Opportunity-An Immeasurable Resource

by A. Harrison Barnes on July 17, 2014

Opportunity—it’s one of life’s most invaluable assets and often under emphasized.It’s that hidden treasure that can change lives.While many spend countless hours in search of the perfect one, the most coveted opportunities are found where one usually would not look.

Many times, a successful job search requires opportunity.The ability to give yourself the best possible chance in life requires that you search all avenues, streets, roads and highways.By doing so, you will not only be able to uncover those positions you never thought existed, but you may find a new outlook on life as well.While one’s education, experience and community involvement certainly play a vital role in your search, the ability to present yourself to that firm or corporation begins with opportunity, first and foremost.

Legal Authority does just that.Our services provide you with endless opportunities.Each and every one is precious.In order to pursue all of your career goals, you must first be able to give yourself the best possible chance to succeed.Let us be part of your journey!

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Choose Legal Authority

by A. Harrison Barnes on July 9, 2014

We would like to tell you about Legal Authority and how attorneys and others in the legal profession throughout the United States have proven Legal Authority is the most effective way to find their next position. We help hundreds of attorneys get new positions each month and we are not a recruiting firm or job posting board.

In fact, we are several times effective than a recruiter or job posting board. We have helped numerous attorneys from AmLaw 100 law firms, the General Counsels of Fortune 500 companies, and even law students. Our Attorney Employment Advocates can help you too.

Fact: According to the National Association of Law Placement: “The most common means of obtaining a job was a letter or other “self-initiated contact” with the employer…”

Fact: Legal Authority (www.legalauthority.com) is the largest portal of legal employment opportunities in the world, seamlessly bringing attorneys and employers together throughout their career cycle. With the largest database of legal employers anywhere, Legal Authority has contacts for over 750,000 legal employers in all 50 states and over 150 countries.

What We Do Works

At Legal Authority, we are getting attorneys and people in the legal field positions every day of the week because what we can do for you actually works. Consider: We have the largest database of legal employers in the world and there is probably better than a 99.9% chance that your next legal job will be with an employer in our database. How you get to them is up to you — you can do it now or you can do it later.

Be Smart

In today’s legal market, over 85% of all available attorney positions are never publicized. The most efficient way to get these positions is through targeted mailing. Legal search firms fill less than 5% of all available positions. We have heard over and over again that “networking” is simply not the most effective approach. Ads posted on job posting boards or in classified sections of legal newspapers often draw well over 1,000 responses.

We are not a recruiting firm or a job posting board. Simply put, we are the legal profession’s direct link to employers. At Legal Authority’s core is our strategy of allowing individuals to apply to legal jobs on their own, which drives our capabilities into a one-of-a-kind employment continuum, with our database at its center. We can cover any given market more efficiently, cost-effectively, and in less time than any source, anywhere.

Choose Professionals

We have a staff of over 40 attorneys, researchers, and writers who are updating our contact information 24 hours a day. Nobody tries harder to get attorneys positions. In addition, one of our attorneys will effectively revise your resume and cover letter to ensure that it is as good as possible. Do not make the mistake of approaching employers without having professionals review and revise your resume and cover letter.

Delay at Your Own Cost

With salaries for most attorneys exceeding $50,000, delay can be extremely costly. At an annual salary of $120,000, for example, you are losing $10,000 each month you are not working. This does not even reflect the amount of money you are losing in benefits and other employer-sponsored perks. If you are unhappy with your current position, or your organization is in trouble, the emotional costs of remaining with an employer can be even more severe.

Choose Legal Authority

All we do is assist attorneys in getting positions. We are empathetic with each attorney’s particular circumstances and we will do our absolute best to assist you. We have the largest database of legal employers anywhere. However you are going about your job search, getting your resume in front of the decision makers is what it is all about. We can help you get your information in front of the people you need in order to get the jobs you want.

