Monday, May 5, 2008

Four Tips for Finding the Perfect Law Job

The Touro Law Center CSO Blog is getting popular and bloggers are beginning to reach out to us to ask if they can write guest posts for publication. One such blogger, Heather Johnson, regularly writes on the topics of careers and career exploration. She submitted the following post to us and we decided to share it with you. Ms. Johnson invites your questions and writing job opportunities at her personal email address.

Four Tips for Finding the Perfect Law Job

So you’re just about done with law school and now it’s time to figure out the rest of your life. A daunting task, for sure. First and foremost, you’ve got to figure out what you want from life. This means you have to come up with a clear idea as to what your personal foundation is for practicing law. This may sound too complicated because you feel you have to worry about passing the bar exam first or are already relatively settled in your current job. But you must realize that establishing what you truly want your career cornerstones to be is the most important. Here are four principles to consider as you make this decision:

1. Surroundings. Is a big law firm with its inherent bureaucracy, demanding hours and stringent rules the right fit for you? Or would you prefer a smaller firm that allows you to explore your own interests as well be a better spot for you? This is an important decision as you need to figure out what setting is best for you. Think about this from a long-term mindset because you want to make sure that this will be the path you want to follow for the duration of your career.

2. Responsibilities. Determine what level of responsibility you feel that you can aptly assume. Are you the type that is willing to log 60-70 hours a week for the first five years? Would you prefer a more laid back schedule with more one-on-one time with your clients? Burnout is a legitimate concern and you want to make sure that you set up your career in a position that won’t leave you feeling that you’re in the wrong business.

3. What’s your field? Consider your personal, political and social views and values. This is your chance to make sure that you’re not selling yourself out. It may seem easy to go for the first good job that crosses your plate. It may have a great salary and structure, but does it fit your personal style? Make sure that you consider your inner feelings and figure out where they translate in the world of practicing law.

4. Defend yourself. Once you’ve made your decision make sure that it stands up to the previous three principles. If you’re satisfied that you’ve made the proper determination then, and only then, is it time to start looking for the right job at the right firm. Only you can be sure that the direction you’re headed in is the proper path for you. Eliminate outside influences and make this decision about you because it’s one that will craft your career.

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