Ever wonder how someone else got their legal job? Do you feel uncertainty as to whether what you are doing to search will ever lead to a great position? This article is the second in a series of job hunting stories and tips from recent Quinney graduates who did not have firm employment when they graduated from law school.
S.J. Quinney 2009 Alum (Anonymous)
What I am doing now: I am currently working in a small family law and bankruptcy firm. I case manage all of the family law clients and do first bankruptcy consults.
What I did during law school to gain legal experience: I did internships. I interned at the Guardian ad Litem office, and I interned for Judge Benson for a year at the federal district court.
What was I doing after I graduated:
Besides studying for the bar, I was job searching. I took on a non-legal job during the fall while I was job hunting.
What did I do to seek employment/how did I land at my current job:
I took advantage of the Dean’s Fellowship and worked for South Ogden City. I worked directly with the city attorney and participated in Justice Court. Although I did not choose to accept the public defender contract, it was offered to me, and I interacted with a lot of attorneys.
I landed my current job by applying to the firm and interviewing. I didn’t get my job because I knew anyone. It was a matter of timing. My firm needed an attorney quickly and I applied right at the moment.
Best advice I can give graduates who are still seeking (can be more than one piece of advice):
Networking is a great way to hear about jobs.
If you have a mentor, he/she can be invaluable for advice.
Interview as much as you can, it keeps you in practice. Be honest in your interviews. When getting your first job you may not know much, and your potential employer realizes that, so be straight with them and not pretentious.
S.J. Quinney 2009 Alum, Daniel Young
What I am doing now: I am working as an associate for Plant, Christensen & Kanell (www.pckutah.com). I am mostly doing insurance defense in personal injury and workers’ compensation cases. I also do work on a variety of cases ranging from construction defects to business defamation.
What I did during law school to gain legal experience: During law school, I participated in the Judicial Clinic and the Nonprofit Clinic. I also did a study abroad during my 2L year. While abroad, I volunteered for the national bar association of the country where I was studying and clerked with a local law firm. During my 3L year I clerked with a couple of smaller firms in Salt Lake City. I also volunteered with the Family Law Clinic.
What was I doing after I graduated: I was working as a clerk for a small boutique IP law firm in Salt Lake City. I was let go a month before I took the bar exam.
What did I do to seek employment/how did I land at my current job: I told everyone that I was looking for a job. I emailed contacts I made during law school or work updated resumes on a periodic basis. I emailed people from firms I might want to work for and asked them if they would go to lunch and let me learn more about their practices. I volunteered for the judge I had worked for in the Judicial Clinic. I attended bar section meetings and gave out business cards. I applied for every job I could from the Job Board. I applied for the Court Volunteer Program through the bar. I applied for the Dean’s Fellowship and worked in-house with a local non-profit organization. I participated in meetings of the J. Reuben Clark Law Society and Inns of Court. I was active in a local arts organization and ran to serve on the Board of Directors when an opening became available.
I landed my current job because a friend that knew I was looking for a job talked to an acquaintance at a softball game. The acquaintance happened to be an attorney. Approximately six months after this conversation, this attorney started having trouble with an associate. The attorney then called me in for an interview. About four months after the initial interview, the associate was let go and I was hired.
Best advice I can give graduates who are still seeking (can be more than one piece of advice): Be patient and persistent. It took me nearly a year to find employment, and I had to follow-up a couple of times with my current employer. Also, let everyone know you are looking for a job. People understand the difficult job market and many are willing to help. I had several people who were willing to email me leads on jobs. You also never know who they will talk to and where those conversations will lead.