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NALP Conference Takeaways (Part I): What Does It Take To Be A Great Lawyer?

NALP Conference Takeaways (Part I): What Does It Take To Be A Great Lawyer?

You may have heard that Angela and I were in Seattle last week for our annual NALP Conference, a gathering of law school career office staff as well as law firm recruiting staff. It was filled with educational programming, some of which we will certainly figure out how to implement at Baylor in the near future. We also received updates and predictions regarding the legal market and industry as a whole. I won’t try to cram everything into this one post, but will spread the material out over several posts in the coming weeks. With that said, let’s get to it.

We began by hearing from Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith. He emphasized the importance of four key skills you must have to be a great lawyer: thinking, writing, speaking and listening. As I thought about those four, it was the listening component I wondered the most about. We obviously spend a great deal of time training you in the other three, but the fourth is a bit more difficult to address in curriculum. It’s almost something you have to consciously practice as you go about your everyday studies and life. Although, Client Counseling and ADR are two courses I took here which certainly provided listening instruction.

Mr. Smith also had some interesting advice regarding where you should look for your first job. He said to go where you’re “going to get the best training.” Now, as I thought about that it occurred to me that each of you probably excels when being trained in different ways. So I don’t think this tip means to simply go where there is the most structured, funded and robust training program. I think it means figure out how you learn best, and then go work for an employer which teaches/trains their new lawyers that way.

Finally, I thought it was interesting what Mr. Smith believes it takes to be a successful lawyer at Microsoft. Earlier we discussed his opinion about being a great lawyer generally. Here, however, he cites six “competencies” he believes are crucial for someone to be great at Microsoft. They are: 1) law, 2) business, 3) technology, 4) government relations, 5) public relations and 6) global.

Notice that being great at the law is just one of six competencies he believes is necessary to succeed as a lawyer at Microsoft. What can you learn from that? As we’ve said many times, getting that first job is often not only about your ability to do well on a law school exam (or even the Bar Exam). It is about your ability to communicate with partners and clients, to understand the client’s business and goals, to build relationships with other lawyers, judges and leaders, and to work well with other people. Not only are these important in getting your first job, Mr. Smith stresses they will be important in having a successful career as well. Regardless of what your ultimate career goals are, you will be limited if the only thing you can do is practice law. So begin now, while you’re in law school, to develop all the other skills which go into making a great lawyer. You’ll be better off both now and in the future!

Connect with Daniel at and/or @BaylorLawDaniel on Twitter.

Job of the Week: Each week I highlight a job in Symplicity you might be interested in but may have missed. This week's job is: Part-time Law Clerk with McGirr Law, P.C. in Cedar Park, TX (3L, recent grad) Log in to Symplicity to view this job and apply.

But What Does The Firm Really Do?

But What Does The Firm Really Do?

You may have run across a law firm which lists, in its practice areas, something you’re very interested in. That fact led you to reach out to that firm, bid for them during OCI or simply include the firm on your list of potential targets for employment. But what if the firm doesn’t really do that type of work? How could that happen? Should you have known? Let’s discuss it.

We encourage all of you to do as much research on potential employers as possible. This is so you can spend time pursuing those you would really want to work for, and also to assist you in presenting well both on paper (e.g. in a cover letter) and in an interview. Let’s say you’re doing that. You’ve gone out to a firm’s website and found that they have about 50 lawyers, and list labor and employment as a practice area. You are fascinated with labor and employment and are excited to make this discovery. So what next? Apply? Bid? Perhaps, but not so fast.

See, sometimes a firm will have an attorney or two who can handle labor and employment matters, but it really isn’t the type of case they generally do or pursue. Therefore when they look to hire, they won’t see a good fit with someone who primarily wants to work in that area.

Another way this can happen is if a firm handled a labor and employment matter several years ago, but hasn’t had one since. They may reference the practice area on their promotional materials but really don’t have any work of that type to justify bringing on a new lawyer.

