Minnesota Justice Foundation clerkship interviews and the Midwest Public Interest Law Career Conference. Unlike fall OCI, when the employers come to interview within a concentrated time frame, spring campus interviews take place throughout the semester. Interview schedules are posted in the OCI section of Symplicity, and required credentials should be uploaded 10 days before the interview date.

Local and national employers recruiting in the spring post jobs for the private sector (small and medium sized law firms), the public sector (Minnesota prosecutors, public defenders, government offices, Legal Services and other non-profits), work-study positions, and others. During the Spring, some public sector employers recruit for post JD fellowship positions.

THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT & PUBLIC SERVICE “YEAR?Local prosecutors, defenders, legal services agencies and other non-profits hire 1Ls for the summer after first year and may have them continue through second and third years. They also hire 2Ls and 3Ls, except when their budget shortfalls mandate a hiring freeze.

Non-Minnesota agencies accept resumes for summer employment during the fall or spring, depending on their budgets. Some state and local agencies do not consider applicants for permanent employment until candidates have passed the bar exam (prosecutors and public defenders in California). The University of Arizona’s Government & Honors Internship Handbook password-protected on the CPDC website), the CPDC’s Public Interest webpage, and Symplicity are good starting points for research.

The Equal Justice Works Conference allows students to interview for national public service employers in October. Later programs include the Midwest Public Interest Law Career Conference, Minnesota Justice Foundation clerkship interviews and other, smaller programs.


One of law students’ consistent concerns is that there appears to be no direct connection to small and mid-sized firms because they do not participate in structured interview programs.

It is true: there is no “season? for these employers, because hiring on a regular, annual basis is not part of their business model. Small firms are like small businesses everywhere – they hire when they have a need and a budget line to do the hire. Lawyers often think about hiring about two weeks after a staffing crisis overtakes the office. In terms of summer work, they may not begin to think about summer hires until summer looms large in their personal lives – for example, when the snow melts and they start booking summer vacations or April and May.

An oddity of the law school hiring: law students are focused on jobs for the summer of 2008 in August of 2007 with large law firms and agencies. The rest of the legal marketplace (and the rest of the business world) hires based on need and usually no more than six to eight weeks before a start date.

How do you create a “door? when there no opening? Broadly speaking, there are two ways to connect to lawyers at small and mid-sized firms who are not hiring right now.

1. Be where lawyers are. Without a “season,? there is no consistent, open door for summer hires. There are, however, many opportunities to meet and to work with lawyers in all practice areas with whom you may create those doors. Your participation in bar association activities – especially in committee work – allows you to make a good impression on a group of people who are active in bar work, and who are often similarly active and influential with their employers. Your contribution to a project – however small, helps to create A Rebuttable Presumption of Excellence in All Things, making it acceptable for your new colleagues to recommend you to others or to hire you directly. You know how this works: with even tangential interactions with people, you make judgments. If a person is smart, contributes to the project, and is pleasant to deal with, you are willing to work with her again, and to say good things about her. This can work for you, too.

You should also attend relevant Continuing Legal Education (CLE) programs. Your willingness to invest in your own career by learning practical, substantive information and skills helps lawyers “see? you as worthy of hire. List the CLE programs you attend on your resume under EDUCATION heading or under PROFESSIONAL AFFILIATIONS and ACTIVITIES.

2. Understand job postings that these employers offer throughout the year.

(a) “Part time now, full time summer,? which often leads to permanent offers or to recommendations for you that read “While we are not expanding our office now, if we were, we would hire this student whose work, work product, and work ethic have been exemplary;?

(b) “Part-time now,? which might lead to full time summer or permanent employment; or

(c) “project work? which often becomes a regular part time schedule and then leads to summer or permanent employment.

There is not a moment during the year when small firms might not hire students or lawyers. The school calendar – including school and bar exam schedules – is of no consequence to an office full of busy lawyers needing help NOW.

THE VOLUNTEER “YEAR?This “year? can begin during the first week of your 1L year and continue for the rest of your life. The choices are unlimited:

(1) Follow your dream toward a particular kind of practice. This may be the hardest but most rewarding work that you ever do because you need to decide what you want, to reach out to the people who are doing the work here or around the world and to make yourself known to them for your dedication and interest. Doing research projects – even long distance – can make you indispensible. For your particular individual strategy, consult your CPDC counselor.

(2) Explore the vast array of opportunities available through MJF and PSLawNet;

(3) Take volunteer work that you performed as an undergrad and add law student expertise to work that matters to you;

(4) Connect to organizations around the country or around the world. Know which agencies do specific kinds of work; target your volunteer efforts toward work that interests you. Understand your target organization’s management and funding sources.

(5) Be where the lawyers are: The best approach to these employers when they are NOT hiring, is to get yourself into the room and at the table where they are sitting. How? When lawyers are not hiring, and not working on client files, they are in Bar Committee Meetings, in Continuing Legal Education (CLE) programs, and working on Pro Bono Projects. Once you have done good work on a project with a group of lawyers you will acquire have acquired “The Rebuttable Presumption of Excellence in All Things,? paving the way for your new colleagues to recommend you for employment or to hire you outright. (See #1, above).

Many of these paths might lead to a post-JD fellowship or to summer or permanent post-JD employment. Many post-JD public sector opportunities often come with loan repayment.

