Have you ever sat next to a stranger at a dinner party who seemed to know EVERYTHING about a particular topic, and could generate all kinds of great ideas seemingly off the top of his head?
Well, Richard Hermann, the author of the new book From Lemons to Lemonade in the New Legal Job Market, is probably one of those people. He’s got tons of ideas for law students and recent graduates looking for that first legal job — it’s almost overwhelming how many, in fact!
What’s in the Book?
From Lemons to Lemonade (which I didn’t purchase, by the way — this was a free review copy) starts by talking in detail about the “untapped legal job market,” which includes things such as JD-preferred jobs, “hidden” jobs that aren’t necessarily advertised but can be uncovered with some due diligence, and less commonly considered options, including small town lawyering and teaching outside of law schools. This section is almost 90 pages, so it’s the rare job seeker who won’t come away with some new ideas about where to look (although many of the options don’t seem to apply directly to aspiring litigators).
From there, Hermann moves into the nuts and bolts of a job search: understanding what a potential employer’s looking for, dissecting a job ad and figuring out if it make sense to apply, and avoiding common mistakes. He then moves into tactics that are useful for relatively inexperienced job applicants: ways to inexpensively enhance your credentials, how to differentiate yourself from the competition, and suggestions for emphasizing the positive aspects of your application while downplaying negative aspects (for example, a lack of experience!).
Finally, From Lemons to Lemonades contains a truly useful set of appendices (these are probably worth the cost of admission on their own), with lists of legal networking organizations, credential-building programs, options for JD-related work, and specialized legal job-hunting resources.
Who is From Lemons to Lemonade Right For?
If you’re a 3L or a recent law school graduate without a job, this is the book for you. The exception is if you’re still holding out for a position at a large law firm, or a large corporation. As Hermann makes clear, your odds of getting either of those jobs at this point is slim, so the book doesn’t address them. For anything else, however, he’s your guy!
There’s one other type of job hunter who’s going to hate this book.
If you’d rather sit around and complain about how terrible the economy is, and what a disaster your decision to go to law school was, and how you’re never going to get a job, this probably isn’t the book for you.
Although it seems like Hermann’s heard it all in his role as legal career counselor, he doesn’t have a lot of patience with whiners. (For example, Chapter 7: Doing Nothing is Not an Option.)
Frankly, I agree with him in large part, but there’s a healthy dose of tough love here. If you want to be coddled, and told a job search is all about what you want (and not about the problems you can solve for a potential employer), I’d suggest looking elsewhere.
Hermann tells it like it is, and some of his advice might be difficult to accept initially. If, however, you’re open to advice, and willing to put in the necessary time to execute steps that require actual research and effort (the horror!), I think it’s the rare legal job seeker who won’t find something useful and enlightening in From Lemons to Lemonade.
Want more job-search content?
Check out an idea from the book: Cool Idea for Legal Networking: Make A “Contacts Roadmap.” Or get more info in our interview with Richard Hermann.
Or take a look at these recent posts:
- 12 Things I’d Do if I Were an Unemployed 3L
- Looking for Work? 7 Tips for a Remarkable Résumé
- The One Question That Will Improve Any Résumé
- Wondering How to Get a Law Job? Here’s Advice From a Law School Career Counselor
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