Welcome to the Career Development Office's ("CDO") Market Trends and Information webpage! Our goal is to provide our students and alumni with information and suggestions regarding overall hiring trends in the legal marketplace, and to link to recent articles providing detailed analyses and updates. Therefore, the CDO has compiled some resources for students and alumni facing career transitions. Whether you are looking for a job, confused about how to start a search, or need simple resume and cover letter advice, these resources are designed to provide you with the skills to begin your journey towards a new career in this challenging environment.
Jump to a section:
Managing a Legal Career Transition in Tough Times: As a public service, NALP and ALI-ABA are pleased to offer Managing a Legal Career Transition in Tough Times. Marcia Pennington Shannon and Susan G. Manch of Shannon & Manch LLP donated their time and talent to this 75-minute presentation to assist lawyers and 3Ls who are currently seeking employment.
ABA Recession Recovery Teleconference Series: If you need some insight on navigating these economic times, you can listen to the ABA Recession Recovery Teleconference Series, free for ABA members. These four teleconferences feature expert faculty providing practical tips and strategies for succeeding in today's career climate. Programs will focus on marketing yourself, succeeding as a solo practitioner, adapting to the new legal environment, and stabilizing your outlook in an unstable world.
American Bar Association's (ABA's) Economic Recovery Resources: The American Bar Association has a new Economic Recovery Resources Web Portal which offers a wide range of assistance for coping with tough times including information on job searching, personal development and career transition, law practice management tips, handling stress, and more. The resources website consists of six topic areas: job search and networking, career transition, practice management, professional development, stress management and savings. Each section offers an array of resources including practical advice from ABA publications, such as:
JD Careers Out There: Provides video resources presenting career advice from lawyers and non-practicing lawyers to help attorneys and law students determine what to do with a law degree, achieve success and find career fulfillment, whether you choose to practice law or pursue other alternatives. You can also obtain professional development advice about interviewing, networking, professional communications and other subjects.
LexisNexis ASPIRE Program: For graduates entering public service during their deferral, LexisNexis has launched a new program that provides free access to certain LexisNexis services. The ASPIRE (Associates Serving Public Interest Research) program gives qualified graduates use of a specified menu of LexisNexis services during the deferral period. To qualify, graduates must have accepted an associate position at a law firm, but are 1) experiencing a deferred fall 2009 start date, and 2) taking on public interest work during the deferral period.
Newly Expanded Federal Employment Resource Center on PSLawNet: PSLawNet site features a newly enhanced federal government careers page. This resource provides explanations about federal hiring processes and points of entry to federal jobs, downloadable resources, and answers to frequently asked questions.
The CDO offers a number of resources to assist you in learning about opportunities available to you with a law degree. Listed below are some publications available in the CDO Resource Library:
CDO Job Search Resources
Career Development & Job Search Books
Magazines & Newspapers
Networking & Job Search Advice
Life Upon the Wicked Stage: Lessons Lawyers Can Learn From the Acting Profession; William A. Chamberlain, The National Law Journal, October 10, 2011
10 Tips for Beginning a Successful Legal Career; The Legal Intelligencer, November 12, 2009
Litigation Practices Showing Signs of Life, Says Hildebrandt Study; Karen Sloan, The National Law Journal, November 10, 2009
Out of Work Lawyers Gather for Job Hunting Advice as Layoffs Continue; The AmLawDaily, March 10, 2009
Current Job Market May Force Lawyers to Embrace Their Inner Risk Taker; Fulton County Daily Report, April 22, 2009
What's Hot and What's Not for Associate Job Seekers; Legal Times, April 16, 2009
An Upside of Recession: Opportunity for Reevaluation; The National Law Journal, February 23, 2009
'You're History.' Now What? Be Creative, Persistent in Your Search for the Next Job; ABA Journal, January 2009
It's a New Year: 10 Resolutions for Job-Seekers; The National Law Journal, January 5, 2009
Welcome to the Future: Time for Plan B in 2009; The AmLaw Daily, January 4, 2009
Finding a New Job is a Matter of Networking; Roll Call, December 15, 2008
Tips to Build Up Your LinkedIn Profile; Legal Times, November 5, 2008
How to Connect With Potential Clients; Marketing the Law Firm Newsletter, October 17, 2008
Expert Opinion: Getting (and Giving) the Most in Your Summer Internship; The PSLawNetBlog, June 17, 2010