Finally, some firms are merely trying to break into a particular practice area, and list it in their materials to drive new business. Similar to the previous example, they will likely not have work to give a new associate in that practice area.

How are you supposed to know these things? Most of the time, doing a little deeper research will confirm whether the current lawyers at the firm are actually doing work in the practice area you’re interested in. Check for announcements or news clips on their website or the web generally, which link the firm to the practice area. Go into each attorney’s biography and see how many list your practice area. Within that group, see how many of their biographies are weighted toward your practice area. Several attorneys who are board certified in your practice area would be a good sign. You can also check to see if the firm you’re curious about is one I have visited, and come by to see what notes I may have on them.

If after all that you’re unable to connect the firm to your desired practice area, it is likely they aren’t doing it enough to bring someone on. Having said that, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t apply, bid or reach out. It simply means you are now well informed and well prepared to discuss your desires and intentions with them, assuming you decide to keep the firm on your list.

Let’s talk through how you might handle one of the prior examples. What if a firm only has one attorney doing the type of law you’re really interested in (A), but is also doing other types of law (B) you could see yourself doing as well? In that case, you could convey how much you would like to work for the firm, have interest in practice area (B), and also would love the chance to help out when appropriate in (A).

You can play out the other examples based off of that one I think. The important point here is to go a bit deeper in your research before writing a cover letter, and for sure before an interview. You don’t want to go all in with a practice area the firm doesn’t have or do much of. And you can really stand out if you are able to show you’ve done your homework and know how your interest and their needs line up.

Connect with Daniel at and/or @BaylorLawDaniel on Twitter.

Job of the Week: Each week I highlight a job in Symplicity you might be interested in but may have missed. This week's job is: Law Clerks with the Office of the Attorney General - Consumer Protection Division in Dallas (1L, 2L, 3L, law clerk) Log in to Symplicity to view this job and apply.

Three Tips For Better Interviews

Three Tips For Better Interviews

OCI meetings are this week (April 1 or 2, required to participate in Fall OCI), and, with the summer in between, the interview season will be here before you know it. Preparing for interviews can be tough and confusing, so I thought it might be helpful to give you some overall comments regarding what I’ve seen in the mock interviews I’ve conducted over the past few months.

As a reminder, each Monday between 2pm and 4pm you can sign up via Symplicity to participate in a mock interview. I also make appointments via email for those unavailable during that time. I’ve interviewed about a dozen of you in the past few months, and here are some common issues that come up:

  1. Have the “Tell me about yourself” answer ready to go. In most interviews you will get some type or form of this question, so you should have the answer. It’s one you want to have memorized similar to an opening statement; it should be fluid and clean without sounding rehearsed. Most answer this question chronologically, which is fine (though you could potentially stand out if you approached it differently). Although, I’ve also noticed many students beginning this answer with their law school career or perhaps undergraduate school, without mentioning where they are from and the first 18 years of their life. I then ask more questions which bring out fantastic details about their lives, education and careers that should have been included in the original answer. You may not get those follow up questions, and if not, a huge opportunity has just passed you by. Finally, many employers put a premium on where students are from, so you want to address that appropriately in your first answer.

  2. Project confidence. There’s a balance to how you want to come across in an interview; being confident without seeming arrogant is sometimes tricky to do. However my feeling based on employer feedback and my own mock interviews is that as a group you are not confident enough in interviews. If employers don’t think you can do the work (and if you don’t project to them you believe it yourself, why should they?), they’re never going to get to the next step of does the personality (i.e. perhaps arrogance) fit in okay with our firm. My encouragement to you is interview confident you can do the work they will ask you to do, or quickly learn anything you don’t know yet. If we start hearing and seeing candidates aren’t getting offers because they are too confident/arrogant, we’ll swing you back the other direction. The only caveat is this: it’s still a tough market and employers have the upper hand. So don’t mistake my advice as you should be unreasonable in salary demands, etc. I’m limiting this to your capabilities as a lawyer.

