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Sep 7 / lawcareerservices

For Working Mothers Big Law Remains a Tough Nut to Crack

Many law firms have worked in recent years to try to give lawyers greater flexibility to work part-time schedules, yet working mothers continue to struggle to make their way in BigLaw.

This Wall Street Journal article discusses the challenges that continue to daunt working moms.  Click here to continue.

Sep 7 / lawcareerservices

Summer Hiring Holds Steady-Double Dip Recession or No

Some economists are predicting a double-dip recession, but law firms hiring associates for 2012 say they are planning to make the same number of job offers as they did for the 2011 class — and in some cases, may even increase the number of positions.

While they are mindful of the fragile economy, firms are not expecting the kind of upheaval that forced them to gut their summer associate classes in the last recession. For the full story reported by Reuters, click here.

Aug 18 / lawcareerservices

Thinking of Leaving the BigLaw Nest?

Are you considering hanging a shingle? If so, read this article for insight about the travails and rewards of solo practice.

You should also plan to attend the State Bar of Michigan’s Solo & Small Firm Institute September 14-16 at the Hyatt Regency in Dearborn.  For details, go to

This article was taken from The New York Lawyer.

Aug 18 / lawcareerservices

Federal Hiring Process is Now Faster, but Not Necessarily Better

Tom Shoop, editor of Government Executive magazine, moderated a panel on “Rethinking Federal Hiring” at a conference Monday and asked federal officials in the audience whether hiring times had improved or not.

It was about even.

Then he asked whether the quality of applicants is going up or down.

It wasn’t close. Down won, 75 to 25 percent by Shoop’s estimate.

This was a totally unscientific survey. But it is another indication that Uncle Sam’s hiring process apparently is getting faster, but not necessarily better, at least in terms of the hires it produces.  Click here to read the entire article.

Aug 9 / lawcareerservices

The Easiest Way to Connect with Others-No Social Media

A colleague of mine in the U.K. recently asked whether I could connect him with career officials at universities in the U.S. Happy to assist, I made a few introductions to individuals with whom I am not regularly in contact. The first respondent thanked me and offered to speak with him. And, then she noted that my e-mail had prompted her to ask whether I would consider returning to the school in the next academic year. Opportunity made. No fancy tools. No Twitter followers. Just simple sincere engagement – period.

Many people in the current market struggle with ways to follow up or to even meet members of their target audience. One proven method for reconnecting with a contact with which you have lost touch, continuing the conversation with someone you just met, or initiating contact for the first time is to make an introduction. Doing so reflects your character and genuinely acknowledges the person to whom you are reaching out.

For instance, following an informational interview with a potential employer or an initial meeting with a propsective client, most people will send a short e-mail thanking the person for his or her time. (Savvy networkers may even send a handwritten note.) Next time, consider materially expressing your gratitude with an introduction. Do you know a local journalist or blogger who may be interested in that person’s work? Can you connect him or her to a potential client or referral source? Is there a member of the local community that he or she would like to meet?

In addition to studying someone’s background for an interview or an informal discussion, consider whom that person would like to meet. Lawyers want to meet clients, which could be consumer, business or municipal leaders. They may be in-house counsel or HR managers. Your contact often has a very specific target in mind. Identify a few characteristics of that individual or that community of professionals and you will create an opportunity to follow up.

If you met someone a year or years ago and have been struggling to find a reason to reconnect, you can simply send an introductory e-mail noting that you saw John Smith at an event, which reminded you to reach out and make an introduction to Jane Johnson. Your message should be short and simple – “I just wanted to introduce you to Jane Johnson, the deputy general counsel of ABC Corp. I thought that you would be a perfect resource. I look forward to reconnecting soon.”

Imagine if you did this every time you had a meeting. Not only would it vastly enhance your network, it would encourage others to make introductions in return.

Even if you simply read about someone in a trade publication and wanted to learn more about him or her, you could easily send a similar note: “I read the article on discussion X topic and given your work, I thought that you would want to met Y person.” Or, if you are a blogger (including guest bloggers), you might want to highlight: “I blogged about your work and thought that you would want to meet Z.”

Most people will be inclined to respond positively to such a generous gesture.

In fact, in the current economic climate, most of us see status changes on LinkedIn regularly. A contact’s job title may quietly change to ‘independent’ or ‘freelance’ and we want to help, but are not sure how. Whenever I see this, I send a quick note offering to introduce that individual to my network. I have no expectation of any immediate return, but sincerity has a long life span. When I did this about six months ago, my contact connected me with her former colleague who later hired me for a few ghost writing projects.