THE CLERKSHIP “YEAR?The recruiting process for judicial clerkships begins for 2Ls with programs in the Spring and Fall. Learn more about the application process at the CPDC Clerkships Page. While the majority of federal judges adhere to the Federal Clerkship Hiring Guidelines by recruiting 3Ls in the very early fall, some will also hire post JD clerks on their own timelines. Some, but not all, state appellate courts recruit during the spring of 2nd year. The Minnesota Supreme Court and Court of Appeals now review resumes in the summer and interview in late August and early September of 3rd year. A handful of Minnesota trial courts (3rd Judicial District) hire during 3L OCI. By contrast, most Minnesota trial courts hire when their clerks move on to new jobs, which can be anytime during the year. There are also additional opportunities to apply for clerkships when new judges are appointed or when a current clerk leaves before his or her term is complete.

THE 1L “YEAR?The only “year? with fewer than 12 months is the 1L “year,? which begins on November 1. Employers will not look at 1L resumes until December 1, which is not a deadline but the beginning of 1L hiring. December 1st employers are, for the most part, Large Firms and Major Agencies which made tentative plans to hire 1Ls when they published hiring goals in the NALP Directory of Legal Employers the previous February. Most employers hiring 1Ls begin to post jobs between late February and early May. The 1L “year? ends in mid-July when students begin to apply for interview programs and government honors programs for the following summer.

Continue reading "The Hiring "Year" Deconstructed" »

January 7, 2008

More On Line Resources

Although I don't advocate using the Internet solely for those seeking employment, I do suggest it be a part of students and clients strategy to find a job. Career expert Richard Bolles asserts that only 4 to 10% of job seekers land a job via the Internet. He does, as I, advocate the net be used extensively in the research stage of the career development process.

Here are more (I posted a similar article earlier in the year) websites I'd like to pass on to you.. The first one listed include "70+ [Internet] Tools For Job Hunting" and is a terrific resource.

October 29, 2007

Every student needs an individual strategy: the CPDC will help you develop yours

1. INDIVIDUAL STRATEGY #1 Develop an individual strategy based on a student's interests and goals that takes into account market reality (i.e. A 2L's 4th quartile GPA is not a direct route to a large law firm.) This requires work on the student's part, because a search for "a job, any job," is fraught with difficulty, in part because the candidate pool for "any job" is loaded with students for whom it is their heartfelt first choice. Without some focus, taking aim at "any job" is beyond daunting, and almost guarantees frustration.

2. INDIVIDUAL STRATEGY #2 In addition to the short-term goal of getting the first job, it's a good idea to engage in some long-term strategic thinking. Most students' real "dream" jobs are not their first jobs after graduation. No one, in my experience, has aspired to permanently prosecuting misdemeanor traffic tickets, being the 4th chair litigator or the 7th lawyer on the deal. More often than not, there are jobs in which students and new lawyers built a valuable skill set and then moved on to the jobs that more closely matched the "dream."

3. OUTLINE TACTICS Having identified between one and three job categories or market segments, work with the CPDC, Alumni Office and Law Library staff to create the following set of contact lists:

a. Bar associations or other orgs to join AND to become engaged with leadership and membership. Even the slightest contribution to a bar committee's activity gives a student the "Presumption of Competence in All Things," which is useful as a networking springboard;

On most bar association websites (including, of course, the MN Bar Association), subject and issue-related committees and sections are listed, and each page has a helpful listing of the section and committee leaders with their contact info (employer, phone, email).

Three points:

(1) THEY WANT YOU The CPDC is besieged by requests from bar association folks to help them connect with students. They" are looking for "you." Membership is the lifeblood of these organizations, and bar associations are looking for new members and new ways to engage new and old members. The age-old question, "Why should I be active in the bar association?" is something that they wrestle with all the time.

(2) BAR LEADERS HAVE A JOB TO DO THAT INCLUDES YOU The lawyers who are elected to leadership positions are respected by their peers and become the public faces of the section. Among all of their other tasks, they are charged with increasing membership and these people know that accepting phone calls and fielding questions from potential members (students and lawyers) are part of the job.

(3) NOT JUST FOR BAR ASSOCIATIONS The same rule applies to officers of other organizations -- the professional organizations for the non-lawyers who will be future clients. (Examples not necessarily drawn from life: Bankers of America, Minnesota Drywall Contractors, National Organization of Nurses... you get the idea.)

b. ALUMNI Alumni in the jobs or in the practice areas (in MN or elsewhere) to contact for industry knowledge, advice about entry portals, and guidance about both potential opportunities and pitfalls. The CPDC and Alumni Office staff will always try to connect students to alums.

c. INDUSTRY SPECIFIC INTERESTS? If a student's interest is industry-specific, find the professional organizations of the non-lawyers, and conduct some information-gathering forays into:

(1) LITERATURE (paper & electronic) Be familiar with the literature, so that you can be sufficiently knowledgeable to carry on a conversation with professionals in this field;
(2) INDUSTRY PROBLEMS AND ISSUES Begin to get a handle on the industry's problems and issues so that when you talk to lawyers about your interest in the business, you present yourself as smart and sophisticated about their clients;
(3) MEETINGS WITH THE PROS Ask to meet with some professionals in that industry, so that in a law interview, you can say, for instance, "I recently spoke to several Senior Trust Officers and learned X about their work..."
(4) NOT CHEESY You may think that this is cheesy, however, industry knowledge or the ability to ask intelligent questions that get the conversational ball rolling are keys to success in all things. What's cheesy is insincerity.

d. FACULTY Enlist faculty in your job search and career development. There are Law Faculty who have gone to the mat for students who have performed well in their classes (either orally or on exams), who have served as research assistants or who have otherwise engaged with them (conversations after class). And all of this regardless of GPA. These are the people who often write letters of recommendation or who make calls to potential employers saying "John was terrific in my class and I know that his grade reflects neither his comprehension of the subject nor his problem-solving abilities. I would recommend him unreservedly." Don't forget your undergrad faculty!

e. KNOW THE RULES Review the rules for informational and networking interviews to understand how different they are from job interviews. Knowing the rules makes these meetings astonishingly powerful. Click here for more information.