  3. Have several quality questions of your own for the interviewers. Josh White from Haley & Olson mentioned this when he did our interview workshop earlier this year. He said near the end of an interview he asked a candidate if he had any questions for him, and the candidate said “no I think you’ve answered everything.” That didn’t impress Josh and that was the end of the interview, and the candidacy. The key is to have several substantive questions which get the interviewer talking about themselves or the firm. These should be questions you couldn’t have learned from reading their website or job posting, so be sure to have gone through all of that when preparing questions. You can have a process question as well, such as “when do you think you might make a decision?” However the ratio of substantive to process questions should probably be two or three to one.
    Once the OCI meetings conclude this week, please don’t forget about interview preparation over the summer. It will be here before you know it, and the most prepared will be in a much better position to secure a position. As always please feel free to stop by or email to ask any questions you might have.

Connect with Daniel at and/or @BaylorLawDaniel on Twitter.

Job of the Week: Each week I highlight a job in Symplicity you might be interested in but may have missed. This week's job is: Entry-Level Title Examination Position with Three Pointe Land & Title in Plano (3L, Recent Grad) Log in to Symplicity to view this job and apply.

How Can March Madness Help You In Your Job Search?

How Can March Madness Help You In Your Job Search?

This time of year, it seems everyone gets to write about their blog topic by weaving in analogies or themes from the NCAA Tournament. I figured it I could get away with it too!
So what can you learn about the job search from March Madness? Simple: anything can happen. What does that mean and how should you respond? Well for today it means that even if you have a job-search strategy, a 2L clerkship that typically leads to a full-time job, something could change that is completely unexpected—an upset of sorts.

Upsets are what the tournament is made of, and this year has already delivered. #12 seeds Harvard and North Dakota State took down #5 seeds Cincinnati and Oklahoma yesterday. And as I write this, #14 seed Mercer just finished off #3 seed Duke in the largest upset of the tournament so far.

According to statistical guru Nate Silver of, Harvard had a 42% chance of winning its game; NDSU had a 36% chance, and Mercer had just a 7% chance. Those are small odds. Now think about the odds that all three results occurred! (1%) But it happened. (You can see his updated odds going into the Sweet 16 round here.)

How in the world does this apply to your job search you say? Perhaps you change your mind with regard to practice area or geography. Perhaps the firm you’re clerking for this summer isn’t able to make full-time offers to their summer clerks. What can you do today to prepare and be ready when the buzzer-beating upset occurs?

I suggest you plan to attend the On-Campus Interviews meeting April 1st or 2nd. The meeting is required for anyone who wants to participate in Fall On-Campus Interviews in August and October, and everyone should plan to participate.

Each year we have students whose situations change along the lines of what I mentioned above. Inevitably it happens after the April OCI meetings and before OCI in August, and the student will want to participate. Unfortunately we are not able to accommodate at that time, and the student is understandably upset and frustrated. Don’t let this happen to you!

Attend the meeting so that you can have the OCI option open for you all the way up until the registration deadline in July. I have written before on this blog what little sense it makes for OCI participants to use only a few bids and narrow their options so early in the process. The same applies here. Why limit your options by excluding your opportunity to participate in OCI? It’s the only time during the year when a large number of employers, clerkships or jobs in hand, come to you!

The fate of Cincinnati, Oklahoma and Duke was unlikely, however similar results occur every single year. It’s why America loves March Madness. When you lose in the NCAA Tournament, there is no other option. You’re sent to the airport that same day to go home. Fortunately for you, if something happens in your world there are alternatives such as OCI, if you were wise enough to attend the required meeting!

Connect with Daniel at and/or @BaylorLawDaniel on Twitter.

Job of the Week: Each week I highlight a job in Symplicity you might be interested in but may have missed. This week's job is: Law Clerk - Summer Intern(1L, 2L) with The University of Texas - Dallas (Richardson) Log in to Symplicity to view this job and apply.