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Law School for Mature Students

by writer on July 2, 2014

By: Deborah Acker

Do any of the following scenarios sound familiar? You have been working for years in a high-level career that is not taking you where you want to goor you have been slaving away working on your Ph.D. and are facing many more years of fairly thankless work in other peoples’ labs at student wages before you see any chance for autonomy or recognitionor you have one of those degrees (such as a degree in electrical engineering, computer science, or physics) you have heard all the intellectual property law firms are seeking. If you are a sophisticated, bright individual who has done a little poking around, you may have come to the conclusion that obtaining your law degree will be the solution to all your problems—your ticket to nirvana, the inside track to wealth and prestige! And it might even lead to interesting work.

Before you start filling out law school applications, it is critical that you understand the legal lifestyle and the proper strategy for crafting a successful legal career. Simply earning a J.D. is not enough. Depending on your ultimate goal, making a thoughtful transition into law requires your consideration of a number of factors before you take the leap.

This article will examine what an individual with an advanced degree or an established career needs to consider when approaching a transition into law. A subsequent article will examine how to have a successful career as a law firm associate if you come to a firm with an advanced degree (or degrees) or significant career experience.

So you want to be a lawyer? How much do you know about what lawyers do? Do you have friends in the law? Have you been perusing law firm websites, reading bios, and hearing about those entry-level salaries for associates at top firms? Don’t get caught up in fantasy. Do your research. Talk to people who are doing the work you think you might enjoy. Take them out to lunch. Ask about hours. Ask about how they spend their days. Ask about client contact and participation (or lack thereof) in law firm management. Take an inventory of what you have enjoyed in your professional life and what drives you crazy. Learn what lawyers do, and decide whether living out that reality would make you happy.

The potential salaries are seductive, but be realistic. Most of the associates earning top dollar at the big firms are billing between 2,000 and 2,300 hours per year. And that doesn’t include “non-billable” hours. This can be a shock to someone over thirty who is trying to balance family needs with the demands of being a junior associate. Many firms expect you to work into the evenings and on weekends. Many firms expect you to take on rush projects with very little notice. Many associates will say, “Your life is not your own.” All of this is palatable if you are doing something stimulating that you enjoy, but it can be burdensome if you are doing work just to generate a paycheck. The firms paying the top salaries will also expect you to possess top credentials in terms of your law school and your grades.

Some people choose law as a second career for philosophical reasons. They want to become advocates for people, animals, or causes. Many of these individuals choose to work for the government, nonprofits, or smaller firms where profits per partner may not be the sole criteria for judging success. If the zeal of advocacy, rather than the vision of making partner, is your driving motivation, you can take a more flexible route through law school.

Some choose law as a second career based on fascination or experience with specific subject matter. Many experienced individuals have had exposure to specific areas of the law in their professional lives, such as employment law, landlord rights, or real estate, and can further their careers by getting the J.D. Again, the route through law school can be more flexible for these individuals, depending on the sizes of the firms they hope to join.

A J.D. can open the door to a multitude of opportunities within firms, within the corporate environment, within the nonprofit sector, within government, and for individual entrepreneurs. BCG specializes in placing attorneys in law firms; thus, these recommendations will focus on the individual pursuing a J.D. with employment in a law firm as his or her immediate goal.

Before you consider where to apply to law school, it is imperative to know what type of law firm you may want to set your sights on.

Below are run-downs of some of the types of law firms you may be interested in joining.

Large, Prestigious National and International Law Firms

The top-tier national and international law firms tend to be large, with multiple offices, high-profile clients, and significant profits per partner. These firms offer access to the premier lawyers in their practice areas, sophisticated and challenging work, the prestige connected with association with a top firm, and opportunities to develop careers that may lead to national and international recognition. These are the firms that pay the top associate salaries. However, most of these firms are very rigid in their hiring criteria. Many will only consider candidates from the top 20 law schools, as ranked by U.S. News and World Report. Many also require GPAs in the top 10- to 20-percent range, law review experience, and, in some cases, judicial clerkship experience. Competition to get job offers for beginning associates at these firms is intense. And you need to understand the process involved.

These firms hire the majority of their associates through their summer programs. The firms conduct on-campus interviews during students’ first and second years of law school to consider who they might invite to work for them as summer associates. If you have a successful on-campus interview, you will be invited to the firm for one or more call-back interviews. If you do well at these interviews, you may receive an “offer” to be a summer associate. Depending on how your experience goes during the summer, the firm may extend an offer to join them after you graduate.