4. APPLY FOR JOBS CAREFULLY. Review the materials that you send out all the time. Just because a letter sounded good (or read well) in September, doesn't mean it shouldn't be revised in October or November. Give special attention to documents that have generated poor or no results, and have someone review the text and your strategy. ASK FOR RECONSIDERATION if you think that the skills set and experience that you presented were well within the parameters of the job description.

5. KNOW THE "SEASON�? for hiring for the jobs for which you are applying. Large law firms and major public agencies do the bulk of their hiring in the early fall of the 2L and 3L year. Federal judges hire 3Ls in the fall; state appellate judges hire anytime after the middle of the 2L summer, although they seem to be falling in line behind the Federal judges in the 3L fall now. Small and medium-sized firms can hire throughout the 2L or 3L years, and often hire 3Ls as "part-time during the school year with possibility for permanent hire." The bulk of 1L hiring happens during the Spring semester. The list goes on and market segments differ.

6. CHECK IN WITH THE CPDC at least monthly. Now each student has an assigned CPDC counselor who can be main point of contact. All CPDC counselors are available to all students, however.

October 4, 2007

Employer Research: Just Do It!

Career expert Richard Bolles as well as law firm recruiters suggest that "[w]herever possible, you must research the organization [firm]...before going in for an interview.�? For employers, your efforts will reflect your interest and understanding of the organization. For you, it will help you determine if they are a good fit for you.

Topics to Research

• Areas of Practice
• Location of offices
• Firm Size
• Biographies of lawyers - be discreet here
• Clients they are representing
• Cases they are working on

Where to Look

Employer's Website - Their 'Mission Statement' - bios, 'About the Organization', etc.

NALP Directory/NALP Form - The annual NALP Directory of Legal Employers,, is the most widely used directory in legal recruiting. The 2006-2007 edition includes information on more than 1,700 employers nationwide and is an invaluable tool for job searchers, career counselors, and legal recruiters alike. The CPDC has a hardcopy of the directory if you are interested.

Martindale - The Legal Personnel Locator offers free access to data on an extensive network of key non-lawyer staff members, including management personnel, librarians, marketing professionals and paralegals.

American Lawyer
- The American Lawyer covers the most significant legal business stories and the most important legal news stories. Often the two overlap. Corporate governance, bankruptcy, and the Supreme Court, are all topics that we address through our special perspective.

Daily News
Newspapers, radio, and TV

University Faculty/Staff Members - You will be surprised how in touch these individuals have with the legal and business communities.

September 10, 2007

Don't Forget Federal Legal Employment Opportunities

Although private sector employer hiring seems to dominate this time of year, it is important to also keep track of opportunities to connect with employers in the public sector. Federal agencies present law students and recent graduates with fertile ground for employment. (Indeed, not surprisingly, it is the largest legal employer in the nation.) Although many of these opportunities are located in the Washington, DC area, there are also plenty of openings throughout other parts of the country.

NALP just recently updated its Federal Legal Employment Opportunities Guide for 2007-8. This resource is available as a free PDF download and is chock full of helpful tips, ideas and leads. You may find the document at the following link:

In addition, the Law School subscribes to the University of Arizona Government Honors and Internship Handbook, which is updated continuously throughout the year. This is the definitive resource for finding information, including hiring contacts and application requirements, about both federal and state legal hiring programs for both summer and post-graduate employment. If you are interested in accessing the Arizona Guide, please e-mail our office at

Finally, for those interested in non-legal employment with the federal government, the Presidential Management Fellows program offers students who will be graduating this academic year the opportunity to be hired with one of dozens of federal agencies in what would normally be civil service positions. Although these are not practice positions, many agencies actively seek out law graduates. (Please note there is both a nomination and assessment process.) For full information, please see the following link:

August 16, 2007

Online Job Search Strategy and Resources

Online job searching (as well as responding to job ads) is typically a
passive activity and a small percentage of one's time should be spent
using this strategy to find an actual position. The candidate's goal,
in my mind, is to get him or herself in front of potential colleagues
and/or employers to learn and to promote his or her abilities. Am I
saying don't use this strategy? No. 'You can't win the lottery without
buying a ticket', and adding an online strategy to your search may
increase one's chances. Heck, I got my previous job through an ad that
I responded to online. But it certainly shouldn't be your only method.

* Using online resources can help you understand the various legal
markets, learn about practice areas, and find people who are doing the
work you want to do (your future colleagues).

Continue reading "Online Job Search Strategy and Resources" »

July 13, 2007

Learn About NALP

In case you haven't heard of NALP or have a vague idea as to what this organization is, we strongly suggest you visit ASAP and become familiar with the various resources available to you.

Note that "The National Association for Legal Professionals (NALP) was organized in 1971 to promote the exchange of information and cooperation between law schools and employers. In order to advance those interests, the Association has developed these "Principles and Standards for Law Placement and Recruitment Activities"

May 1, 2007

Can my credit history cause employment problems?

Q&A from the NALP discussion list....

Question: I had a student report to me today that he was turned down for a position with the US Attorneys Office because his credit report came back with some "problems." Does anyone know the extent to which employers are using credit reports in their hiring process? Thanks.

Answer: Assuming that the credit history revealed major patterns of significant problems over time, it is consistent with what I've learned from friends who are in the US Attorney's Office.

Indeed, the credit report is very important to the government background check, whether candidate is seeking student or post-graduate employment. Government employers have found over time and experience that candidates who demonstrate significant and repeated difficulty managing debt (major over-extension or bankruptcy, repeated delinquencies) often have other issues lurking in the shadows -- not simply being broke.

