I Passed the Bar. Now What?
Congratulations newly licensed lawyers. Your hard work has been rewarded. However, for some of you, the job search is still ongoing. Here are a few tips to consider.
Attend every networking opportunity that comes your way. Consider having cards printed with your contact information so you’ll be able to participate in the business card exchange. You can order business cards for as little as $10 via online companies such as VistaPrint (though you should try to shop local if you can get a good deal). After exchanging business cards, be sure to follow up after the event and connect on LinkedIn.
Many local bar associations (along with the larger state-wide organizations) are back in business after a summer hiatus. You’ll find monthly meetings, CLE programs, networking and social events, along with plenty of opportunities for volunteer work. Also, think about niche bar organizations such as women attorneys and area of practice bar groups. Often membership is not required for attendance or in many cases (such as the NC Bar Association) membership is free for first year lawyers.
The NC Bar Association is offering solo practice “meet ups” through the Center for Practice Management (CPM). While you may not be interested in starting a practice right now, you’ll benefit from the technology tips and other practice management tips while continuing to expand your network.
If there is a Young Lawyers Division within your local bar association, be sure to join that. The NC Bar Association YLD is a fantastic resource. It’s a very active section with many volunteer opportunities. While you have some free time consider joining a committee. You can write for a publication, help plan a CLE event or participate in a pro bono project. It’s a great way to meet new people and spotlight your work ethic. An added benefit is that many YLD projects offer opportunities to give back to your community.
Be sure to have a LinkedIn profile. Update your profile with your new status as a licensed lawyer. Also, identify people that you want to meet and introduce yourself (or get an electronic introduction from someone). Recruiters often search LinkedIn so be sure to do your homework about how to best optimize your LinkedIn profile.
Continue to network with people you’ve meet throughout law school. How about trying to set up phone calls or coffee with people that you connected with such as guest speakers or employers from previous summers? Don’t forget to reach out to alums from your law school. Also, stay in touch with your career services department.
Job hunting is a marathon, not a sprint. Good luck with your continued efforts.
Camille Stell is the Vice President of Client Services for Lawyers Mutual. With over 20 years of experience in the legal field, Camille has advised hundreds of paralegals, law students and lawyers on career development. Contact Camille at 800.662.8843 or Camille@lawyersmutualnc.com.