Making an introduction is an easy technique that requires no technical skill whatsoever and permits execution with a forgiving amount of imperfection. As such, there is absolutely no barrier to making the attempt and no social media presence required.

That said, you could leverage technology to exponentially enhance this experience by sharing the contact with members of your LinkedIn group, your Facebook fans or your Twitter followers, with a suggestion that others consider learning more about him or her.

The key to creating opportunity in your career or business development is to consider how you can do so for others. Start at the beginning – with an introduction.

Ari Kaplan is the author of Reinventing Professional Services: Building Your Business in the Digital Marketplace (Wiley, 2011) and The Opportunity Maker: Strategies for Inspiring Your Legal Career Through Creative Networking and Business Development (Thomson-West, 2008). He provides strategic consulting and ghostwriting services in the legal industry. He also speaks at law schools, law firms, and bar associations throughout the U.S. about how individuals can stand out in today’s stagnant economy. Buy his new book and receive 1 ½ CLE credits for free – e-mail him for details. And, click on the link to watch his webinar: Five Ways Your Website Can Welcome Your Audience By Converting Clicks Into Clients.

This article was taken from The National Law Journal, written by Ari Kaplan.
Aug 4 / lawcareerservices

Being ‘There’ for Each Other

I recently attended a play where the playwright’s concern was contemporary human relationships between couples and friends. At one point, a pair of ex-lovers were discussing whether they could still be friends and were struggling to define what friendship meant. One of the two finally declared that friends are people who are “there” for each other. With the large number of recent law graduates still seeking employment nationally, we career counselors will need to be “there” for them post-bar and they, in turn, must meet with us and heed our advice.  

The abundance of both sound and unsound information on the web causes some students today to lose sight of the importance of face-to-face interaction. Face-to-face is where the clearest communication occurs. In the recent furor over the reporting of employment statistics, for example, the reality that there are actual people involved, who are usually doing the best they can, gets lost as the blaming escalates. Who is at fault? The law schools (for admitting too many students and charging them too much)? The students (for not taking responsibility for their own decisions and failing to acknowledge market realities)? US News (for propagating rankings based on insufficient data)? The ABA (for not appropriately regulating law schools)? The economy (for the reduction in law jobs)? The blame game is futile and all of these elements bear some responsibility for the plight of our current unemployed graduates. What remains when the shouting is over are feelings of bet rayal and anger; what is lost is meaningful communication about what needs to be done to secure a job.

What is missing in this venting over job prospects is the human element — not something we as lawyers may be particularly comfortable considering. One reason for attrition in law firms, to provide another example, is that too often associate relationships with each other and with partners are under-nourished.

Career counselors, recent graduates and rising third-year students who, like the class of 2011, are facing another difficult employment outlook, can re-focus the energy used in blaming into something positive — a plan for a successful job search. If people would talk directly and openly with each other, much of the current malaise could be lifted. From the beginning of law school and even earlier–at Admitted Students’ Day–we report our employment statistics and we announce what we are doing for our unemployed graduates. When students begin law school, we tell them that they can utilize our services for the length of their career(s). They can turn to us at any time for support and ideas and contacts. Our doors are open and we spend many hours in one-on-one sessions with our students teaching and guiding them as they strive to attain their career goals. If they graduate without jobs, we are with them again as sources of contacts and opportunities as well as soundin g boards. Many law schools also provide Bridge to Practice Programs to help them get started after the bar exam. “Face time” and with it the opportunity for meaningful communication is the key.

Among those students who are most at-risk (typically those with lower grades), those who work with us are much more likely to have jobs at graduation than those who do not. During the second semester of first-year, if we have not heard from a student, the student goes on to a mental list as someone who may have difficulty getting a job down the road. The more we know a student and the more people in general know the student, the easier it will be for that student to land a job. Students who use our office learn how to ask for advice and act on it — certainly a quality any employer would want in a new hire.

The student who does not get a job through the on-campus interviewing process (and at most law schools of course the majority of law students do not) is most in need of a meeting with a career advisor. Despite the myth that the career center is “all about OCI,” the student who acknowledges that OCI did not work for him or her is actually at the point at which we counselors can be most effective. In a world where there is so much negativity, a face-to-face meeting can be the source of practical hope. Together, we can dispel rumors and misconceptions and confront job search paralysis. While there are not enough jobs out there for all recent grads, there are enough jobs for those who will really work at the search efficiently and diligently.