In the most severe cases it can create concern about whether the candidates will be susceptible to undue influence or have problems that cause them to consistently misapply funds or live way beyond their means. At a less severe level, it can implicate questions of judgment, ability to meet obligations, follow rules, meet deadlines, etc.

They are not typically talking about the occasional single problem -- usually these issues arise where there is a major issue or series of issues suggesting a pattern. In fact, often candidates incorrectly assume that something like a DUI is a bigger deal when in fact the thing that may trip them up is the credit report......And keep in mind, the credit report may revealed more than the student was comfortable discussing (or admitting).

April 20, 2007

Summer Roadmap from the CPDC for the Class of 2009

As you head off for the summer…

1. WATCH YOUR EMAIL The CPDC will use email, Symplicity home pages and our website to deliver logistical information about early interview programs, job fairs, on-and off-campus interviews, public and private 2L job search considerations, and other career-related activities. There will be interview prep programs and other events during the summer.

2. KEEP YOUR CONTACT INFO CURRENT Update your contact info in Symplicity. If we need to find you, we will use that as our main source.

Continue reading "Summer Roadmap from the CPDC for the Class of 2009" »

Summer Roadmap from the CPDC for The Class of 2008

As you head off for the summer...

1. CONTACT INFORMATION If your contact information changes during the summer, update it in Symplicity. If we need to find you, we will use that as our main source.

2. WATCH YOUR EMAIL The CPDC will use email, Symplicity home pages and our website to deliver logistical information about early interview programs, job fairs, on and off campus interviews, public and private 3L job search considerations, and other career-related events and activities. There will be interview prep programs and other events during the summer.

Continue reading "Summer Roadmap from the CPDC for The Class of 2008" »

Summer Roadmap from the CPDC for the Class of 2010

Congratulations to the Class of 2010!

If you haven't already checked in with us, please do so in the next few weeks. We want to make sure that your job search is either complete or on track and that you know what services are available to you throughout your career.

1. CONTACT INFORMATION If your contact information changes during the summer, update it in Symplicity. If we need to find you, we will use that as our main source.

2. CPDC CHECK-IN Please stop by the CPDC to check in with one of us if you haven't done so already. We'd like to catch up on what you will do next year and make sure that you have a plan in place if you aren't yet certain.

Continue reading "Summer Roadmap from the CPDC for the Class of 2010" »

April 14, 2007

The Five Worst & Best Ways to Find a Job

From What Color is Your Parachute? (2007) Bolles, Richard N. Berkeley: Ten Speed Press. Note that this information includes a large and wide variety of occupations to include legal positions.

Five Worst Ways to Find a Job: (in order from very worst to somewhat worst!)

1) Using the Internet – success rate 4.1% out of 100% who search on Internet find jobs there.
2) Mailing out resumes to employers at random – 7% success rate. Otherwise known as the 'shotgun' approach.
3) Answering ads in professional or trade journals – 7% success rate.
4) Answering local newspaper ads – 5-24% success rate.
5) Using private employment agencies or search firms – 5-28% success rate.
View Site »
Five Best Ways to Find a Job: (in order from lowest success rate to best)

1) Asking for job-leads from: family members, friends, people in the community, staff at career centers – 33% success rate.
2) Knocking on the door of any employer, factory, or office that interests you, whether they are known to have a vacancy or not - 47% success rate.
3) By yourself, using the phone book’s Yellow Pages [or other applicable directory such as the NALP Directory,, and/or, etc.] to identify subjects of fields of interest to you in the town or city where you are, and then calling up the employers listed in that field, to ask if they are hiring for the type of position you can do, and do well. - 69% success rate.
4) In a group with other job hunters, using the phone book’s Yellow Pages [or other applicable directory such as the NALP Directory,, and/or, etc.] to identify subjects of fields of interest to you in the town or city where you are, and then calling up the employers listed in that field, to ask if they are hiring for the type of position you can do, and do well. 84% success rate.
5) Doing a life-changing job hunt - 86% success rate (i.e., spending time assessing what you really want to do and finding people who are doing it and spending time looking for what you really want to do and will be happy doing.

Bottom Line: Create and implement a plan that includes as many job search strategies listed above as possible.

February 18, 2007

On-Line Professionalism: Blogging

As employers increase their background checks and look more closely at their applicants, the issue of managing one's on-line persona is more important than ever for job seekers. Remember, the purpose of the interview process is to confirm that you have the experience, skills and abilities listed on your resume. In addition, employers are equally concerned with ensuring that you will be a good fit for their organization.

Like it or not, one of the steps added to the due diligence process is conducting Internet searches to learn more about you and how you ‘behave’ online, i.e. what you are writing about (your opinions), including comments about others (respect and civility), and your overall level of professionalism (self-awareness, responsibility, maturity). These searches include looking at sites such as MySpace, Facebook, and Friendster. They also include search engine tools like Google, which often lead an employer directly to a candidate’s blog, which can be a treasure trove of personal (and often damaging) information about the blogger. Do not underestimate the extent to which blogs are explored and the content and tone thoroughly examined by employers, classmates, potential colleagues, mentors, professors, your parents, etc.

Simply stated: Your words can, and most probably will, come back to haunt you in a variety of ways and environments.

That said, I’m not suggesting that you give up your freedom of speech online for, as one U of M student suggests, these mediums are “valuable communication tools and great ways to express oneself to a large network of friends in varied locations.? I am suggesting, however, that one carefully monitor and manage his or her online presence. Many of the responses I received to my e-mail inquiry regarding social networking suggested the following:

• Keep privacy settings high and be careful who has access to your blog.

• Don’t publish anything on your page that you would be embarrassed about having a hiring partner read.

• Make yourself ‘unsearchable’, which means using a name and/or email address that your potential employers won’t know.