If you set your sights on a prestigious firm, you need to have this process in mind when choosing your law school, approaching your studies and exams, and getting involved in extra law school activities. Don’t expect to be granted special notice or credit for life experience in law school. If you want to get into a top firm, your GPA will be a critical consideration.

Boutique Law Firms

Many individuals with concentrated experience in specific subject areas will set their sights on law firm boutiques that specialize in areas of the law that complement their backgrounds. A few examples include boutiques specializing in healthcare law, employment law, real estate and environmental law, municipal law, or intellectual property. Often, these boutiques may be more locally or regionally based. Attending a local law school with a decent reputation (ranked in the top 100) and having a strong background in the relevant subject matter may be enough to land you a first job. Grades will still be important, but hiring partners will probably take a broader view of what you are bringing to the table and what subjects you emphasized during law school. If you know what area of the law you want to practice in, it may be smart to consider which law schools are highly rated for programs specific to your area of interest. For example, in some cases, attending a school that is ranked highly in environmental law may be more important than attending a school in the top 20 that may not have a strong environmental program.

However, be advised that the national boutique law firms that carry prestige and serve the big-name clients will probably be as demanding as the big general practice national and international firms. These high-profile boutiques want to be able to flaunt top-level credentials on their attorney bio web pages, and top-notch writing skills are a prerequisite.

Smaller Regional and Local Firms

Firms with 50 attorneys or fewer are incredibly variable in terms of their practice mixes and the types of junior attorneys they may want to hire. Some smaller firms are just as elite and particular as the large international firms. A good rule of thumb is to explore a firm’s website and look at the attorneys’ backgrounds and academic pedigrees. The firm will be looking for junior associates with the same types of backgrounds. If you find a small firm that emphasizes the practice that interests you, make contact with one of its attorneys and find out if and how they bring in new attorneys. Most attorneys enjoy speaking with people who want to learn about what they do, as long as they are not asking for anything more than information. The process of hiring junior associates in these firms can be informal, based on word of mouth referrals or Internet advertising, or it can be based on a summer associate program as rigid and formal as those at the larger firms.

The Special Case of Intellectual Property

Those individuals with strong science or engineering backgrounds make up a unique group. In some markets, intellectual property law firms are aggressively recruiting junior associates from among first-year law students who claim these credentials. If you have an electrical engineering degree, a computer science degree, a physics degree or a Ph.D. in the bio arts, as well as significant industry experience, a recruiter may be able to represent you as a new graduate. The top intellectual property firms are selective and expect students from top-20 law schools, although students from law schools in the top 50 with strong intellectual property programs may be considered. Grades are important, but extracurricular activities related to intellectual property are also weighed heavily. Speaking to a BCG recruiter with expertise in the intellectual property market while charting your course through law school will keep your options open, as you plan submissions to firms and progress through the associate ranks. A legal recruiter can be incredibly helpful long before you need him or her to help you find a job.

Conclusion

Do your research. Have some idea of where you are headed before you jump into law school. As a first-year law student, I had a sudden awakening. I thought I was taking time off from life to contemplate a new career, try things out, enjoy the luxury of simply being a student, and explore whatever might interest me. I was jolted out of this reverie by the law school career counselor who gave the first-year students their October orientation. She stressed that we were not allowed to submit resumes to law firms in pursuit of summer associate jobs until December of our first year. I seemed to be the only student surprised that we were expected to start approaching potential employers only 12 weeks after beginning law school. I remember walking out of that meeting dumbfounded, thinking about how I had no idea what I wanted to do after law school. How was I to know where to submit resumes?

Although not knowing what you want to do is not a terminal condition in your first year, if you end up setting your sights on the top-level firms, you will be behind in the game if you did not enter law school knowing that was your goal from the beginning.

Other considerations for the older student include the debt load you are willing to shoulder to achieve your goals in the law, the issue of geographic relocation, and how well you will be able to balance law school and the legal lifestyle with your current lifestyle. I will explore these topics, as well as day-to-day strategies for “older” associates in sophisticated law firms, in future articles.

