Friday, December 18, 2009

Ways to Gain Legal Experience While Working Full-Time

If you are an evening student, most likely you are juggling many tasks: working full-time, attending classes in the evening and spending valuable time with your families. Taking on a summer job that will give you legal experience simply is not a reality for you. So, what are some options for getting legal experience while working and going to school? Consider exploring the possibility of getting legal work through your current employer. Contact the legal department and see if there is some legal work that you can do for them after regular business hours in addition to your regular duties. Also, you could serve as a research assistant to a law professor. The research and support you provide to professors can often be done outside of regular business hours. You may even be able to get course credit. Participate in moot court and writing competitions, including the write-on for the law journals. These experiences will provide you with material to include on your resume that will show that you have significant experience performing legal research, writing and advocacy. In addition to getting this type of practical experience, think about bolstering your resume by engaging in activities that demonstrate your commitment to the practice of law. For example, become an active member of a bar association (the American Bar Association, the New Jersey State Bar Association, the New York City Bar, the New York County Lawyers Association, and the Inns of Court are all organizations to check out). Similarly, joining student organizations at the law school will afford you the opportunity to both learn more about an area of law in which you plan to practice, as well as make contacts with the legal community. In addition, be sure to check this blog for upcoming programs and networking opportunities featuring alumni and practicing attorneys.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The New Jersey Law Firm Group Mentor Program - Career Services is still accepting registration forms

Founded in 1990, the New Jersey Law Firm Group ("NJLFG") is a group comprised of New Jersey law firms, law schools, corporate legal departments, government agencies and public interest organizations that recognize the importance and advantages of diversity in serving the needs of clients and enhancing the legitimacy and public image of the legal profession. The NJLFG is committed to its mission of increasing the diversity of the New Jersey bar and assisting its members with their individual diversity initiatives. The NJLFG's Mentor Program is designed to match interested, diverse law students with attorney-mentors from some of the top New Jersey law firms and organizations. Mentors serve as a resource for the law student while they complete law school, navigate the recruitment process, and search for career options and opportunities. Law students may register for the NJLFG's Mentor Program by filling out a registration form found here. Completed forms should be submitted to the Office of Career Services on the 2nd Floor. The Office of Career Services is still accepting registration forms - please submit them as soon as possible. The NJLFG is planning to hold a Mentor/Mentee reception on Tuesday, January 26, 2010.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Effective Networking Tips

In this economy, it is important to use all job search methods. Even after sending out resumes and cover letters in response to job postings or targeted towards specific law firms and judges, it may be that law students and alums are getting little response. Networking has always been a crucial tool in a job search for a legal job but it is even more important these days.
What is networking? Networking means establishing contacts and building relationships for career development. Networking gives you a chance to get in on opportunities earlier than others, not because you have asked someone for a job, but because you have told your network of contacts of your interests and goals and those contacts let you know of possible job openings.
So, what are the best ways to effectively network?
First, start with the people you know - friends, family, colleagues and acquaintances. Although they might not have a job for you, they may know other people who will have a potential opportunity. Contacting a friend of a friend to discuss your career development and aspirations is much less intimidating than reaching out to a complete stranger. Tell everyone you know and meet of your interests and that you are looking for advice and information.
Second, join bar associations, student organizations and other professional groups. Volunteer. Put yourself in situations where you will have a chance to strike up a conversation with someone who does what you would eventually like to do. Networking in this manner does not require a boisterous, outgoing personality. You can network effectively by just listening thoughtfully and taking a sincere interest in others.
Third, if you are intimidated by the prospect of networking, try to remember that you are asking for advice, not for a job. In this way, you are not putting people on the spot. Rather you are exploring your options, gathering advice and researching the job market - all of which set the groundwork for positioning yourself in the right place for when a job oppportunity comes along.
Fourth, don't be discouraged or take it personally if someone is unresponsive. Try someone esle. Most people like to talk about what they do and are flattered to be asked for assistance and advice with your job search.
Fifth, follow up with people you have met. The sooner you reach out after your initial meeting, the more likely that person will remember you and keep you in mind when they learn of an opportunity that might be of interest to you.
Sixth, don't forget that networking is a two way street. If someone gives you a lead to either another contact person or potential job opportunity remember to thank them and let them know how things turn out. Determine what you can do for the people in your network - you don't want to be the person people hear from only when you want something.
Lastly, once you start networking, be sure to keep track of your efforts. Devise a system for organizing your network contacts and keep it updated.
Networking is an ongoing endeavor. Continue to network even after you have found a job. You never know when you might need your network contacts again.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Symplicity Job Highlights

1Ls and 2Ls can check out Symplicity's job postings for these interesting summer job programs.
A New York County government entity is hiring legal interns for this coming summer. Depending upon the assignment, the summer legal intern may help prepare cases for grand jury presentations, hearings and trials. They also research and write appellate briefs and trial memoranda. This job has a 12/15 application deadline.
A federal banking/insurance agency is hiring summer law clerks who will assist attorneys in the preparation of all aspects of legal work as well as research projects. This job has a 12/18 application deadline.
Any questions about these or other Symplicity job postings, just email us at

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Are you a Facebook user? If so, check out this article!

In an interesting article in the October 2009 New Jersey Lawyer Magazine, authors Scott Jon Shagin and Paula Shagin explore the legal issues, especially for lawyers, of being a Facebook user. "Facebook At Your Own Risk: the Dark Side of Social Networking Websites" describes the risks (privacy settings, potential employer searches, marketing use of "personal" information) and legal ramifications (Rules of Professional Conduct, changing expectations of privacy) surrounding the usage of Facebook as a social networking tool.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Clerkship opportunities in the New York Uniform Court System for 3Ls and recent alums

The New York State Unified Court System is now accepting applications for the Clerkship Program - Commercial Division and the Legal Fellows Program. The deadline for submitting applications to either of these programs is January 15, 2010 for clerkships starting in September 2010. The Clerkship Program - Commercial Division: The New York State Supreme Court, Commercial Division, New York County, is offering one- and two-year clerkships to law school graduates. These clerkships will provide valuable professional legal experience to new attorneys with an interest in commercial law and afford them a unique perspective on judicial decision making and court operations. Commercial Division Clerks will work directly with one of the Justices of the New York County Commercial Division. For information about how to apply the Clerkship Program - Commercial Division, click here. The Legal Fellows Program: The New York State Unified Court System is offering one-year legal fellowships to recent law school graduates interested in pursuing a legal career in public service. Legal Fellows are assigned to work in judicial offices, assisting with legal research and writing. Assignments offer valuable professional legal experience to new attorneys and expose them to judicial decision making and court operations. For information about how to apply to the Legal Fellows Program, click here.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009 - a source for non-profit job and internship listings

Idealist is a project of Action Without Borders, a nonprofit organization founded in 1995 with offices in the United States and Argentina. It is an interactive site where people and organizations can exchange resources and ideas, and locate opportunities and supporters. It has an extensive job postings database for permanent, part-time and temporary jobs in the non-profit/government sectors, as well as listings of paid and unpaid internships. While Idealist is not dedicated to legal jobs only, you can use the search parameters to limit your search of the Idealist job or internship databases to "law and legal assistance" under the "area of focus" tab. This is just one more resource for a job or legal internship search.