Summer 2021 Job Search Tips for Law Students in the New COVID-19 Landscape

Summer 2021 Job Search Tips for Law Students in the New COVID-19 LandscapeThis week we welcome back guest writer Christen Morgan to talk about what to consider if you’re a law student in a job search during the pandemic.

The year 2020 is now behind us, and as law students gear up for their summer 2021 job search, it’s clear that the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the legal job market is here to stay. At least for a while.

The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed the legal landscape into a virtual arena. Gone are the days of in-person networking events and in-person interviews including OCIs, etc.

So, what now? How does one navigate this novel landscape in an industry that has been entrenched in an “old-school” culture?

Like the legal industry has done over the past year, law students will need to adapt to these new measures. However, a successful job search will require that law students are strategic in their approach, as the industry is still adjusting.

Here are some job search tips to help you in summer 2021 and beyond.

1. Start Your Job Search Early

Start your job search as early as possible.

Start early because employers may be taking a long time to offer positions and getting a head start may give you an advantage against later applicants.

Start early because many employers may simply not be hiring due to the current economic downturn. Therefore, an early start gives you more time to get a position.

Start early to give yourself more time to adapt to the virtual landscape. Remote networking and interviewing will require a lot of effort on your end. You may need to create remote networking opportunities for yourself as opposed to attending in-person events. Additionally, remote work has opened the doors for students to apply for jobs all over, therefore, this may open the door to more remote interviews. Give yourself time to navigate this.

2. Do Your Research

Ensure that you research the employers that you are interested in working for. Look into how they have adjusted during this time.

Is this employer still hiring summer associates? There is a possibility that some employers may cut back on their regular summer program to cut costs.

Is this employer allowing remote or in-person work? Although many employers have shifted to a remote landscape, some may still require that you work in the office. Consider whether this is something that you are comfortable with.

Be sure to connect with your career advisor. In addition to helping you find opportunities; your advisor may be able to also help you determine how an employer’s policies have shifted during the pandemic. You may also want to look for outside help during this time.

3. Broaden Your Search

Broaden your search beyond your initial expectations for your job location and practice area. Being flexible may be difficult, but it may be necessary for this new landscape.

If you were initially tied to working in a specific state, consider other locations, especially if the job will be remote. Remember that as a summer worker you do not need to be licensed in a state, therefore you have the flexibility to work essentially anywhere.

If you are a 2L concerned about how such a shift may impact your future employment, that is valid. However, I would recommend working with your career advisor to find employers that are based in several states. This may make it easier for you to commit to a location long term if you are given an offer at the end of the summer.

Also, broaden your practice areas of interest. Don’t limit yourself by only applying to jobs in one specific practice area. Be sure to expand your interests and consider areas that have continued to thrive since the pandemic, i.e. employment law, bankruptcy law, healthcare law, etc.

4. Do Virtual Networking

Although you have probably heard this on repeat since the start of the pandemic, virtual networking is a must-do for your summer job search. I recommend attending virtual networking events but also taking the extra step to create remote networking opportunities for yourself.

Creating these opportunities may require you to do some LinkedIn searches to find people already working for your employers of interest, or in your practice areas of interest. You can then connect with these people on LinkedIn or via email to schedule a phone call or even an online chat to learn from these individuals and possibly open the door to future employment.

Now, I do understand that some individuals that you reach out to may have not have adjusted to the online landscape. If so, this might require you to meet them where they are. This could mean trying to get their work number to give them a call and it may even mean scheduling a one on one in-person meeting if you are both comfortable with this and maintain CDC COVID guidelines. Just ensure that you don’t give up on networking with others if you receive no response even after several attempts to connect.

5. Prepare for Virtual Interviews

Finally, ensure that you are prepared for virtual interviews. If you have not yet completed a virtual interview this is quite a peculiar activity that can intensify the general angst that an interview can cause. However, successfully navigating this new landscape will require that you understand how to get through these interviews.

A successful interview will require that you practice beforehand. Complete a mock interview with your career advisor or career coach to get some professional feedback and also get used to answering questions through this medium.

A successful interview also requires that you make sure your WIFI and computer are working and up to date. Although you cannot control an outage, do your best to prevent this. You should also ensure that you are ready to quickly switch mediums if an outage occurs. So, have a call-in number on standby or have your phone or tablet queued up with the meeting link so that you can access it through another portal.

A successful interview may also require you to stand out even if you’re not face to face. As I mentioned earlier, the legal industry can be a bit old school in some respects. Therefore, don’t be surprised if you have to complete a phone interview. Be just as prepared as you would for a video call and ensure that your confidence and brilliance still stand out.

I wish you the best of luck in your summer 2021 job search!


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About Christen Morgan

Christen Morgan graduated magna cum laude from the University of Tampa where she received her B.S. in Criminology. She earned her J.D. from Emory Law School where she competed and served as an executive board member for the Emory Law Moot Court Society. Christen also served as a student representative for LexisNexis and also as a mentor for several 1L students offering them advice and a variety of resources to help them through their law school journey.

Christen previously practiced as a Foreclosure Attorney for a Real Estate law firm but has since then transitioned into a Real Estate Specialist role at a wireless infrastructure company.

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