In a challenging job market, new lawyers should be aware of
things they can do - or avoid doing - to help in both the short and
"Entry-level law is very soft. Competition is high," says
Seckler, president of Seckler Legal coaching in Newtonville. "There
are a number of things to do and a number of things to
Seckler has 20 years' experience in legal job consulting and
recruiting in the Boston area, and is now a legal coach - which, in
today's economy, is a growth area. His tips include:
DO find a non-job-search activity you enjoy, and
practice it regularly. Not only does this reinforce the positive -
it also provides a potential topic of conversation with people you
meet in your job search who may have mutual interests.
DO network. And when you do, focus your requests
for job-search information. Job offers are more likely to come from
friends of friends than friends, so the more specific you are, the
easier it is for your network contacts to give you information that
is targeted and useful.
DO listen. Talk 20 percent of the time and listen
the other 80 percent.
DO find ways to be productive that continue to
demonstrate that you are interested in whatever discipline in which
you're seeking a job. Write, do pro bono work or serve on legal
DO revisit the career center at your law school.
Many have posted extensive information on their Web sites. Those
who complain that their career center didn't do anything for them
probably didn't take responsibility for their own career
DON'T say to a prospective employer, "I'll do
anything." It sounds as if you don't know what you want.
DON'T ask an interviewer questions about the firm
or company for which you could have gotten an answer online.
DON'T take on work in an area in which you have
no interest, if you can avoid it. Keep in mind that any
non-career-focused job choice will have to be explained to
potential employers later.
As executive director of Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers, Walcott
urges job-seekers to use their time wisely - to reflect on what
they want to do and those areas of discipline for which they are
DO steer clear of doomsayers.
DO get out into the legal community. Yes, you'll
have to answer a few questions about your current circumstances,
but you'll have to do that anyway. Get the 'practice' out of the
way, so you're not answering those questions for the first time in
a job interview.
DO utilize support groups such as those run by
LCL, a free, confidential, independent private corporation.
DO ask for discounts on programs, seminars and
memberships. Update your contact information with the Massachusetts
Bar Association. If you are among the newly laid-off, notify the
MBA, or your communications will keep being sent to your former
workplace. Unemployed members can receive significant dues
discounts that will allow them to keep current on developments in
DON'T isolate yourself. When you are no longer
volunteering and you are letting go of relationships you had from
before, you're making yourself feel worse.
DON'T be so proud that you turn away offers of
assistance and opportunities.