1. Check your tool box
- Electronic and paper resume. at least one version, more if you are approaching multiple types of employers.
- Spreadsheet of networking contacts. Review your networking efforts from last semester. Be prepared to re-connect with old contacts and to develop new ones.
- LinkedIn profile, Facebook, and blog posts. Update your LinkedIn profile with new accomplishments. Scrub your Facebook page and blog of anything that could come between you and a job that you might want. Yes, I know that in some places employers cannot ask for passwords, but they make judgments about items that are forwarded or that come up on Google searches.
2. Check in with career services.
3. Explore practice areas.
- Answer these questions: Who does the work? Where is the work done? (geography, big cities, small towns; large firms, small firms, in-house, public service, public interest, non-profit) What training or education before or beyond a JD is useful or required? What are the hot or trending topics? What is the posture of the practice (litigation, transactions, regulatory, lobbying, etc.)? Is its practice more like a team sport (prosecution) or a solo activity (writing opinions for administrative law judges)? What industries does the practice serve? Do those industries look forward or backward?
- Scan the leading casebook or hornbook and get a syllabus of a class to understand how the topic is taught.
- Decide whether you might be interested in the work.
- AFTER you have done some of this research, talk to a professor and then talk to lawyers who do the work. Do not approach a professional and say “I am interested in [your practice area]. Tell me everything you know about it so that I can decide whether I want to do it.” No one will help you.
- After you have done this research and spoken to a number of professionals, assess your interest. If everything you have learned makes you cringe, thank everyone you have spoken with and begin again on a new topic. Nothing ventured; nothing gained.