No, Really

No, Really

I know you hear a lot from people, usually older, giving you advice or even telling you what to do. Perhaps it’s your parents, faculty, whoever is popular in entertainment, and, yes, even the staff here in the CDO.

I’m sure it can start to sound like a bunch of noise at some point, to which the temptation might be to simply roll your eyes or even tune out. I was no different at your stage in life, and to those still giving me advice they may think I’m no different now!

However, there are some things I have seen lately that are so vital to the success or failure of your job search and career strategy that I felt the need to re-emphasize them today. No, really. Here they are:
  1. Get a plan and work the plan. We recently had a May 2013 grad get a fantastic job, one that she probably could only have dreamed about during her time in law school, and certainly thought was out of reach nine months after graduation. But she had a plan and she worked it every day from early on until accepting that job. It wasn’t easy. It didn’t come quick. There were applications and silence, interviews and silence, and interviews and rejections. But she plowed ahead to the next opportunity and kept working her plan. Getting a plan and working it with focus, persistence and patience paid off for this graduate, and it can for you too. No, really.

  2. Bragging on social media about a buzzed drive home from the bar is not helpful in your job search. Did this really happen you ask? Yes. Did it have a direct impact on the person’s job search? Who knows? And does it matter? If I’m an employer who is about to invest tens of thousands of dollars in someone each year and trust them in a business with my name on the door, am I hiring that person? Incidentally, just two weeks ago I visited with an employer in San Antonio who asks every candidate he’s thinking of hiring to submit to him the link to their Facebook page. And he’s not the only one. You’ve heard us talk about using social media as a tool to market and brand yourself professionally and cleaning up the personal side. Do it today! No, really.

  3. Zero: the number of students out of 70+ who attended a recent CDO program and responded to the speaker’s invitation to connect with him. I met with him recently in Dallas and he is genuinely disappointed. He is willing to take you out to lunch, answer any questions and introduce you to others in his office and in town (this is the invitation he made at the program and which stands today). We talk about the importance of building a professional network and how our programs can be a springboard for that, but just attending and listening isn’t enough. You must introduce yourself, send a thank you note, respond to invitations or initiate your own if your network is ever going to grow and be helpful. No, really. (By the way, to anyone who is interested in reaching out to the speaker I mentioned, come by or shoot me an email. And, yes, this is something of an experiment to see who will do it!)

I truly hope this doesn’t go into the white noise category, and that you take something away you can learn from and apply. I’m convinced if you address just these three points and nothing else, it will dramatically improve your chances of getting a job and getting it sooner rather than later. No, really.

Connect with Daniel and/or @BaylorLawDaniel on Twitter.

Job of the Week: Each week I highlight a job in Symplicity you might be interested in but may have missed. This week's job is: Summer 2014 Appellate Law Clerk with Travis County Attorney's Office in Austin (1L, 2L, 3L) Log in to Symplicity to view this job and apply.

Spring Break Reminders

Spring Break Reminders

This will be an abbreviated post and will take the place of the usual Monday version due to Spring Break.

I wanted to remind you to take advantage of holidays and breaks such as Spring Break to connect with people in your area of career interest. This may be a great opportunity to take someone to lunch, do an informational interview or just send some emails or hand-written notes.

I also wanted to remind those of you who interviewed this week during OCI not to forget to send thank you notes to the employers. We still have some thank you notes in the CDO if you need them.

Finally I wanted to remind you of our upcoming programs that begin almost immediately when you return from break:

    March 25, 5:30pm - the first program in our Summer Survival Series: Business Etiquette Dinner.

    April 1, 3:30pm OR April 2, 3:30pm - Fall On-Campus Interview Meeting (required for all who wish to interview, which should be all of you!).

Have a fun and safe Spring Break!

Connect with Daniel at and/or @BaylorLawDaniel on Twitter.

