Twitter Chat

Twitter Chat Recap | Lawyer Job Searching

Kathy Morris

A BIG thank you to Kathy Morris (@LawyerCounselor), Founder, Under Advisement, Ltd., for sharing with the ABA Career Center (@ABACareerCenter) her insights into legal job searching tips and strategies.

Kathy Morris is a lawyer and long-time career counselor for lawyers and law students through her company, Under Advisement, Ltd. After practicing law, teaching at Northwestern Law School, and building lawyer development platforms for firms such as Sidley and Katten, Kathy was the founding chair of ABA Legal Career Central’s Board and remains an advisor.

Check out the recap below or on twitter by looking up the hashtag #LegalCareerChat. Kathy discussed navigating your job search, tips for making your resume and cover letter stand out, effective strategies for networking and interviewing, and answered a few questions from chat participants.

How can I start a job search if I don't know what I want to do?

A1.1: #Lawyers like to sit in a chair and predict outcomes. But a #job search is a process, not a prediction. #LegalCareerChat

A1.2: Start by taking the @ABACareerCenter career quiz and browse job postings on sites like #Indeed.com. What catches your attention? #LegalCareerChat

A1.3: Try to include 2 or 3 avenues of search.  Putting all your eggs in one basket can put too much pressure on you. #LegalCareerChat

A1.4: Look at various practice areas, types of employers, or geographies as you decide how to focus your search.  #LegalCareerChat

A1.5: In addition to indeed.com, check out specialty sites like idealist.org, goinhouse.com, USAjobs.gov. #LegalCareerChat

A1.6: Look at your school's Career Services e-postings, legal newspaper ads, and any from a local Bar Association. #LegalCareerChat

A1.7: Of course use the @ABACareerCenter job board @jobs.americanbar.org. #LegalCareerChat

A1.8: And talk to law profs, fellow alums, and legal career counselors. Search LinkedIn for lawyer profiles. #LegalCareerChat

A1.9: Here are links to additional @ABACareerCenter resources:           #LegalCareerChat

A.1.9a: Video: Career Development Series: Job Search Do’s and Don’ts:  https://bit.ly/2SITdy5
#LegalCareerChat @lizstone

A1.9b: Career Development Series…Continued: Job Search Do’s and Don’ts: https://bit.ly/2DvMFJr
 #LegalCareerChat

A1.10: When you have your target(s) defined, it's time to start the search. #LegalCareerChat

Can I look for traditional legal roles and alternative kinds of jobs at the same time?

A2.1: A search can include alternatives. Look in dual directions if torn, rather than trying to pick one avenue. #LegalCareerChat

A2.2: Might you want to teach civics in a high school?  Be an ombuds in a company?  Head up lawyer hiring and training in a firm? #LegalCareerChat

A2.3: Read articles about lawyers who branched out and check out #The New What Can You Do With a Law Degree.  #LegalCareerChat

A2.4: Legal career counselors help with alternatives to law. Some even use a name like @Lawternatives or @LeaveLawBehind.  #LegalCareerChat

A2.5: You can get info on JD Advantage jobs on @nalp.org or specialized services like @chroniclevitae.com, searching law. #LegalCareerChat

A2.6: Google alternative careers for lawyers.  Or nontraditional lawyer jobs. Change terms and find a treasure of info. #LegalCareerChat

A2.7: Go to LinkedIn to look for specific paths, like legal journalist or search something general, like former lawyer. #LegalCareerChat

A2.8: Contact those of interest to hear about their jobs and to ask for names of other JDs with untraditional careers. #LegalCareerChat

A2.9: Here are links to additional @ABACareerCenter resources:   #LegalCareerChat

A2.9a: Video: Career Development Series: Choosing and Pursuing Alternative Careers: https://bit.ly/2Sq1yaB #LegalCareerChat @CaseyBerman @cwelchconsult @LawyerCounselor

A2.9b: Video: Career Development Series: Alternative Careers: One Degree, Plenty of Latitude https://bit.ly/2SqmWwl #LegalCareerChat @JD_COT @LawyerCounselor

How can I make my resume and cover letters stand out, in a good way?

