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SEEKING A NEW POSITION IN A RECESSION

Be certain you actually are engaging every possible avenue to secure a new position.  You should work with your law school career services office, check (believe it or not) Craig’s List, scan the local legal newspaper ads and check on-line job posting sites.  In addition, you need to be proactive and spread the word that you are actively seeking a legal position.  Most folks want to be helpful, and even if they are unaware of any current opportunities or leads, ask them if they know of anyone who might be able to help.  Networking is key during these times — I’ve found that there is a great sense of camaraderie in these tough times, and an empathetic understanding that “we’re all in this together.” 

You might consider visiting different chapters of various networking organizations in your city, and mingling with other lawyers at chamber of commerce mixers, local and state bar events and the like.  You should also embark on a targeted mail campaign, which includes a brief introductory letter, your resume and law school transcript.  Focus on smaller firms (30 or less) and consider geographic areas that are less desirable to live in or are otherwise off the beaten path.  A key element in mail campaigns and in networking is to be organized, so you should develop a system that reflects a list the people with whom you have spoken, the dates of the communication and the upshot, if any. 

It is critical to follow up, follow up and follow up.  It’s often a thin line between being diligent and annoying, so tread carefully.  If possible, don’t leave multiple voicemail messages, but continue to call until you reach a live person.  You can follow up by email as well.  It would probably be best to alternate between the two methods, and follow up no less than two or three times over the course of several weeks. 

Always be grateful for whatever time and energy someone offers you, and be willing to give back in any way you can.  In the meantime, stay involved in the law through volunteer work, if possible.  Finally, stay optimistic and continue to believe that through your persistent efforts, you will eventually land the job you want.

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