Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Ideal Career Services Visit

Hi Legally Numb, yes I remember that you are interested in X law (but even if I didn't, I keep files on students that are assigned to me and take notes).

You have a question about networking? Well, you need to build a set of contacts. And since you are from out of town, let me get in touch with some alumni that might be willing to speak with you (I keep a list of willing alumni right here with their specialties and past jobs, including summer clerkships right here). Also, let's talk about the kinds of things that may be important to know before meeting with these folks.

You want to know what your best strategy is now that you know your grades are in the toilet? I have a few suggestions. The first is to talk to these small to mid-size firms that are aligned with your interests. They often either hire students part time or take them on as volunteers during the school year. We have had a lot of success placing students with these and other firms based on our continual contacts.

You are still confused about resumes and cover letters? Let's go through them to see what the best approach would be. And I don't think I am the best person to give you advice on this, seeing as I wouldn't know a gene from a hole in the ground. I keep a few names of people willing to analyze resumes and cover letters for people in particular subfields that do not lend themselves to the same "rules" as corporate or criminal law practice.

As for strategies, let's make a calendar. On this calendar, you will do so-and-so by such-and-such time and I will contact/email/call/look over. Then we will meet in one month to decide where to go from there.

Is this what most career services offices do??? Absolutely not. They plan useless get-togethers and their lives are made easier by the fact that the top 10-25% are going to do OCI and everyone else will likely leave them alone. The rest will flounder, attempting to piece things together themselves.

For 4 visists, I have been
(1) told to network
(2) never given alumni contacts
(3) have received very little feedback for resumes and absolutely none for cover letters

I should check to see if the ABA has a complaint department about this.

What I have actually done:
1. Contacted a few people to set up lunch/coffee meetings
2. Spoken with the Dean of Students about the problems I am having
3. Read 2-3 career books that were obviously written for people in at least the top 50
4. Read "Guerilla Tactics" which, though somewhat helpful, is written in a nauseatingly cute way. Much of the book could have been edited down.

Next steps:
1. I have gotten a few interviews
2. So, I will be researching the hell out of those firms
3. Which will lead to me creating good questions
4. And then, trying to put my grades in a different light while really pushing my strengths.

Fingers crossed.

1 comment:

PT-LawMom said...

Career services is only helpful to the elite students. Everyone else should start networking early and often. The law is a good ole' boys (and girls) network and often times it is who you know that gets you a foot in the door. Good luck with your networking! (I had particular success calling solos in my area of law and asking for an informational interview. Then I stuck with really asking for info -- what courses to take, what organizations to join, etc. Worked well!)