What You Missed Last Week – Interviewing Skills Workshop and Dress to Impress

What You Missed Last Week – Interviewing Skills Workshop and Dress to Impress

We had two fantastic programs last week focused on interviewing skills and how to dress professionally; this post will focus on the interviewing program. If you were in attendance this will be something of a summary, but I’ll also include my own thoughts. So, keep reading!

The interview program consisted of an actual mock interview, conducted by special guest attorneys Mary Dietz (Cox Smith), Karen Burgess (Richardson + Burgess) and Josh White (Haley & Olson). They interviewed two brave students, Brian Aslin and Aynsley Young.

Ms. Dietz and Ms. Burgess interviewed Brian from more of a big firm perspective, and Mr. White interviewed Aynsley from more of a small/mid-size/local firm perspective.

Here are my thoughts from the interview and the discussion afterward:

  1. Each interviewer mentioned eye contact and posture, something that is very important and helps create a good first impression (or can hurt you by creating a bad impression).

  2. It is important to think deeper about the type of law you think you might like to practice, particularly if you’re interested in litigation. Ms. Dietz drilled down on Brian quite a bit to get him to talk about what type of litigation in which he was interested. He discussed oil & gas and a few others. This is an issue that was raised from several employers during last fall’s OCI, and it’s something you should think about before you interview. I would add for many mid/large firms, a litigation associate is not going to be taking depositions or going into the courtroom any time soon, so a candidate wanting to be in the courtroom should keep that in mind when answering these questions. The employer needs to know you won’t become discouraged or unhappy if you’re not in the courtroom in the first year, two or three.

  3. Have everything with you in the interview. Ms. Burgess asked Brian for a writing sample during the mock interview. Even if the employer didn’t ask for it in the posting, bring with you a resume, transcript and writing sample. You may not need any of them, but how prepared will you look if they ask you for one of those and you’re able to hand it right over.

  4. Keep geography in mind. Mr. White asked several subtle and not-so-subtle questions trying to get at whether Aynsley would be a good fit in Waco, and would she be happy there. Employers generally don’t want to hear you’re “open” when it comes to geography. You need to make an affirmative case as to why you’re interested in the city the employer is located. If a firm is interviewing for multiple locations, you can say you would like to be considered for more than one location, but still need to give reasons why you’d be interested in each location.

  5. Be sure to have intelligent questions to ask the employer. Each employer in the mock interview asked whether the candidate had any questions for them, and each said afterwards that is a critical component of the interview. Mr. White told a story of a candidate who when asked if he had any questions said no, and that was the end of the interview. Employers want to see you have an interest in them, have done some basic research on them, and are curious about what it’s like to work with them.

  6. Give a lot of thought to the “weakness” question. There was some discussion after the mock interview about how best to answer this, and there wasn’t a consensus even among the panel. My advice falls most in line with what Ms. Burgess called “weakness-lite.” It needs to be a true weakness, but not something that is cause for great concern. You also need to follow it up with what you have done or are doing to address the weakness, and provide examples of how that has helped.

If you were at the event, what did you take away from it? What questions do you have?

Remember that I offer mock interviews every Monday afternoon (or any other day/time as necessary) where we can work out these and other issues. You can make an appointment through Symplicity.

To those who were there we appreciate your attendance, and for those who weren’t I hope this gives you some insight into what you missed. We look forward to seeing you at our next program on March 25, the first program in our Summer Survival Series: Business Etiquette Dinner.

Connect with Daniel and/or @BaylorLawDaniel on Twitter.

Job of the Week: Each week I highlight a job in Symplicity you might be interested in but may have missed. This week's job is: 2014 Summer Judicial Internship Program with the Thirteenth District Court of Appeals in Corpus Christi (1L, 2L, 3L) Log in to Symplicity to view this job and apply.



Q: How many employers participated in Spring OCI and how many should we anticipate will participate in fall?