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Myth versus Reality: Law School Professor Jobs

by A. Harrison Barnes on June 25, 2014

Yes… you can be a law professor if you are already a lawyer. Want to see if there are any law schools out there that are interested in you? We can help you contact all the law schools in a given area of the United States and find out—very quickly—if they have any interest in you. Researching all the contact information for various law schools could take you weeks. In less than a week, we can have your resume on the desks of the Deans of the law schools you want to approach.

The job as a law school professor may not pay as much as working for a corporation or a law firm; however, this type of job can certainly be more rewarding. Here, you will have the opportunity to impart your wisdom to young charges seeking emotionally or financially rewarding careers in the law.

LEGAL MYTH:
It is impossible to find a position as a law professor.

LEGALAUTHORITY:
If you think it is hard finding an advertised position in a law firm or corporation, you are going to have to wait a long, long time before you find an advertised position to be a law professor. There are thousands of positions in law schools and many of these are filled each year because the law school simply receives an inquiry from an interested applicant. Keep in mind the teaching hours at law school are far better. The old adage of “you never know until you try” could not be more apropos for your search for a position as a law professor.

Confidentiality is a serious concern for any job seeker. That’s why we will provide you with the actual letters, for your signature, for you send out your materials to. Accordingly, you will never be contacting a law school you do not want to contact—or worse—your own law school. This is the way it should be. We will provide you with the contacts and you can run your job search with the letters, resumes, and so forth we prepare on your behalf.

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The interviewing process can certainly be overwhelming and exhausting.While you are anxious to receive that offer, there are certain criteria every attorney should consider before accepting just any position.In order to find success and happiness within your job, you must carefully examine the long-term potential the opportunity embodies.Making sure this job is an ideal fit can be crucial, as you definitely do not want to begin a new job search any time soon.

One criterion which, for many, seems to be of high priority is the annual salary.Even though the dollar amount is what you were looking for, it is important to consider a variety of related requirements an employer may have.For example, if this position requires a 70-80 hour work week, it is important to weigh this issue thoroughly. With any high-paying position come certain sacrifices.If an equally balanced quality of life is your top priority, then this position, although tempting, will have no long-term future.

The quality of the firm is also another area to consider, as it relates to your future job satisfaction.Will this position allow you to successfully demonstrate your skills and areas of expertise?Even though a firm’s status and prestige can be attractive, if their practice is not consistent to where your true passion lies, then this will become another obstacle you encounter in the near future.Analyzing and exploring your growth potential within a certain firm or corporation should be evaluated well before you accept an offer.The most important thing to remember is– love what you do… if this is accomplished than success will ultimately follow.

Many times attorneys often refer to ‘what if scenarios’. This notion can be useful in certain situations; however, deciding whether to accept a new job should be based on real- life scenarios and your present situation.It is impossible to know what lies ahead–but by being able to make accurate and precise decisions given the information at hand, will enable you to find the best possible fit for you and your future.The bottom line…know what you want.Only you know what is best for your career.While it is common to ask others for advice regarding one’s career path, your final decision should ultimately lie with you.

Finding that ideal position can be a grueling task; once you have determined the type of opportunity you are specifically looking for, you are then more well-equipped to decide which offer is best suited for your career.Accepting an offer is not an everyday event and shouldn’t be treated as such.A thorough assessment of your goals and priorities should be well-examined at the beginning of your job search.It is then, you can rest assured knowing you made the right decision.

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The market for labor and employment attorneys is “hot” at the moment. People are losing their jobs at a record pace in the United States as layoffs and other economic downsizing starts taking effect. When people lose their jobs, many decide to sue their employers and this results in extra work. In addition, the new Obama regime is very likely to sign pending legislation that is extremely pro union. This pro union legislation will create even more work for labor and employment attorneys. Companies are already preparing for this legislation to be signed.

As an attorney seeking a job, you should go where forests are the greenest. You need to be where people want you. The demand I am seeing for labor and employment attorneys is very high.