The Growing Lawyer Career Tracks Within Law Firms; Crain's Detroit Business, June 26, 2011
Law Firm Apprenticeships Could Cause Recruiting Problems, Critics Say; ABA Journal, June 30, 2009
Hiring partners: What's So Bad About Spring Recruitment?; The National Law Journal, June 30, 2009
Law Firm Apprentice Programs Add Extra Step for New Associates; The National Law Journal, June 30, 2009
Law Firms Leaders Feeling Less Grim About the Future, Survey Shows; The Recorder, June 24, 2009
What's Old Is New Again: Howrey Introduces Apprenticeships; The National Law Journal, June 23, 2009
In Down Economy, Do Less Profitable Firms Have a Better Shot at Big-Name Partners?; The American Lawyer, June 22, 2009
It's Time to Rise and Market; The Legal Intelligencer, June 22, 2009
Summer Associates Can Stand Out by Balancing Fear With Enthusiasm; New Jersey Law Journal, June 15, 2009
Some Small Firms Find Smooth Sailing Through Turbulent Times; New York Law Journal, January 20, 2009
Veering Off Law Firm Career Path May Be the Way to Go for Some; The Legal Intelligencer, June 24, 2009
Stuck in the Middle; The American Lawyer, June 1, 2009
Are Law Firms Reducing Commitment to Diversity, Leadership Training Due to Downturn?; The National Law Journal, May 14, 2009
Diversity Scorecard 2009: A New View of Success; The Minority Law Journal, May 6, 2009
Clerks in Paradise; The American Lawyer, January 9, 2008
Practice Areas/Geographic Markets
Employment law associates are a hot commodity; Petra Pasternak, The Recorder, June 30, 2011
Alternative Billing Increasingly Important for Texas Firms, Survey Shows; Texas Lawyer, July 1, 2009
BigLaw Bullish on Chicago; National Law Journal, June 11, 2009
Hello, SoCal!; The National Law Journal, March 30, 2009
Switching Practice Areas Should Not be Taken Lightly; The National Law Journal, March 30, 2009
As Mergers and Other Work Dry Up, Bankruptcy Becomes Lawyers' Oasis; The New York Times, January 23, 2009
Bay Area Firms See Profits Drop Up to 21%, Revenues Flat; The AmLaw Daily, January 9, 2009
IP Marketplace Still Sizzles; The Recorder, January 5, 2009
Pro Bono Offers Career Hope in Bleak Legal Market; probono.net News, December 2008
Student & Bar Issues
Welcome to the Future: Time for Law School 4.0; The AmLaw Daily, June 22, 2009
Help is Nigh on the Student Loan Front; The National Law Journal, June 22, 2009
Keeping Your Current Job
Staying Employed: Remain Visible and Flexible; New York Law Journal, January 16, 2009
Managing Your Career in Turbulent Times; Law Practice Today, November 2008
Preparation Key to Making Yourself Recession-Proof; The Legal Intelligencer, September 11, 2008
Salary & Market
Pay Cuts at Firms Gaining Momentum; The Legal Intelligencer, June 30, 2009
Study Shows Sharp Disparities in Law Associate Compensation; The National Law Journal, June 29, 2009
For Jobless Lawyers, Plan B Includes Good Works; CNN, March 13, 2009
Laid-Off Lawyers Might Need to Adjust Expectations; Fulton County Daily Report, March 13, 2009
Bad Economy Makes It a Good Time to Go It Alone; The Connecticut Law Tribune, January 7, 2009
A Deep Lateral Market's New Rules; The National Law Journal, November 17, 2008
Think About a Judicial Clerkship: The 2010-2011 judicial clerkship hiring season is here and if you are a rising 3L or an alumnus interested in pursuing a post-graduate judicial clerkship at the state or federal court level, the CDO is here to assist you. If you are interested or curious about what judicial law clerks actually do, need assistance identifying judges to whom you may wish to apply, or seek guidance in crafting your application materials, contact Amy Perez, Associate Director of Judicial Clerkships, at email@example.com for additional information.
Fellowships: If you have deferred a position for a year or more, consider a postgraduate fellowship. Fellowships allow recent graduates to secure entry-level positions with nonprofit organizations, government entities and educational institutions. Typically, fellowships are one or two years in length and are designed to give new lawyers experience in public interest practice. You may search for fellowship opportunities using the PSLawNet Opportunities Database. The database contains between 200 and 300 fellowship listings and is updated annually to provide current application deadlines and job descriptions. Click here for a comprehensive guide to fellowship resources, including the resources mentioned here.
Remember the Basics: Make sure that your application materials are impeccable. Your cover letter and resume must be well written and presentable in order for you to remain competitive. Highlight the accomplishments and skills that uniquely qualify you for the position for which you are applying. In addition to the substantive information and aesthetic presentation of your materials, your documents must be visually appealing and error-free. Even a single typo will hurt your chances of landing an interview. To review samples and obtain additional information, refer to the Resume and Cover Letter Guides on the CDO website.
