Where will you be working after you graduate and what will you be doing?
I will be working at Bearnson & Caldwell, LLC. It’s a full service law firm in Logan. I will be doing everything the firm does – from commercial litigation, to criminal defense, to drafting contracts.
When and how did you first make contact with your employer?
I was a paralegal at Bearnson & Peck prior to law school, and returned there for work last summer after another job fell through. This was to be a temporary job, as all of the partners had a policy against hiring lawyers straight out of law school, due to the supposed lack of practical skills. I worked primarily with Wayne Caldwell and Brad Bearnson, so I went with them when they left Bearnson & Peck to form Bearnson & Caldwell. The other partners changed their firm name to Peck, Hadfield, Baxter and Moore, and had also offered me an associate position.
How did you get the job?
I got the job by working extremely hard for very little pay when assisting with very complex commercial litigation, in addition to high quality work in other cases. I had to learn a lot quickly, but it paid off in the long run.
What kinds of things do you think helped you land you job? Experience in law school, something else?
Experience in law school has proven to be very important. Through the clinical program, I completed several internships – all very different from one another, and each honed a different set of skills. Additionally, the Evidence course has proven to be the most important course I have taken in law school, in addition to trial ad and pretrial practice. However, I can also say that my other course work has been useful as a knowledge base.
Other things that have helped are being able to build rapport with clients, a willingness to take criticism, research and writing skills, and a willingness to go above and beyond what the average person would do.
What tips do you have for students who are job seeking?
My best advice would be: Don’t be afraid to work very hard for very little at first because it will pay off once you “prove” yourself. I’m not saying to shortchange yourself, but you may need to prove your value when trying to compete in a market of lawyers with more experience.
Takeaways (from PDO)
- If you are job searching, consider re-plowing contacts from your past. When did you last touch base with prior employers who loved you? Have you let them know that you are job seeking? It’s a good idea to continue to nurture past professional relationships—whether they are with legal employers or not. Those folks may know of someone who is hiring or who will be hiring in the future, or they may become clients in the future. Whatever the case, it is good to have more people on your side and aware of your situation. So make some lunch or coffee appointments today.
- Be willing to work hard, even if the pay is not fantastic. If you prove your worth, you will be given more responsibility, good experience, and may just make yourself indispensible, like Erin did.