A3.1: Move beyond just a list of jobs. Use subheadings to divide professional roles from those in law school or before. #LegalCareerChat

A3.2: Instead of vagary, try branding: Litigation Experience, Health Law Experience, or Legal and Business Experience. #LegalCareerChat

A3.3: Or, identify your sector(s) with headings like In-House Experience or Public Sector Roles. #LegalCareerChat

A3.4: Put school jobs under a subhead like Law School Internships or include them under Education & Related Experience. #LegalCareerChat

A3.5: If you've had similar jobs, describe the experience once and name the employers under a subhead, e.g., Law Firms. #LegalCareerChat

A3.6: Include not only tasks but a subsection on Representative Results or Key Outcomes. A few bullet points are enough. #LegalCareerChat

A3.7: For a non-law resume, avoid legal details. Focus on transferable skills like problem solving, client service, writing. #LegalCareerChat

A3.8: Good cover letters matter. Omit legalese. Foreshadow, don't repeat, the resume (i.e., I have the skills you seek). #LegalCareerChat

A3.9: Use 1 page; anything longer may not be read.  Omit boilerplate like Thank you for your time and consideration. #LegalCareerChat

A3.10: Here are links to additional @ABACareerCenter resources:           #LegalCareerChat

A3.10a: Do’s and Don’ts for Resumes and Cover Letters: https://bit.ly/2DvMFJr
 #LegalCareerChat

A3.10b: Open Doors at Law Firms: https://bit.ly/2UMIxMe
 #LegalCareerChat

Do I really need to network to get a job?

A4.1: Luck may bring a job via postings or ads. But networking warms up the search and helps expand options. #LegalCareerChat

A4.2: Most lawyers dread networking, preferring to give than take help. For now, though, wade into the process well. #LegalCareerChat

A4.3: Networking can be at an event, or you can follow up afterward, so you don't have to discuss your search in public. #LegalCareerChat

A4.4: You can also ask people to coffee or a meal, but networking can be done without expense by phone and email, too. #LegalCareerChat

A4.5: Who knows/likes your work?  With whom do you share commonality (fellow alums)? These are networking contacts. #LegalCareerChat

A4.6: Ask for career info if needed and about opportunity where people work/those they'd reach out to were they you. #LegalCareerChat

A4.7: Also use the LinkedIn search function and Bar committees to find more people of commonality to network with. #LegalCareerChat

A4.8: Be clear; ask good questions. People likely won't know of jobs, but they have names of colleagues in the area. #LegalCareerChat

A4.9: Move from person-to-person to come upon a job. Who are people's co-authors? Who would they ask to speak on a Bar panel? #LegalCareerChat

A4.10: Contact those they suggest; ask re needs in their workplace + colleagues elsewhere. Goodwill trumps cold resumes. #LegalCareerChat

A4.11: Links to additional @ABACareerCenter resources:   #LegalCareerChat

A4.11a: Video: Winning Social Media Networking Strategies to Land a Job or Gain New Clients: https://bit.ly/2Gl0AWH
 #LegalCareerChat @BetsyMunnell @SofiaLingosEsq

A4.11b: Video: Professional Relationships and a Visible Profile: Two Keys to Your Next Job: https://bit.ly/2Gl0AWH
 #LegalCareerChat @saronowitz @LawyerCounselor

What are some interviewing must do and no-nos?

A5.1: Be early, having done your homework. Have a few extra resumes, something to write and on, and take a nice pen.  #LegalCareerChat

A5.2: Focus on what you can do for the employer and its clients, not on what the job will do for you or your career. #LegalCareerChat

A5.3: Be ready for openers like Tell me about yourself/Why should we hire you? Don't talk too long or reply curtly. #LegalCareerChat

A5.4: Answer the trite questions well, like what's your greatest strength/weakness or what do you want to do in 5/10 years. #LegalCareerChat

A5.5: Showcase outcomes, not just tasks and have short stories ready for behavioral questions. Tell me about a time when.... #LegalCareerChat

A5.6: No legalese. Especially if you're interviewing for a non-legal job.  Lean forward, be engaged, say you want the job.  #LegalCareerChat

A5.7: Do your comp research; don't be caught off guard or shoot in the dark. Be ready to share your salary and goal. #LegalCareerChat

A5.8: Have an easy to eat dish if there's food. Be personable and professional; smile, relate, but no jokes please. #LegalCareerChat

A5.9: Get an offer, then decide if you'll accept. Say no to the wrong job; be flexible to get to yes for the right one. #LegalCareerChat

A5.10:  Finally, links to additional @ABACareerCenter resources:           #LegalCareerChat

A5.10a: Interview Tips for Lateral Associates https://bit.ly/2SnsY0K 
 @lawcareerist #LegalCareerChat

A5.10b: Kathy Morris: Interviewing Q&A: https://bit.ly/2DvTBqc
 #LegalCareerChat @LawyerCounselor

A5.10c: Video: Career Development Series: Interviewing Spectacularly from Both Sides of the Desk: https://bit.ly/2GhVWZu
#LegalCareerChat @lawcareerist @LawyerCounselor