From the monthly archives:

November 2013

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I PASSED THE BAR! NOW WHAT? MOVING ON FROM PURGATORY

by writer on November 28, 2013

By Gordon K. Sattro

For many, this is a time of emergence, an emergence from what I fondly call, purgatory.

For those who recently took the bar and were eagerly awaiting the results, they were trapped in an attorney’s version of purgatory. These unfortunate souls had their law degrees but were still unable to practice law. Their obstacle? The bar exam. As many emerge from this time where they were not quite law students and not quite attorneys it is an exciting time.

Many new attorneys in California sat at home in front of their computers on Friday staring at some far off clock waiting for 6:00PM to finally arrive. The tension from many worried thoughts and concerns rushed through their minds and then, 6:00PM came, many were elated, some were not.

Bar results have been released across all the fifty states with the most recent, California, finally releasing its results last Friday evening.

For those who were not fortunate enough to secure a job during their brief time in purgatory, the real work finally begins: The job search.

In the state of California, we have over 166,000 attorneys, and many are looking for work. As much as I hate to be the bearer of bad news, this figure represents just how many attorneys there are to compete with. Whether you are looking for a traditional legal job (requiring a J.D. and Bar admission) or a non-traditional legal job (J.D. preferred) you are facing a lot of competition.

So, you may ask, “What does this mean for me?”

It means that you are entering a job market that is already saturated and continuing to become further saturated as each new batch of attorneys emerge from purgatory. The fact that this is a difficult job market should come as no surprise, it has been difficult for years now; but it is not getting any easier.

This brings me to the point of this article: Refining your tactics when fighting to secure work.

There is one question you should always ask yourself, “How much effort am I putting into this job search?”

The reason why I say that you must always ask this question is because the answer, the HONEST answer, will be reflected by your results. When searching for a job many make the mistake of focusing on one aspect of the job search and completely disregard other approaches. This is the biggest mistake job seekers make. You MUST take a “multi-pronged approach.”

A multi-pronged approach is one that expands well beyond one aspect of the job search. More often than not, when I am speaking with candidates for Legal Authority they tell me they have been applying to “hundreds of jobs online”. While this may sound impressive, it is the wrong approach. You have to treat your job search like a battle. You do not simply attack a target with one approach, you must utilize many different avenues of approach in order to ensure that you effectively neutralize the target in question.

So let me provide you with the list of a few approaches to take, in order of efficacy, to attack the target (Your new job):

  1. Network!: There is no better way to secure a job than this. As the old saying goes, “It’s not what you know, it’s WHO you know.” If you have not reached out to a bar association, gone to a number of mixers, or reached out to your alumni then you are missing potentially lucrative opportunities. Get out there and be seen!
  2. Reach out to Firm that Interests You!: There are hundreds of opportunities that are missed by young attorneys and they don’t even know it, reaching out to a firm unsolicited is still one of the most effective ways of securing a job and you need to do so. The best resource for this, if you don’t already know, is with Legal Authority, if you have not reached out to us to learn more about this approach, you need to do so.
  3. Submitting Your Resume Online to NEW Open Positions!:In contrast to the above, these job listings receive hundreds of responses every day and it continues to grow with each new batch of attorneys.

    When submitting your resume online you must also be aware of the approach that you are taking. Always ask yourself the following: “Has this listing been on this site for less than a week? Is this a location that I can commute to? Do I meet the qualifications listed? Are my materials well-prepared?” If you answer “No” to any of these questions, you need not move forward, there will be more opportunities, just move on.

There are many approaches to the job search beyond this, and I will be discussing each approach in depth on this blog on a weekly basis. Keep coming back to receive more insights into the job search. If you want to speak to me directly to expand on these points or to just simply chat, you can schedule an appointment with me at www.legalauthority.com.

For those who successfully passed the bar this year, let me say congratulations, enjoy this victory. Now that you have won your first battle, prepare for the next.

All the best,
Gordon K. Sattro Esq.

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Timing is Everything

by A. Harrison Barnes on November 28, 2013

The old cliché, ‘timing is everything’ is a phrase which relates to many of life’s situations. In an attorney’s job search, this statement cannot be overemphasized enough. Often times, I hear many misconceptions such as firms do not hire around this time of the year or the economy is just in too bad of shape.

This is a big mistake. First and foremost, a successful job search requires that you be pro-active each and every day until you have found that ideal position. In those weeks and months you are unemployed, you are potentially losing thousands of dollars in income and this, of course, can be a strain on you and your family.

Within the infrastructure of a firm or corporation, positions are often created to fill the overwhelming amount of work that filters into the legal department. This is why it is imperative to expand your job search to each and every avenue possible. Reaching out to the largest pool of potential employers allows you to realize all of the opportunities that exist in the present market. There is no undesirable time to send a resume and remember, timing is everything!

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Benefits of Working for the Government as an Attorney

by A. Harrison Barnes on November 20, 2013

Q.“Dear Legal Eagle, what are the benefits of working in the government as opposed to a law firm as an attorney?”

A.Here at Legal Authority we do not believe many attorneys could find a better job than working for the Federal or State government as an attorney.One of our Employment Advocates used to work for the United States Department of Justice and, the way he tells it, after 5:00 p.m. each evening you could fire a cannon down the hall.In all seriousness, though, there are some major advantages to choosing a career with the Government.

First, there can be a great deal of security in a position with the government. Many government attorneys practice their entire careers with the government and face little prospect of a layoff due to economic winds or something of the sort.Government jobs—for the most part—are there to stay.