• Password protect every page that might have potentially negative or very personal information.

• Keep in mind that even if you have taken every precaution to hide and /or protect your online information, that doesn’t guarantee that someone to whom you have given access won’t pass it along to others.

The bottom line is, as another U of M law student eloquently stated: “Students should keep it classy. Schools and employers should aim for high-quality information in a well-designed format and should resist the urge to be cool and trendy.?

February 15, 2007

Advice from an Alum on Long Distance Job Searching

Our office recently received an e-mail from a law school alumna who practices with a mid-to-large sized law firm in a very in-demand city on the West Coast. She was excited that a recent graduate was joining her firm and wanted to take the time to offer her observations about successful long-distance job searching strategies, Here is the text of her e-mail with all identifying information redacted.

We don't do on campus interviews other than at the [in state] law schools. We typically hire about three summer clerks. We typically do not hire people straight out of law school if they have not clerked with us. We are happy to receive resumes from students of other schools who are interested, but to get any traction, they most likely would have to do as [our grad] did - be interested enough to come out here on their own dime, preferably during the time we are doing our on campus interviews and call backs. [Our grad] met with a couple of us when she was in town, and she came back later at her own expense for a call back during the 2-3 week period we were doing our regular call backs so she could be considered with the rest of them.

January 3, 2007

New Year’s Resolutions for Your Career Development

Happy New Year and welcome to 2007. We hope you had a wonderful holiday break.

Here are five resolutions to consider making for your personal career development:

1. If you don't already know, decide what you want to do, where, and for whom you want to do it. "This is the number one reason people have trouble finding a new job. They don’t know what they want. Take the time to figure it out, and you'll be way ahead of the rest of the crowd."

2. Work on your resume and cover letters. Do these marketing tools accurately and strongly promote your skills and experiences? Do they reflect what you have to offer a law firm or potential employer and why you would want to work for them?

3. Build relationships with "new" people who work for employers you'd consider working with. Who are your future colleagues? Find them now! Join school-related clubs, professional/industry associations, and go to their meetings. Volunteer and/or perform informational/investigative interviews.

4. Retain or rekindle relationships with people from your past. "Stay in touch (or get back in touch) with old friends, school mates, colleagues, neighbors, long-lost relatives, etc. Let them know about your job hunt and help them with theirs." Ensure they all have a copy of your resume and know what you are looking for (and where).

5. Keep track of your accomplishments and the people who can provide a recommendation. Be organized and follow-up where appropriate. Remember that career development is a life-long activity,

The CPDC has many resources available to help you accomplish all of the resolutions above. Make a resolution to visit us often this year.

1 - Posting based on and quoted from

December 10, 2006

Ask for what you want...

Sales professionals -- people who live and die by their results -- know that you have to "Ask for the Order." Job searching and networking are no different -- you have to ask for what you want.

Interviewing and Job Searching -- 7 out of 10 people walk out of an interview and the interviewer has no idea if the candidate is actually interested in the job. Look the interviewer straight in the eye, shake hands and say "I am very interested in continuing in the interview process, and hope to work for you in the (summer; fall; next judicial term)."

Networking -- After slaving over the text of a letter or email explaining who you are, don't neglect to ask for what you want: a 20-minute meeting next week, a ten-minute phone call by the end of this week; a chance to shadow a prosecutor or defender; or an invitation to a bar association committee meeting.

Think of it this way: Telepathy is not a job search tool -- unless you are applying for one or two jobs in Las Vegas. You have to ask!

December 7, 2006

Productive Informational Interviews

The following is from a student e-mail I received regarding his experience conducting informational interviews:

"I thought you might like to know that my informational interviews in [Northern City, MN], Thursday and Friday of last week went very well. Everyone was very helpful in describing what their experience has been like practicing in [Greater Minnesota], and most were willing to give advice on what else I could do and other attorneys I should speak with. I even got invited up again to meet with the rest of the attorneys at one of the firms! If nothing else, I got a lot more names of people to get in touch with in order to keep expanding my circle. I also got the feeling that it would be a great area to live and practice law in, and am encouraged by the fact that it seemed like many interesting employment possibilities exist in the area." (Note that this e-mail extract was used with the student's permission.)

Feel free to stop by the CPDC and learn more about securing and conducting informational interviews. Please let the us know if you have additional informational and/or networking advice you'd like to share.

November 13, 2006

Your website and blog are the equivalent of your locker at work

Don't be surprised when an employer asks you about the blog or website which you have helpfully listed on your resume.

Delete questionable or suggestive material. You may be applying to employers who routinely counsel their clients have their employees take down risque material from the locker room walls. Your blog or website are the equivalent of your locker room wall. You have invited scrutiny, and you will never know when it costs you an interview or an offer.

Teaching fellowships as entry to law teaching

Here is a short list of teaching fellowships that may be of interest to grads considering a career change:

October 31, 2006

A "writing test" may be part of your job application

FROM NALP EMAIL -- We recently asked finalists for one of our divisions to turn around a writing exercise in 48 hours, which we found extremely helpful in distinguishing between several excellent candidates. Having the opportunity to compare and contrast the writing samples knowing that our candidates all had the same timeframe within which to do the work was extraordinarily valuable.


This is part of a (mini) tidal wave from employers who are trying to discover what kind of skills their candidates have before wasting valuable time in interviews. I have heard of this with both law firms and judges.

Law Firms The first law firm to do it was a Chicago litigation boutique which spun out of a Giant Law Firm. The always-helpful-but-extremely-expensive publication OF COUNSEL explained that the firm planned its growth around cherry-picking junior laterals from Giant Law Firm Litigation Departments. The boutique’s managers assumed that laterals with the credentials good enough for Giant Law Firms could actually write. After finding that assumption to be flawed, those managers instituted a writing test before the first face-to-face interview.

