7 Top Qualities Firms Look for When Hiring Young Lawyers
If you're a law student or a recent grad, the job hunt can be daunting. Sure, you've got your legal smarts. You can go head to head on civil procedure with the best of them. You were at the top of your class on complex litigation. (Or, if not top, you at least passed.)
But do you have the qualities (besides just a J.D. behind your name) that law firms or prospective clients are looking for when hiring new lawyers?
When you're looking for jobs, you might stumble across career advice that's focused on practical skills. Certainly, legal knowledge and research skills are important. But studies have shown that most prospective employers are interested in so-called "soft skills," like your work ethic, sense of responsibility, and positive, independent attitude.
Whether you're going after BigLaw or looking to hang your own shingle, you'll need to be appealing to clients. And when it comes to getting savvy clients, the kind who will bring business for years, you'll want to focus on qualities like your experience, availability, and rapport.
Every firm wants to hire the law school grad with the stellar GPA and federal clerkship. That's not you. But don't worry, you can still get a legal job if you weren't a law school star. With some hard work, you can even get the dream job that brought you to law school in the first place.
Now, most firms wouldn't turn away an applicant with a J.D. from Harvard Law. But, this New York firm's "no Ivies" rule reminds us that some employers care more about personality than pedigree. And, according, Adam Leitman Bailey, who runs a New York real estate law firm, graduating from a non-Ivy gives students the "grit, determination, and talent" to become great lawyers.
Could accounting be the key to being a "practice ready" grad? Some law schools think so, and they're giving students a boot camp on the basics of accounting. Besides numbers, that includes exposure to teamwork, business strategy, and other corporate fundamentals.
Should you sprechen some Español between your classes on études de droit? Yes, you should. Picking up a second language can set you apart from the rest of the legal field, opening new opportunities both at home and internationally.
Law firms love a good negotiator. So, when you get an offer, show them they made the right choice. Here's how.
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