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Guide to Attorney Job Search

By Susan P. Joyce

Guide to Job Search for AttorneysAccording to the dictionary, an "attorney" or a "lawyer" is "a professional person authorized to practice law" -- basically two terms for the same profession. 

Typically, in the USA, that person has attended and graduated from a law school, and, most importantly, has passed (or is preparing for) the bar exam in the state where they practice law.

The population of attorneys in the United States has surpassed well over a one million, with thousands of aspiring attorneys starting law school each year.

Every day -- whether the economy is fast or slow, whether jobs are plentiful or scarce -- lawyers are engaged in career development, career transition, and job search.

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When and How to Job Search

Like most people, many lawyers think about looking for the next job only when they want (or need) a new job.

Sometimes, it's a product of slow growing dissatisfaction from feeling underpaid or undervalued. Sometimes, it's a product of sudden shift, like a merger, corporate bankruptcy, layoff, or graduation from law school.

The most successful lawyers don't just think about the job search when they want or need a new job.

They know that attorneys risk falling behind if they aren't thinking about career development, professional development, professional branding, networking, building an executive presence, or opening themselves to new opportunities.

Here in Job-Hunt's Guide to Job Search for Attorneys and Lawayers, we'll talk about:

  • Current trends in legal hiring.
  • Demystify the modern job search process.
  • Why lawyers should care about platforms like LinkedIn.
  • How to use LinkedIn in a stealth job search.
  • How to become a targets of acquisition.

We'll talk about practical, actionable steps you can take to improve your legal carer, to attract new opportunities, and to land new legal positions.

Career Options for Attorneys / Lawyers

Attorney jobs are not typically low-stress, so finding the right one for you is important. This can be challenging, whether you have passed your local bar exam or opted for a different career path.

Job search is also challenging whether you have been practicing law for years in a law firm, working as legal counsel inside a company or other organization, or starting your career fresh out of law school.

Not everyone is interested in a traditional legal career (or in taking bar exams). The good news is that, with a law degree, you have a wide range of opportunities in both the public and the private sector.

If you are just starting your legal career, you also have many options and, usually, heading down one path (associate in a law firm or corporate counsel in a business) does not cut you off from other paths if you change your mind later.

New Tools and New Rules in Job Search Today

Since attorneys are very familiar with rules and how often they change, learning the rules and staying up-to-date with the latest in attorney job search tools is essential -- but not necessarily easy to do today.

Technology, specifically social media and search engines, have dramatically changed the recruiting/job search game for everyone. Recruiters use different methods than in the past, and job seekers are learning how to respond.

Since a job search is not something that people do every day, or even every year, not understanding the new methods of finding a job is a big handicap. Learning the new rules and tools for effective job search is required.

Attorney Job Search Expert: Attorney Shauna C. Bryce

Shauna C. Bryce is a career strategist for lawyers at all levels. Her roster of private clients includes leaders in government, Global 100 law firms, Fortune 500 businesses, and other top organizations—including Google, Dreamworks, Major League Baseball, the U.S. Supreme Court, and the White House. She’s is a graduate of Harvard Law School with 20 years in law and legal careers.

As a lawyer, Shauna worked in the Manhattan flagship office of a Global 100 law firm and served on the hiring committee of an Am Law 200 law firm. In addition to writing several books and a blog, she’s appeared in publications or events for Forbes, Bloomberg Law, the American Bar Association, the National Association for Women Lawyers, Harvard Law School, and more. For additional information go to brycelegal.com.

If you have any questions or comments, please send them to questions [at] Job-Hunt.org.

Let the attorney job search begin! 

More About Attorney Job Search


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