A: We had 22 employers register to participate this spring, which is slightly more than last year and quite a bit more than we have typically had in past years. Something to keep in mind is that not all 22 will be recruiting for all class years. We have some recruiting just 3Ls and recent grads, some recruiting just 2Ls, etc. Regarding fall, we typically have 60+ employers participate, and work to grow that number each year. We won't have a good idea of the actual numbers for this fall until later in the summer.

Q: I have heard that only about 25% of students get their jobs through OCI. Is that correct? If so, how do the remaining 75% get their jobs?

A: You are pretty close in your numbers, and that isn't limited to Baylor but at a majority of law schools nation-wide. I think the way to think about this is that the CDO will provide you with a variety of tools and opportunities to help you find a job. OCI is a convenient, almost luxurious way to get your job, and if that works out for you then fantastic! For the large majority of students, as you note, the job won't come through OCI. So those students will really need to take advantage of the other tools and opportunities we provide which, in contrast to OCI, are not as convenient or luxurious. Here are some examples:
  1. Job Fairs. There are several job fairs that take place around the state and country each year which you should consider participating in. These are probably the next closest thing to OCI because they bring a group of employers together and you can get multiple contacts and interviews in a compressed amount of time. One thing to keep in mind is job fairs tend to be focused on a geographic area (e.g. The Valley) or practice area (e.g. Public Interest).

  2. Job Postings. Symplicity currently has 25 postings for entry level attorneys, 23 for 3Ls, 27 for 2Ls and 19 for 1Ls. That's a total of 94 positions which I'd say is a pretty good representation of a typical day's number.

  3. Counseling (Strategy Session, Resume/Cover Letter Review, Mock Interviews). Our office offers a variety of counseling services to assist you throughout your job search journey. Sometimes the hardest thing is just getting started, and the process can seem overwhelming. I encourage you to please take advantage of strategy sessions to help make the process clear and manageable. If you're going to attend a job fair or apply to a job posting, you shouldn't leave anything to chance. Spend some time with Angela to make sure your cover letter and resume are appropriate and do a great job of presenting who you are to an employer on paper. Then please take advantage of doing a mock interview with me and work out any issues before meeting with the employer.

  4. Programming and Networking. The CDO brings in attorneys from various locations and practice areas for you to both learn from (i.e. hearing the content of their message) and connect with (i.e. add someone to your growing network who you can stay in touch with and may be able to help you down the line). Many jobs are given to those who the employer knows or is familiar with, and these are great opportunities to widen your reach. We also work with the Alumni office to have students attend receptions around the state; please take advantage of these!

  5. Resume Delivery. During Fall OCI we have an "Employer Outreach" program where we identify employers who aren't participating in OCI but are known to hire clerks or young attorneys. Those who participate will have their resumes sent to these employers from the CDO. Also, I personally deliver resumes to employers when I visit them.

Q: When should I begin my job search?

A: We believe your job search starts the day you arrive on campus, and is a three year process. Those waiting until after Practice Court or the third year in general to begin thinking about this are likely going to have a tougher time finding their job. More practically, we suggest you spend two hours per week working on something related to your job search. That could mean, for example, attending one of our programs, going over your cover letter with Professor Kelley-Claybrook or researching potential employers. The job search is a marathon not a sprint, and it starts from day one!

Have a question for the Mailbag?! Send it to: and/or @BaylorLawDaniel on Twitter.

Job of the Week: Each week I highlight a job in Symplicity you might be interested in but may have missed. This week's job is: 2014 Summer Law Clerk with Legal Aid of Northwest Texas in Dallas (pays a stipend) for 2Ls or 3Ls. Log in to Symplicity to view this job and apply.

Fun With Employment Statistics

Having Fun With Employment Statistics

Let's talk about employment statistics. If you have yet to graduate, your exposure to them has primarily been when you researched law schools before applying. If you're a graduate, you've filled out the graduation employment survey as well as perhaps the CDO's employment survey we use to report to the American Bar Association (ABA) and National Association of Law Placement (NALP). That brings us full circle, because it's the ABA and NALP numbers that all of you used in researching law schools before applying.