When people talk about the legal market being poor, I know it is a gross generalization. Certain practice areas in the legal market are poor–the whole legal market is not poor. When you look at the economic performance of law firms in good and bad times, there really is never much difference– total revenue numbers are generally pretty stable. The reason for the stability of revenues is because work simply shifts between practice areas. Corporate work may grind to a standstill, while labor and employment work goes through the roof. I have seen this pattern for years.

If you are looking for a legal job in this market, I highly recommend you look closely at labor and employment.

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One of the questions we often receive at Legal Authority is why would you possibly want to send your application materials to a law firm without openings? This question doesn’t take into account the business model of most law firms or their internal economics.

Law firms typically bill out by the hour for their services. Lawyers can only work a certain number of hours per day. If a law firm has more work than it can handle, or could be billing more to cases and matters, the work simply doesn’t get done and the law firm loses money.

When you send out resumes in an unsolicited manner, you are essentially presenting law firms with a business proposition. If they have work you can do, they can bill out your work. The amount a law firm bills for generally exceeds what the law firm pays you and the law firm makes money.

Law firms often get so busy that they don’t even take the time to advertise their jobs. If they see your resume when they’re busy, they’ll often choose to bring you in because they can make money from hiring you. When you mail your resume to a law firm, you’re more likely to stand out and catch their attention. Letters are personally delivered, have to be opened, and generally people are flattered and like to receive mail. This is especially true in today’s day and age when people are emailing resumes and applying through databases.

Simply stated: Law firms will hire in response to an unsolicited resume, because they can make money from your work.

Companies are the same. Companies rarely receive unsolicited resumes from attorneys. Companies typically pay outside counsel very high legal fees. The average law firm charges over $300 an hour. The law firm also charges for faxing, photocopying, research, paralegal support and more. The result of hiring outside counsel can be extremely expensive for law firms.

When you apply to a company, the first thought that crosses their mind is can you help them save money. In today’s economy, companies are extremely interested in saving money and bringing in an attorney can help. Companies are also very inexperienced in their ability to recruit attorneys and many don’t know where to start–they’re concerned about the business they’re in. They may be experts in hiring engineers or executives, but don’t know the first thing about hiring attorneys. I have seen numerous attorneys get some pretty incredible positions due to this knowledge gap.

Both law firms and companies LOVE unsolicited resumes. This is an incredibly effective way to get a job. They like it for business reasons that have nothing to do with whether they have openings or not. One of the best ways to get a legal job is just to be there at the right time. This is what we help you do at Legal Authority.

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Job Searching during the Holidays

by A. Harrison Barnes on April 23, 2014

Are you among the many job seekers who are contemplating whether you should waste time job searching during the holiday season? If you are, I advise you to start job searching. If you’ve already started job searching, then continue to job search. Contrary to what many job seekers believe, hiring does not come to a halt during the holidays. Hiring may slow down a little, but it still goes on. Employers still have needs for their businesses, and they must continue to fill those needs.

Additionally, there are great benefits to job searching during the holidays. These benefits include that:

  • There is reduced competition among job seekers. Since most job seekers put their job searches on hold, there is less competition for jobs. Since there is less competition, this increases your chances at landing a job.
  • More executives and hiring persons are in good spirits during the holidays. Their good spirits make them more open to networking and interviewing.
  • The holiday season is a great time for networking. There are many parties and events during the holiday season. Take advantage of this and mention your job search. You never know who may be able to help you in your job search.
  • Professionals tend to change jobs, retire, and earn promotions more during the months of November and December. Therefore, hiring persons will be looking to replace these professionals.

Remember, even during the holidays, the is no holiday for job searching.

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Stepping Into the Job Search: Spring Cleaning

by Gordon K on April 14, 2014

It’s that time of the year once again. We may be enjoying what we once affectionately called “Spring Break,” or merely planning a weekend getaway, but this is also the time to do a bit of spring cleaning, both personally and professionally. With this series we will discuss both aspects of this spring cleaning within the context of the job search.

It is well-known that during this time of the year firms, corporations, and non-profits begin finally putting into action their New Year’s resolutions and plans. With that in mind, it also means that hiring is going to ramp-up, something that we here at Legal Authority call the “Spring Bump”. That should act as your cue to start thinking about your career path and where you want to be at this time next year.

