Making Moves in Today’s Job Market

Making Moves in Today’s Job MarketThis week we welcome back guest writer Zoila Sanchez to talk about navigating the current job market.

The prospects around the legal job market may seem discouraging and even confusing.

On a daily basis, we are hit with ever-changing news about the economy and the job market. Currently, there appears to be uncertainty around a recession. Specifically, we are hearing that the nation is headed toward a recession, and other sources indicating that we are already in a recession.

This understandably leaves concerns for the class of 2023, and for current JD job-seekers as employers are likely faced with limiting their demand to protect their costs in the face of recession discussions, and inflation.

Regardless of job market predictions and prospects, it is always a good idea to make daily progress by:

  • remaining hopeful
  • exercising your networks; and
  • thinking outside of the box

Remain Hopeful

Remaining hopeful will help you to keep perspective in the face of discouraging news. You may need to have a few disappointments before you land the right fit.

Take it from the Class of 2021. Despite the rough job market that the class of 2021 graduated into during a pandemic, they are now seeing success. In fact, this trend may be attributed to the work that has been generated as a result of the pandemic. For example, Covid-19 related legal issues such as shutdowns of businesses increased transactional work for firms. As a result, there was an increased demand for entry-level positions and JD non-attorney roles. This is an example of focusing on positive news about the legal field in the face of bad news—which always seems to outweigh the good.

Exercise your Networks

Remember to touch base with mentors and professors that you made connections with during law school. I have personally leaned on mentors when I was uncertain about a job move or when I didn’t pass the bar exam.

Speaking to them reminded me that:

  • The legal world is small, and they may know of an opportunity or of someone that can help you move forward. For example, it may not be a job but perhaps they could help you with your cover letter, update your writing sample, and serve as a reference.
  • Reaching out can also provide helpful wisdom. I remember bringing my job market worries to my professor. He reflected on how his 2007 – 2010 graduates also faced similar uncertainties, and shared stories of how they bounced back. Specifically, I was down and out about graduating into a pandemic in 2020. He reminded me how to use Covid-related setbacks as an advantage and asset—highlighting to employers the resiliency it takes to swiftly adjust to overnight disruptions, and make opportunities out of challenges.
  • Your mentors are happy to simply hear from you, and you don’t need to wait to have major or positive updates to share. I have experienced firsthand the shame of not wanting to share with my mentors that I was having a rough time, but they helped me get through it and remember my potential.
Think Outside the box


Work on a strategy to become a stronger job applicant. For example, you can focus on professional development opportunities such as preparing now for the interviews you are anticipating.

Professional development is always helpful because such opportunities can give you skills for the field.

Ideas may include:

  • Sharpening interviewing skills with a podcast
  • joining a local bar association workgroup
  • attending a legal conference
  • looking into obtaining a certificate
  • furthering your education

With respect to the last point on more education—you may be thinking, yikes, more school? Sounds awful to me too.

Ask yourself, considering what you want to do, is it necessary and helpful? Going for an LLM, or Masters of Laws may be helpful depending on your legal interests. For example, if you are interested in tax law, many positions require a JD and may prefer the LLM in Tax Law.

When it comes to deciding whether you should go for another program, also consider how to make this a cost-effective option. For example, if you are interested in working for the federal government, there are programs that will cover a percentage, if not all, additional education. A firm may see the benefits of you pursing additional education and may cover the costs as well. Be sure to consider these cost-saving options if they’re of interest.

With respect to obtaining a certificate, there may be one that is preferred for your specific area of interest. Take, for example, health care law. There are certificate programs for health care compliance available, which JDs generally pursue.

Making Moves

Focus on making a little baby step of progress each day to land the job. Remember to be patient and mindful throughout the process. Moving intentionally and even slowly allows you to make purposeful decisions and not just hop into the next opportunity without thinking through if it is going to get you to your goals. It is ok to be selective, and it is ok for things to not happen overnight. Soon you will be giving advice to others on how you made it to the other side!


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About Zoila Sanchez

During law school, she served as a Legal Clerk with the federal government at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Counsel to the Inspector General in Washington, DC. Currently, she works for a health and business law firm. She enjoys spending down time mentoring students sitting for the bar exam through the American Bar Association Council on Legal Education Opportunity program and taking it easy with her three poodles.

Ms. Sanchez holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Stony Brook University, a Master of Public Health from the University of Arizona and Juris Doctor from Hofstra University.

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