Success in an interview is determined by the relationship the interviewee creates with the employer. All of us have experienced that sense that we “nailed” the interview. This does not mean that we stunned the interviewer with our legal prowess but that we created a connection with that person. Showing up on time for an interview, asking thoughtful questions that show genuine interest, and working hard to get the tone right in an email, all reflect on your ability to create relationships. Those who get hired are those whom the employer can trust to be there for the client.

Success in the legal world is determined less by how much you can control (grades, OCI interviews, call backs, offers, the economy) than by the strength of your relationships. Control is most often illusory; your relationships are not. Start in law school by developing friendships with your classmates; form professional relationships with professors and administrators. Relationships take time to build and nourish and often we are busy and put off making that appointment, contacting that former employer, asking that professor for a reference, sitting down for lunch with classmates we might not have seen all summer. Often times we don’t have time for more than a terse email. These are all the people who are there for you. But they will only be there for you if you are also there for them.

 William A. Chamberlain is assistant dean, Law Career Strategy and Advancement, Northwestern University School of Law.
This article was taken from The National Law Journal written by William A. Chamberlain.
Aug 3 / lawcareerservices

DISH Network Sponsors “Best in Class” eDiscovery Legal Research and Writing Competition

DISH Network L.L.C., a subsidiary of DISH Network Corporation (NASDAQ: DISH), announced today that it is sponsoring an electronic discovery (eDiscovery) legal research and writing competition aimed at encouraging U.S. law students to develop a more thorough understanding of the evolution and practice of discovery in civil litigation. The 2011 competition will ask students to address the following topic: “Are further amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure necessary to help litigants address the complexities, costs and burdens associated with electronic discovery?”

“As part of DISH Network’s continuing commitment to being ‘best in class’ in electronic discovery, we are pleased to sponsor an eDiscovery legal research and writing competition to encourage law students to gain exposure to the practice of eDiscovery and Information Law early in their legal careers,” said R. Stanton Dodge, Executive Vice President and General Counsel, DISH Network L.L.C. “We believe that law students can contribute significant thought leadership in these areas.”

The Information Law firm of Redgrave LLP, as well as Mr. Dodge, will judge the submissions, evaluating them based on originality, quality of legal and technical analysis, quality of writing and citation of authority, and support for arguments. The DISH Network


® “Best in Class” eDiscovery Legal Research and Writing Competition is open to all students who are currently enrolled in an accredited law program in the United States. Contest submissions are due by Oct. 15, 2011. The author of the first-place selection will receive a $2,500 cash award. Two runners-up will also be selected and will each receive a $1,000 cash award.  

Complete rules and additional information can be found at  

Aug 3 / lawcareerservices

Chicago Lawyer “Off The Pages” Conference

My name is Myles Ahearn with the Law Bulletin Publishing Company.  The Chicago Lawyer magazine is holding the first “Off The Pages” conference on getting and keeping business.  The Sept. 20 event is at the Union League Club and starts at 7:30 a.m. and ends by 11:30 a.m. You can earn 3 MCLE credits.  We are offering a special rate for recent law school graduates and law students: $50

The event includes three panels: one on growing your book of business; another on building a relationship with in-house lawyers; and the third on motivating and keeping young talent. This is a perfect opportunity to network and meet other lawyers.  For more information about this event, please visit: – Since you are being offered a special rate, we ask that you do not register through the site, but contact me directly at or 312-644-2801.

In order to take advantage of this discounted rate you must act by Tuesday, August 9, 2011.

Aug 2 / lawcareerservices

A Young Lawyer’s Guide to Professional Dress

We would like to believe, having earned a J.D. and started practicing law in courts and offices around the country, that we have earned the right to be evaluated solely on the merits of our advocacy and advice. The substance or clarity of our argument or written work product, however, is not all that influences how well we will be received by the people we want to influence most. We are used to being judged; but, like it or not, many of us are not used to being judged on our professional appearance.  To read the rest of this informative article, click here.

Aug 2 / lawcareerservices

From Associate to Solo-Don’t Overestimate Your Value

If you’re a BigLaw associate thinking about going out on your own, you may need to be more realistic about how much money you’ll be making as you begin your solo career, cautions consultant Debra L. Bruce. She discusses some of the overhead costs you may have overlooked.  Click here to read the rest of this article.