Monday, May 5, 2008

Job Search Strategies for Law School Graduates and Students

So Let me just start by being upfront about one thing. I was in the bottom half of the graduating class. I never imagined that this would be the case because of how successful I had been at earlier stages in education, but it happened. And it killed my self-confidence and motivation and creativity and everything else! I think if I had to do it all over again, I would have done many things differently, but that's not the point. The point is that my grades are what they are. I worked throughout law school to try to make it financially and there was nothing I could do about that.

One year out of law school and I still don't have a job. I have gone through phases of hopefulness versus hopelessness and feeling like I should apply for unemployment benefits. But overall, I am in a very good place right now. I have realized that the mass mailing services like Legal Authority just didn't cut it for me. What I really needed to do was do some soul-searching about what type of law I want to practice, and then network! The one thing that I had been truly avoiding throughout law school and afterwards and it seems like the only avenue left!

So I have settled on practicing immigration law, or at least working primarily with immigrants. Even though my law clerk experiences are all over the place from real estate to IP/Copyright, immigration really lights me up. I actually enjoy reading the literature on immigration law and like the idea of having primarily immigrant clients. Another bonus is the fact that I never have to take another bar exam regardless of where I move! How did I decide on a field? I went to the CLE seminars on the topic. I joined the local bar association groups. I called people in the practice and I got off the computer! I volunteered with organizations that practice immigration.

So I have only been networking for about a month. It has been fantastic just to know the field, even though I have still not found a job. I somehow feel that I am closer to it than I ever felt before. Still crossing my fingers!