Judges Many judges will put their candidates in a room with some documents and a laptop and ask that they write a bench memo that becomes part of their application package.

The main work of most law-trained people is reading, writing, talking on the phone and going to meetings. Most of the reading and writing is done somewhere between in-a-hurry and shriekingly-close-to-the-statute-of-limitations. Asking students to provide a time-limited writing sample that is unambiguously their own work provides employers with good preview of their candidates' skills and provides those of us in career development an opportunity to remind students and alumni of the primacy of legal writing.

October 30, 2006

Should I take the Patent Bar While I'm Still in School?

When you take the patent bar exam while you are in law school:

1. Sometimes passing the Patent Bar can give someone with not-so-great grades just the boost needed to get hired. Note that passing the Patent Bar does magically not turn a BS in Biology into a PhD in Computer Science. Patent practitioners are almost always hired because of their underlying degree(s), and The Ever-changing Market Rules on which sciences are "hot" and how much grad school is preferred.

2. The timeline for racking up patent experience can begin the minute you pass the patent bar and start work as a Patent Agent. You are able to bill at a professional, not-a-law-clerk rate.

3. You have to pay for bar review and the bar exam and your future employer may not reimburse you.

When you take the patent bar exam after starting work as a lawyer:

1. Employers pay for the bar review and the bar exam. Sometimes candidates are sent to fancy hotels in New York to study for this exam.

2. Some IP firms prefer that that their attorneys take the patent bar after they work in the office for a bit. What happens, then, if you want to change jobs before passing the test? Your marketability is somewhat diminished because you been a patent clerk, not a patent lawyer. When asked "How long have you been a patent lawyer?" and the answer is "I'm not one," you may have hit on a deal-breaking conversation killer. Or, perhaps not. There is no way to predict this with certainty.

3. You have to take the exam on your employer’s timeline.

Your Privacy and Your Job Search: You're fired!

You think that you have absorbed all of the 21st century Electronic Personna lessons by:

1. Scrubbing your MyElectronicSocialFacebookSpace sites for inappropriate material;

2. Persuading your pals to eliminate your name and face from their sites; and

3. Recording a professional message on all of your phones.

And yet, your electronic calendar at work contains all of the details of your personal life, including your job interview information. What's the problem? It's your personal calendar, after all.

Whatever gave you that idea? Your employer paid for both the hardware and the software, and can "audit" your electronic activity at any time.

After discovering that you are looking for a job, an employer may fire you, so that you may continue to search full time.

Please add the following to your 21st Century Electronic Personna checklist:

4. Keep private information out of your employer's calendar.

October 11, 2006

Blogging Has Its Benefits

A recent alumnus of the law school sent us an e-mail this week describing his experience with a potential employer that identified him from his blog. Here is an excerpt of the e-mail he sent to us:

"I just got an email from the general counsel of a rather high-profile digital music startup in San Francisco asking me to submit my resume for an open in-house counsel position. He mentioned that he'd decided to email me because he'd noted my interest in and familiarity with the relevant legal issues from posts on my blog."

"I declined, since I already accepted an offer from [another employer]. But I think it's notable that I attracted interest for what would be a job that's very high on my "dream job" list not because I was a [judicial law] clerk, but because of my blog."

"So if they can use the blog to demonstrate that they are really competent in and passionate about a certain area of law, I would encourage students to consider starting a legal blog. If it's a chore, that will come through, but if the student really enjoys writing about and discussing the subject, that enthusiasm can come through and can have positive consequences."

Not everyone may want to take the time and effort to create and maintain a blog. However, it's interesting to note the potential upsides of a presence on the web. As always, you want to make sure that you monitor your entries and make sure they reflect positively on you as much as possible.

October 4, 2006

ASK for what you want...

Sales professionals -- people who live and die by their results -- know that you have to "Ask for the Order." Job searching and networking are no different -- you have to ask for what you want.

Interviewing and Job Searching -- When 7 out of 10 people walk out of an interview leaving the interviewer with no idea whether the candidate is actually interested in the job. Don't waste this opportunity to ask for what you want. Look the interviewer straight in the eye, shake hands and say "I am very interested in continuing in the interview process, and hope to work for you in the (next few weeks, summer, fall, or next judicial term)."

Networking -- After slaving over the text of a letter or email explaining who you are, don't neglect to ask for what you want: a 20-minute meeting next week, a ten-minute phone call by the end of this week; a chance to shadow a prosecutor or defender; or an invitation to a bar association committee meeting.

July 18, 2006

What about my grades? Q&A/FAQ from email

I am a 2L and have spent the summer at an internship out of state. I have reviewed my grades and guess that I am in the 4th quartile. I ultimately would like to work as an attorney for the federal government, but am open to any government position.

1) What should I do now to prepare myself to obtain employment?

Join the gov’t or public service sections of the MN bar and ABA. The MN Public Service section is very welcoming to students and very often willing to give them projects. Two or three years ago, one student did such good work that everyone he worked with in the section told me (without prompting) that they would be references for him and, if possible, create a budget line for him in their offices.

2) Is it possible to obtain a paid position, an externship, or an internship that would boost my resume?

Where would you like to work? Some places have paid law clerk positions; most public offices do not have paid internships, but have opportunities for volunteers. MJF handles referrals to the Ramsey County PD, which lets students do arraignments RIGHT NOW. You can get a lot of very valuable experience through MJF referrals.

However, you should define "boost my resume." Are you looking for skills or connections? Or both?

3) How can I overcome my sub-par GPA?