Second, working for the government has a very laizze faire attitude to it which likely derives from the fact attorneys working for the government do not need to justify their hours and so forth.Attorneys working for the government are often quite collegial with one other and there is a fraternity of sorts among many government attorneys.

Third, the work in government attorney jobs can be immensely interesting.For example, you may be working on the type of high-profile litigation you might see only once or twice in a law firm career.The work can also be quite “hands on” and many government attorneys spend at least one day a week in court.For other types of government attorneys, they may be involved in important policy work that has a significant impact on what is going on in the world around them.

Fourth, the benefits are also extremely good in government positions. The health care and retirement benefits often far eclipse what one could earn in private practice.

At the end of the day, many attorneys do not choose to go to work for the government.One of the largest reasons they do not choose to do so is due to financial concerns.Nevertheless, many government attorneys do make over $100,000 a year and live lives that are quite comfortable in all respects.Sure, there are not brand new Porsches in most of their futures; however, money is not the be all and end all of life for most government attorneys.Many government attorneys simply enjoy the work that they do and enjoy practicing law with like minded individuals.

Another thing that is important to keep in mind about government work is the tremendous types of lives that government attorneys can often have in comparison to their law firm brethren.Most government attorneys are consistently home at normal hours to spend time with their families.Most government attorneys know that their job is not going to go anywhere if the economy takes a nasty turn.Most government attorneys also have time to enjoy leisure activities outside of work.At work, many government attorneys are working on extremely interesting work.

Surprisingly, government opportunities are not something our clients at Legal Authority request that we track down for them very often.This, of course, is interesting when you consider the super lives many government attorneys lead and how interesting the work is.While the searches we generally conduct for government attorneys are often much smaller than the searches attorneys conduct for law firm or in-house positions, they are often our most satisfying searches because we know we are unlikely to ever see the government attorney again.This means the attorney is carrying on a happy life and career, which is really all it is about in the end.

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What Legal Authority Does Works!

by A. Harrison Barnes on November 20, 2013

At Legal Authority, we are getting attorneys positions every day of the week because what we can do for you actually works. 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…” 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 30 people 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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Myth Versus Reality for Law Firm Jobs

by A. Harrison Barnes on November 13, 2013

Looking for the perfect law firm position? Our database contains virtually every law firm in the United States, Europe and Asia. Simply pick the city you are interested in, your practice group and allow our research team to do the work of preparing your letters and helping you apply to firms. Modified on a daily basis, our database contains thousands of firms that are not even listed in Martindale Hubble or other traditional sources. If you want to practice law in a law firm, we can help you get the job you want. Sure you could spend weeks if not even months compiling information on all the law firms in the cities you are interested in. Alternatively, you could use Legalauthority.com to find the job you are seeking now!

LEGAL MYTH:
I will never find a law firm position.

LEGALAUTHORITY:
Right now, in virtually every American city, there is a law firm that needs an attorney just like you-regardless of your qualifications. This position could be tens of thousands of dollars more than you are making now. This position may not even be advertised and you are not going to find this law firm either by using Monster, 15 gizillion web sites, a headhunter, or even Martindale Hubble. Chances are … this firm is already in our database. Let us put you in touch with them today!

LEGAL MYTH:
It is better to work with a recruiter to find a law firm position.

LEGALAUTHORITY:
Unless you have stellar qualifications, there are very few recruiting firms that will work with you. While recruiters are enormously helpful in getting candidates a position, the fact of the matter is that unless you have stellar qualifications they will not be able to do you much good. Stellar qualifications mean that you are coming from a top law firm and attended a top law school. Recruiters are beneficial in making good matches; however, using a recruiter may not always be in your best interest.

In addition, smaller firms often do not use recruiters. This can result in you missing out on joining the next Skadden Arps or other great firm that does not use recruiters. Moreover, in a tough economy law firms like anyone need to cut back on their expenses. Using our service can help you get the position you are seeking without a recruiter’s involvement.

LEGAL MYTH:
If I spend enough time on job posting boards I will find the perfect law firm position.

LEGALAUTHORITY:
All firms do not advertise their open positions on job posting boards or in the classified section of your local newspaper. Sorry-if that is the only way you are doing your job search you are going to miss out on numerous opportunities.

LEGAL MYTH:
Only firms with advertised positions will ever interview me.

LEGALAUTHORITY:
Wrong. Most law firms are seeking attorneys to join their team at virtually all points in time. If you rely on only advertised positions, you are going to be missing out on a massive amount of potential positions on a constant and ongoing basis. If your resume and materials arrive at the firm at the right time, you may get an outstanding position.

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 firm you do not want to contact-or worse-your own firm. 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. It has never been easier to get a legal job!

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Give Yourself the Most Options

by A. Harrison Barnes on November 7, 2013

In The Art of War, Sun Tzu said: “To be able to transform with the enemy is what is meant by ‘spiritlike‘.”

What Sun Tzu meant is that groups who win in war have no fixed form; instead, they manifest themselves in whatever way required to attain victory. They take shape in response to what obstacles they are presented with.

One of the exciting things about being an attorney is that your skills are transferable. For example, a litigator can become a construction defect attorney, a corporate attorney can practice law in Cleveland or Dubai and an intellectual property attorney can move from Texas to Pittsburgh. The fact is there are options everywhere if you know how to look and you know how to search.

One of the best uses of your talents is to expand your options and take advantage of opportunities outside your current geographic area. In the legal field, you have opportunities available to you in other cities and other markets and even other practice areas. The sky is the limit for what you can achieve.

When the economy changes, you need to be ready and willing to adapt. You need to “transform” in response to the obstacles ahead. This is what the best job seekers do. Follow their lead.

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