Most law students find jobs through the law school job bank - symplicity. However, those jobs are just the ones that are currently available. Many times, those jobs are just not what a student wants to apply for. Many times, students get positions through consistent networking and creative job hunting. However, networking and creative job hunting are not one and the same. Creative job hunting is the process of finding a job opportunity or getting a job offer through non-traditional means - through something other than symplicity or other job postings. Networking is part of this process and is one tool that can help in getting a job. Networking involves making connections with other attorneys and establishing relationships that can go far beyond just job hunting. Many of these connections can help later in a career by referring clients, being a resource to refer people to, or even as mentors. Creative job hunters benefit from networking because they learn about new opportunities and are able to set themselves apart from the other candidates. Networking can be done with anyone and many times, a connection made today may lead to an opportunity five years in the future (a rather common occurrence). However, to make networking an effective tool in the creative job hunt, you need to make connections with attorneys who work in the company or practice area where you want to work. It will be these individuals who will serve as your references, will introduce you to others who may know about potential job opportunities, and who will be implicity serving as a reference by simply passing your name along to someone they know. However, before they can do all these things on your behalf, you have to find them. There are two main tools I suggest to students when they need to find attorneys they are interested in meeting. The first is the lawyer directory and its search function on the State Bar of Wisconsin web site - www. wisbar.org. Through this search engine, you can search for lawyers who graduated from the Law School and in the company, city or state in which you are interested in working. You can even search for lawyers who graduated in a specific year. I have used this search engine to help students find UW alumni in specific law firms and cities. This search engine can also be used to search for non-UW Law School grads, as long as they are licensed Wisconsin attorneys. Sometimes, there are no UW alumni in the particular firm, city or practice area the person is interested in. In those instances, I use www.martindale.com. This site is similar to the wisbar.org website but allows searches based on practice area and can be used for any city or state. For example, I have used this search engine for an attorney who wanted to move to San Francisco, CA. The attorney did not want to move to large firm and most of the UW Law alumni I found were at large firms. So the search had to be expanded to find any attorney in her practice area. Now if you're wondering why other attorneys would talk to this person or help her out, the reason is that many people remember what it is like to break into a new job market and if they can, they will help by providing guidance on what the job market is like, how to establish the credential needed to get noticed, and even where to apply in the event they know of any unpublished opportunities.
Submitted by Nilesh Patel, Career Advisor on March 24, 2006
This article appears in the categories: Career Services & Student Job Postings