Read the “My Grades [are Dreadfu]l? chapter in Kimm Walton’s Guerilla Tactics. Then, remember this: the only jobs that are totally grade dependent for new grads are tenure track teaching positions in law schools, most federal clerkships, and associate positions at giant law firms. Everything – every other job – goes to students (and alums) who build skills (clinic and volunteer work), build relationships (bar associations, alumni, other non-alumni professionals), and build expertise (write a paper – enter into an essay contest; participate smartly in professional listserves and blogs).

Finally, remember that this is a top 20 law school, and you and your classmates – regardless of quartile – are in the top 10% of all law students in the US. You are smart, creative, curious, energetic and enthusiastic. Learn to portray those characteristic for potential employers.

Continue reading "What about my grades? Q&A/FAQ from email" »

July 4, 2006

Scamming your Social Security Number

Never, ever give your Social Security number to anyone while you are job hunting until:

1. You are far enough into the recruiting process that the employer says that your hire is contingent on a satisfactory criminal, credit and other background check. Before you give out the number, you will be asked to sign a document granting permission for the checks; or

2. You have accepted the job and are signing forms that will permit you to be paid.

Beware: a job posting with a salary extremely far above market, and an application that asks for your Social Security number.

Think long and hard before giving your number to a stranger -- and especially a stranger over the internet.

June 7, 2006

True Confessions (or "Do I Really Need to Tell Them About That?")

Bar examiners and prospective employers are increasingly asking for more information about your past as part of their "due diligence" before either certifying you for practice or hiring you as a permanent employee. Recent lapses in background verification, such as one well-publicized event at a local Twin Cities law firm, have raised warning flags for bar examiners and hiring authorities throughout the legal community. In addition, law schools are often asked by bar certification authorities for copies of an applicant's previous application to law school to compare with the paperwork submitted in support of bar admission. Discrepancies can get you in trouble with both the bar and your law school.

What to do? Our blanket advice is simple: "When in doubt, disclose." None of us has a completely pristine past and, for the most part, except for felony convictions, what happened when you were a rambunctious junior in high school won't keep you from the job of your dreams. That said, if there is anything that you think would give a reasonable person pause before allowing you to represent clients and collect a pay check, say so early on. At a minimum, you will be able to begin to address any concerns, apparent or real, that might preclude you from practicing law well in advance. You will also appear responsible, mature and, yes, professional. If you need background documentation, collect it before you disclose so that you can quickly provide answers to requests for more information. If you cannot obtain such documentation, explain as much about the circumstances as possible in detail, as well as why you can't provide paperwork at this time.

Finally, remember that, until you are admitted to the bar or officially hired, you are usually under a continuing duty to disclose information. In other words, if you get arrested the night before the bar exam on a DUI charge, you better let someone at the board of law examiners know, however embarrassing that may seem.

May 18, 2006

Practicing and Job Hunting in a Small City

QUESTION: I am working in a very small city this summer. Last fall I met a lawyer who suggested that I apply to her firm in the Spring. In late December, I accepted a position with another firm in this city. While I like my current firm, and would accept a position if it were offered, there is no guarantee – nor has there been any discussion – of a job for me after graduation. Can I send a resume to the lawyer I met last year?

ANSWER: There is good news and bad news here. Yes, you are working in a very small city, and, in all likelihood, everyone you meet is working with or closely related to everyone else. Without knowing how the lawyers for whom you work would react to your application to another firm, I would strongly advise against sending an a letter out of the blue. That’s the bad news.

The good news is that because the legal market is so small, you are very likely to run into lawyers from the other firm, including the woman you met last year. As a law student, you may very reasonably call the woman you met and ask her to lunch -- as a networking activity to learn about practicing in your city.

When meeting other lawyers from the firm at a bar association event, CLE or other gathering, you could inquire about their hiring plans in general or “on behalf of some of your classmates,? to find out (a) if they are thinking about hiring, and if so, for which practice, and (b) then, decide whether you want to apply. As you work through the summer, you will get a better idea about the culture of your firm and how the partners might react to your “defection.? You should also be able to lead them through conversations about your future.

You should, in any event, keep lines of communication open with the lawyers throughout the city because you will be practicing with them and adverse to them for the foreseeable future.

April 5, 2006

How do I follow up on an application? Email from a 1L

I have been asking some 3L’s what the best thing to do is after sending in an application to an employer, and I’ve got very mixed answers.

They are correct: it depends.

I was wondering specifically about calling then after sending it. Do you believe that it is necessary/helpful/unhelpful calling an employer after sending in an app?

You need not call after sending an application to make sure that it has been received. You should, on the other hand, feel free to call a week to 10 days after the deadline to inquire “Where are you in the hiring process?? Why? Because you want to get a sense of the employer’s timeline: are they starting to interview? Will the process be delayed because the managing partner is in a trial?

Does it matter if the job is posted on Symplicity or another electronic site or if I have written an unsolicited application?

Continue reading "How do I follow up on an application? Email from a 1L" »

March 31, 2006

Be Ready for 'That' Call: Your phone interview

Here are some suggestions that will help you be prepared when answering the phone when employers call you.

1) Check your voice-mail message. Is it professional?
2) If you share a phone, remind family, friends, and/or roommates that you are expecting employers to call and ask them to take a message for you.
3) Have pen and paper ready before answering. Get contact names, correct spellings, e-mail addresses, driving directions, and note the day/time of the interview.
4) Have your resume, cover letter, transcripts, and writing sample handy so you can talk about them.

Continue reading "Be Ready for 'That' Call: Your phone interview" »

March 30, 2006

Is a high Multistate score enough to pass the MN bar exam?

FROM THE MN Board of Law Examiners website...

Students have recently asked whether an examinee who achieves a high Multistate Bar Exam (MBE) score on the Minnesota Bar Exam will automatically pass the entire exam without regard to his or her essay and MPT scores.