If you are simply locked in a job that you are no longer enjoying or if you are still on the job hunt, now is the time to get your house in order and solidify your plan for securing the employment that you WANT this year. But how do you do this? Where to start? Well, here’s a helpful list of things you should focus on as we continue our weekly discussion about stepping into the job search:

1.       REFINE THAT RESUME: You have undoubtedly gained more experience over the course of the past year, and you need to make sure that all your experience from this year is included in your resume. Here are a few overlooked portions of your resume that you should include as well:

  • CLE Classes: These classes are especially helpful to put on your resume when you are transitioning between practice areas. By highlighting your attendance at an “Entertainment Law” CLE when you are trying to transition into entertainment law, you are showing that you are interested and committed to that field of law. It’s all about marketing yourself.
  • Volunteering/Law Clinics: Have you volunteered somewhere and provided legal services to those you were working with? Then include it! That is quality experience and shows your dedication to your community. Stability and personal investment in the community are two things employers are always looking for.

2.       NETWORK NOW: You may have been hibernating for the winter, but as spring is upon us, this is your opportunity to kick your networking into high gear. You need to get motivated so that you can connect with decision makers before the summer vacation season starts up. So schedule those coffees, lunches, and cocktail hours now! There is no better way to secure a job than through a great networking connection. Here are a couple of sources to look toward for networking:

  • Local Bar Associations: Only you know if you have actually networked consistently. In order to network properly you don’t merely show up once – you attend the events consistently, schedule numerous meetings and make an impact. Be charismatic, confident, and ready to mingle.
  • Your Law Fraternity: Speaking from personal experience, Phi Alpha Delta has been one of the best networking tools in my arsenal. PAD has a list of attorneys on their site that are open to networking with other alumni and I am certain the other Fraternities do as well. Be sure you are putting that investment to good use. Not a part of a law fraternity? It might not be too late! Look into it now.

3.       FIND A MENTOR: Beyond networking, and above all else, you need a mentor. A great mentor is someone who can provide you with the guidance required to navigate the legal employment market. Try to connect with older alumni from the law school you graduated from. Most law school career service centers maintain a list of alumni willing to serve as resources. If you cannot find an attorney who is in practice, refer to a law school professor.

4.       UTILIZE LINKEDIN: You may be marketing yourself and you don’t even know it. LinkedIn® is a great way to introduce yourself to other professionals online. If you have been neglecting your profile then continue reading this series – I will be speaking directly about your LinkedIn profile in the coming weeks.

5.       KEEP APPLYING: I know what you are thinking. Among the hundreds of submissions you’ve made, you have only heard back from a handful. This is frustrating and at times deeply upsetting, but you have to keep at it. If you continue to apply, you are putting your name out there, and you never know if the next submission might be your last. Even though postings may seem sparse, there are still great opportunities out there if your materials are well prepared.

6.       ENJOY THE SPRING: Most importantly, this is a time of rebirth NOT remorse. If you feel that your job search did not bear fruit last year, leave it in last year. You need to take care of your spring cleaning and start getting out there.

So there you have it, a brief overview of what you need to think about over the course of the next 7 days before we start our discussion about developing your career path. If you haven’t started your spring cleaning already, don’t worry. It’s never too late to start. If you need any further guidance or you want to speak with me further about the job search, schedule an appointment with me at www.legalauthority.com and I will help find the right approach for you.

All the best,

Gordon

 

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Talk about prestige, a clerkship is one of the highest honors in the legal profession and there are numerous places you can clerk. What a fantastic opportunity this can provide to advance your career and be part of the inner workings of the court system. And you can do this at any point in your career. In fact, clerkships are not just for recent graduates, they are also for people who have been practicing for quite a while and are seeking the opportunity to give something back to the legal system.

LEGALMYTH:
Only people who were on law review at Harvard Law School can get a clerkship.

LEGALAUTHORITY:

There are thousands and thousands of clerkships and they are open to all! Certainly, the more prestigious clerkships can be more difficult to get. Nevertheless, you too can be a clerk!

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