Review advertised positions from a variety of sources: Do not rely solely on Symplicity for job opportunities. There are numerous online resources that advertise legal and non-legal positions. These include the BYU Intercollegiate Job Bank, the Government Honors & Internship Handbook, PSLawNet, Lawyers Weekly Jobs, and USA Jobs. You may easily access several job related links on the CDO website under "Quick Links".
Network, network, network: There is no substitute for savvy and relentless networking. Contacting individuals - either directly or through a mutual contact - is the most effective way to get a job. Talk to friends, classmates, relatives, undergraduate and law school professors, colleagues and former co-workers. Contact these folks by telephone, email or old-fashioned "snail" mail. When you make contact, do not ask for a job. Rather, ask for information and advice. People are generally flattered and forthcoming when asked for their guidance and expertise. You should also ask your contacts for referrals to others who may have or know of job openings. Then, also expand your network by becoming active in alumni and bar associations, student organizations, and social, charitable and political organizations. For additional information, refer to the Networking Guide on the CDO website.
Be creative: Expand your horizons and do not limit your options. Consider a full range of opportunities that will help you grow professionally. Do not "get stuck" at simply looking for your "ideal" job—there is no such thing.
Prepare for interviews and wow the employer: Do mock interviews. Research and know your employers. Never wing an interview. Employers will know, and you won't get an offer. Practice makes perfect. To obtain additional information, refer to the Interview Guide on the CDO website.
Be professional: In all of your communications with employers, be professional, courteous and honest.
General Salary Links
Find Law's Infirmation: This site collects salary information from sources such as recruiting coordinators, law firms, experts on a given market's salaries, public sources and press releases.
JobStar Salary Surveys: This site has a large collection of salary surveys, lists of books to request from your local library and articles from experts.
National Association of Law Placement (NALP) Associate & New Graduate Salary Summaries: NALP publishes an annual Associate Salary Survey report detailing associate salaries by years of experience; salary ranges for associates through the eighth year; summer associate salaries; salaries for intellectual property attorneys, staff attorneys and law clerks; information on judicial clerks and bonuses paid to judicial clerks; and comparisons of law firm compensation and bonus structures. NALP also surveys the graduating JD class to learn about the employment experiences of new law graduates. The data from this survey is published annually in Jobs & J.D.'s: Employment and Salaries of New Law Graduates and Starting Salaries: What New Law Graduates Earn.
Salary.com: This site is dedicated to salaries and total compensation. The Salary Wizard allows you to search for base, median and top-level earnings in hundreds of jobs for many occupational areas, and much of the data spun to your local jurisdiction. You can also locate helpful articles and exercises to assist you in calculating benefits, stock options, bonuses (and how to get them) and negotiations. The site also offers the opportunity to purchase a Personal Salary Report. This is a customized report targeted to your local market, your current level of experience, and the industry in which you work.
Abbott, Langer Association Surveys: This site offers salary and compensation reports for over 400 benchmark jobs with current salary statistics on-line in the legal field and other fields. Also, current benefit practices and factors affecting pay are described.
Economic Research Institute (ERI): This site offers free surveys. To find these, select "Resource" then choose either 'Survey Sources" (many free US and international compensation surveys) or "More" (a page filled with a variety of compensation resources, many of which are free).
Job Search Intelligence: This site provides free salary data along with information on employment trends in your region. They obtain their information from various government surveys and package it differently than on most salary sites.
Payscale: Compares your job profile to the salary and compensation packages of people whose skills and experiences match yours. NOTE: free version, but requires you to enter an e-mail address to receive salary report.
Pay Check City: This site offers several online tools to calculate take home pay, gross pay, 401(k)s, bonuses etc.
Government Wage Surveys
Bureau of Labor Statistics: This site collects data regarding wages, unemployment and other employment trends. Search through their press releases, regional data and other areas for salary and compensation information.
Occupational Employment Statistics: The Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) program produces employment and wage estimates for different occupations. Select a job family from the right side, then look for the closest matching job title to get data for that profession.
U.S. Office of Personnel Management: U.S. Office of Personnel Management 2009 Salary Tables and Related Information.
Read about our Legal Career Paths course — a comprehensive career and professional development course.
Miami Law recently established Legal Corps, an ambitious postgraduate fellowship program which will place recent law graduates in government agencies, public interest organizations, and judicial chambers in Florida and throughout the country. Read More.
It is the policy of the University of Miami that no person within the jurisdiction thereof shall, on the basis of race, religion, color, sex, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, veteran status, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination or harassment (including all forms of sexual harassment and sexual violence) under any program or activity of the University, regardless of whether such program or activity occurs on-campus or off-campus. Employers who advertise positions through the Career Development Office or participate in CDO recruitment programs must read the non-discrimination policy and undertake to observe it.