The answer is "no." No matter how high a score an examinee achieves on the MBE, the examinee will not pass unless the examinee achieves enough points on the essays and performance question portion of the exam so that the combined total score meets or exceeds 260. Because Minnesota uses a "compensatory" method for combining scores, a relatively low score achieved on one part of the exam can be compensated for by achieving a higher score on the other part of the exam. However, an examinee must take both portions of the exam and must score points on both the MBE and the essay portions of the exam in order to meet or exceed a score of 260 and pass the examination.

If you have questions regarding the bar exam, please review with Board's "From Diploma to License" brochure found at

For more information about the MN bar exam, go to:

March 28, 2006

Failure to file income tax can torpedo your background check

From emaill to the CPDC from the Department of Justice:

From time to time, the [DOJ] Office of Attorney Recruitment and Management receives inquiries relating to pre-employment background checks. There seems to be some confusion among law students relating to when they are required to file federal income tax returns. Some students who are due tax refunds may mistakenly believe that they are not required to file an income tax return or that they have three years to file. We note that failure to file a timely income tax return can result in disqualification from employment. This problem can be avoided by careful review of available information specifying who is required to file a tax return. Please note that the filing requirement provisions differ from those provisions dealing with claiming refunds.

March 13, 2006

Always ask "Why is this job available?"

Always ask why the job is available, and if it’s because someone left recently, politely inquire about the history of the position. One of our grads left a terrific job at another state’s attorney general’s office for a small firm doing what was for him the right mix of civil rights and employment law. What he didn’t know – and didn’t find out for a few weeks – was that there had been 11 associates in his position in the previous five years. He’d ended up working for a seriously loony lawyer with major professionalism (read “being investigated for corruption?) issues.

Don't let your job search be "void for vagueness"

Your classmates, friends and family, and casual acquaintances are your Personal Job Search Team, and as Team Leader you must provide the tools they need to succeed (on your behalf, of course.) One key tool is a short list of practice areas or job settings that you want to explore. Tell them that you would be happy to do employment law, construction law or business litigation. When one of your Team is at a dinner, at the gym or at church or synagogue seated next to an employment lawyer she can say “I have a friend who is interested in employment law, can he call you?? Without the short list, your team is clueless, and your search is void for vagueness.

Student Practice Rules -- MN and elsewhere

Under Minnesota’s Student Practice Rules, after completing a year at an ABA-accredited law school, students who work for public agencies (prosecutors, public defenders, legal services offices) and private practitioners with public law contracts (prosecution or defense) can make court appearances under the supervision of an attorney. Other states have different rules, which can have an impact on the nature of your first summer public law office work, making the difference between a summer of court appearances and a summer of legal research.

Click "continue reading" for states' requirements.

Continue reading "Student Practice Rules -- MN and elsewhere" »

Expand your job search with creativity & flexibility

A job search in an unpredictable market requires that candidates be creative and flexible. If, for example, you are fixed and focused on a career in Joint Ventures in Transportation Infrastructure in Southern Italy, now would be a good time to:

1. Add practice areas to the mix;
2. Add geographic areas to the mix;
3. Keeping the goal fixed in your mind, talk to us so that you can develop a list of jobs that could LEAD YOU to the goal; and
4. Identify people who have the job you want or have a job that could lead you to the job you want, and write or talk to them.

What might you write or say? I am a second year law student at the University of Minnesota Law School. I have been interested in transportation –- specifically trains – since I was a small child. I have studied transportation engineering and policy as an undergraduate, and I am focusing on administrative and international law courses while in Law School. I speak Italian fluently, have traveled to Italy often, and after admiring the Italian rail system for years, I hope to return to Italy and work for the administrative offices of the railroad. Given my US undergraduate training and legal education, what do I need to do to come to work for you?

Identify yourself, giving the person enough information about you for him or her to know why you are writing and what you bring to the table, and the ASK FOR WHAT YOU WANT.

The Hiring "Year" -- more than 12 months

THE HIRING “YEAR?: More than One Type & Most with More than 12 Months

Large Firms/Major State & Federal Agency “Fall? -- Local Agency “Year?
Small Firm “Year? -- The Volunteer “Year?
Clerkship “Year? -- 1L “Year?

There is more than one “Hiring Year.? All but one contain more than 12 months and they all have their own characteristics and casts of characters. These “years? overlap, so there is absolutely no time when it’s “too late? to begin or revive a job search.

For more, go to CareerFiles

March 9, 2006

Minnesota's student practice rule survives graduation!

Minnesota's Student Practice Rule (SPR) gives you a powerful tool to use to worm your way into potential employment after graduation. Why? If you take and pass the first bar exam after graduation, SPR Certification lasts until until you are sworn in. (Student Practice Rule 1.03) This means that you can continue to work for your public interest organization or your public law office -- showing up every day, doing terrific work, and being the one the employer should think of first when there is money to hire a new lawyer.

Continue reading "Minnesota's student practice rule survives graduation!" »

February 5, 2006

Where's your crystal ball?

"Where do you see yourself in 10 years?" is a cliched-and-not-uncommon interview question. Unless you plan to do divorces and collections -- which will NEVER go away -- think about J. Richard Fredericks, who 10 years ago observed "Banking is essential to a modern economy, but banks are not." For more on changes that will are quietly rocking the banking business, from which you might analogize changes in other industries, go to the 2/5/06 NY Times, and read "Where Lender Meets Borrower, Directly."

February 1, 2006

New National Law Journal Article on salaries and law school debt

The National Law Journal recently published an article, entitled "Salaries rise, so does debt". The article discusses how the cost of legal education is affecting the career choices of law students and recent graduates. For a full version of the article, click the following: