How To Find The Area Of Law That’s Right For You

How To Find The Area Of Law That’s Right For YouThis week we welcome back guest writer Hillary Vaillancourt to talk about finding the right fit in a legal practice area.

I am one of those people. You know the kind, the kind that can’t try a new recipe without posting a picture on social media with a lengthy write-up about how the food was prepared, where, and why. The kind that will go to a restaurant and snap copious amounts of pictures of the meal before finally sticking a fork in it. The kind that leaves a #foodie on post after post. I proudly grocery shop like a tourist in a new city. I love scanning the shelves every week for some new product, some new, exotic ingredient I can use to bring my culinary creations to a higher level of deliciousness.

In fact, I love food so much, during my first year of law school I considered leaving to go to culinary school. A fellow classmate did just that and became a pastry chef, and to be honest, I have always been a bit jealous of her path.

I did finish law school, but when it came time for me to decide where I wanted my own career to go, I wasn’t as sure as I thought I was when I first decided to get a law degree. I knew I wanted to help people. I wanted to do something altruistic. I thought I would go to Washington, D.C. and lobby for a nonprofit. But, I wasn’t quite sure what specific road to take after law school.

If you’re unsure of your career path, or what area of law is right for you, here are a few tips for you to find your way.

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Young Lawyer Perspective – My First Year Practicing In Review

Young Lawyer Perspective - My First Year Practicing In ReviewThis week we welcome back guest writer Shirlene Brown to talk about her first year as a practicing lawyer!

That’s right, I have officially been a licensed attorney for over a year now! Holy cow! It honestly seems like a dream. I am an attorney at a small-medium law firm that specializes in personal injury. Although I have been a lawyer for just over a year, I actually started at the firm in my first year of law school as a law clerk/paralegal. Once I passed the bar and was sworn in, I became my firm’s youngest and least experienced lawyer. Thus, the baby attorney was born! Now that I have hit my first lawyer-versary (I’m coining the phrase), I have been reflecting back on the year and the experience and skills I have developed. Thus, here is my first year of practice in review. [Read more…]

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.

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What to Expect When You’ve Landed a Clerkship with the Public Defender’s Office

What to Expect When You’ve Landed a Clerkship with the Public Defender’s OfficeThis week we welcome back guest writer Raneta Mack to talk about what to expect with a position at the public defender’s office.

If you’re like many students, you entered law school not quite knowing how you might use your law degree and perhaps thinking that you wanted to somehow make a difference. Your first year classes are designed to provide you with a strong legal foundation across a broad area of interests. In many instances, these classes help students discover their passion.

For example, Criminal Law, a required course in most law schools, takes you through the workings of the criminal justice system, focusing on crimes, mental states and defenses. While taking this class, many students realize for the first time that a career as a public defender might fulfill their desire to make a difference while also engaging in very challenging legal work. These students often take a further leap into this area by applying for summer clerkships with public defender offices to see if this is where they’d like to launch their legal career. Once the job offer comes in, there is the usual excitement about a new job opportunity, but there may also be some doubt. Doubt? Read on. [Read more…]

How To Practice Law As A New Mom

How To Practice Law As A New Mom

This week we welcome guest writer Hillary Vaillancourt to talk about balancing a law career and a new baby.

As a new attorney starting out, I had gone straight from undergrad to law school to private practice. I was in my early 20’s, single, and willing and eager to work as much as possible. 

I happily put in long hours at the office including weekends and on holidays. I enjoyed my work and the feeling of being needed by clients and my boss. 

After a six-year break in practicing law, I got back into the industry. This time, I was sworn in to the New York Bar on my son’s second birthday with my husband by my side. Needless to say, my day-to-day life is extremely different this time around now that I’m married and have a child (and one on the way!). 

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Alternative Careers: Career Clerkships

Alternative Careers: Career ClerkshipsThis week we welcome guest writer Tina Arroyo to talk about her transition from law firm life to being a career clerk and why this career path works for her.

After years of legal practice, like almost every woman I know in the legal profession, I found myself searching for that ever so elusive work-life balance. And I found it in a place that you often do not hear about in law school – in a career clerkship.

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Three Tips For Networking During The Pandemic

This week we welcome back guest writer Hillary Vaillancourt, to talk about how you can still work on your networking skills, even when you’re stuck at home during COVID-19.

Most of us know how important networking is, particularly when you’re in law school and aspiring to a legal career. Having good grades and published law journal articles will absolutely make a difference in your job prospects. But, having quality connections is a significant advantage.

If you are looking to get hired by a firm, agency, nonprofit, or other employer, having connections may help you learn of unposted job openings. Your connections may provide meaningful letters of recommendation. Your connections who are “in the know” may help steer you away from employers from whom you wouldn’t want to work. Or, they may help you and mentor you even after you get hired. [Read more…]

How To Practice Law Virtually

How to Practice Law VirtuallyThis week we welcome back guest writer Hillary Vaillancourt to talk about how you can achieve success as a lawyer with a virtual practice.

I once worked for a law office (very briefly) where when I spent an evening in the ER, sick, pregnant, and absolutely miserable, I offered to work from home. One of the managing attorneys told me that it was impossible for a new attorney to work remotely and grow as an attorney.

Well, since the Coronavirus pandemic shut down law offices in several states, lots of firms are finding out that it is not only possible but sometimes advantageous to have attorneys work from home. Yes, there are special considerations.

After that job didn’t pan out, I started my own virtual law practice. Here are some things to consider if you, too, would like to strike out on your own, virtually speaking.

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How Coronavirus Uncertainty Is Good Practice For Working In Law

How Coronavirus Uncertainty Is Good Practice For Working In LawThis week we welcome back guest writer Hillary Vaillancourt to talk about lessons learned during COVID-19 and how these are useful to practicing law!

The last few months have certainly presented numerous challenges for law students and legal professionals alike. With many firms closed, others still considered essential, and still more in a gray area trying to figure out where they stand, the legal profession has been significantly impacted (like other industries) by the Coronavirus pandemic.

I’ll admit, when the pandemic hit, and my state (New York) closed all court houses, I was nervous to say the least. My law practice in New York was only a few weeks old, and suddenly I couldn’t go to court for any of my clients or pursue the court appointed work I expected I could complete to make ends meet.

However, as the weeks went by, I learned how to adapt my law practice in ways I never anticipated. The result was a much stronger practice, a much more confident attorney, and a happier lifestyle all around. Here are a few lessons I learned about practicing law in a pandemic.

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A Stranger in a Strange Land: Taking the Leap from Small Firm to Government Attorney

A Stranger in a Strange Land: Taking the Leap from Small Firm to Government AttorneyThis week we welcome back guest writer Mark Livingston to talk about making the move from practicing law at a small firm to becoming a government attorney.

I was a later-in-life entrant to law school. At 40 years old, I had already built a strong resume and worked in many good jobs, mostly in the public sector, when I started law school. I never set out to work for the government, per se, it just turned out that way. Fast forward many years and many satisfying government jobs at both the state and local levels, and I, unlike most of my law school colleagues, anticipated working for the government after passing the bar exam. I sought out and secured clerkships at the state and local levels while in law school, and even did two semesters at a county prosecutor’s office. Unfortunately, you may not have as many options, post bar exam, as you would have hoped for, and you may land in a totally different place than you expected. This is the story of making the transition from a small family law firm to a job as a government attorney. [Read more…]