The ABA and NALP numbers come from us; they are based on information you provide and what we learn from other sources (social media, employers, professors, etc.). Let me say first that we're all for transparency and are confident in the integrity of our reporting. We also fully appreciate the value of the information to prospective students, and believe it's important to communicate it to them. The information (or lack thereof) is also helpful as we continue helping those still seeking employment.

However, career development offices across the country, including ours, do not enjoy this part of the job. Rather than counseling students, visiting employers or providing quality programming, we're spending time investigating your employment situations and collecting data. We view time we're spending on data collection over and above what is absolutely necessary as time we're not spending helping you in your job search, and we see that as harmful.

Not only is it a time waste; it is uncomfortable. We are required to ask you things like how you got the job and how much money you make. What a great way to start a conversation!

Why do I tell you this? Several reasons:

  1. We want you to understand that when the time comes for us to ask for your information, it's not for our personal benefit or even for the law school's, it's for third party regulators and we have no choice.

  2. It's to no one's benefit to take any more time on this than absolutely necessary, so please respond the first time. If you receive an employment survey from us and fail to complete it in its entirety, we are going to have to follow up with you again and again until it's complete. How annoying for all of us! Let's just treat this like a Band-Aid: one motion, right off!

  3. The accuracy of our data depends on you. I assume that each of you relied on the accuracy of the employment data we reported when you were researching law schools. Well, that can only work to the extent graduates provide us with complete and accurate data. So please consider being courteous to prospective Baylor Law students coming after you and afford them the same accurate data you relied upon when choosing to come here. I would also say that it's typically easier to obtain information about higher paying positions than lower, which can skew results if we don't have everyone's data. So please understand we want to include every graduate's information regardless of whether or not you are employed, and regardless of how little or much you might be earning.

Below are a few other things about the collection of employment statistics you should know and consider:

  1. Dates. The CDO collects employment data in the January-March range for all graduates in the prior year, with the exception being those who graduated in November (If you graduate in November we'll be asking for your stats the following January-March).

  2. Your information is kept confidential. We will have your data on file here, but no names are attached to the information we provide the ABA and NALP.

  3. Surveys. There are two surveys: the at-graduation survey that is administered by Jerri Cunningham and the Registrar's office, and the CDO employment survey. You must complete both, so to avoid confusion we don't want you thinking you've already provided everything to us just because you've completed the at-graduation survey.

  4. Time. The CDO survey is online and takes approximately five minutes to complete.

  5. Employers. Some graduates fail to complete the survey because they worry their employer won't approve of them sharing the information. Employers who are members of NALP (typically larger employers but not always) must report their information anyway, so that shouldn't be an issue at all. Those of you at mid-size or small employers should feel free to discuss the situation with your employer, or have one of us talk with them. We're happy to do that and typically are able to relieve any concerns.

  6. How you got your job is irrelevant to the responsibility to submit your data. Sometimes students feel if they got their job on their own, with little to no help from the CDO, that they shouldn't have to report their information. That logic is flawed for two reasons:

    a) Law schools nationwide count every employed student regardless of the involvement of the CDO, so it skews the results when prospective students are comparing law schools; and

    b) There is a place within the employment survey to indicate the "source of the job," where you will share how you got the job.

    I'm a great example of this. Since I was pursuing a job in college athletics rather than law, I conducted my job search independently of the CDO. However I still reported my employment data when asked by the CDO.

Employment statistics can be a great tool for prospective students, and no doubt were useful as you were making your decision of where to attend law school. Our goal is to collect each graduate's employment data, 100% completely and accurately, in as little time as possible. We hope and know you'll help us do that!

If you have any questions about employment statistics please contact me by email and/or @DanielHare on Twitter.

Also, for next week's blog I want to do another "Mailbag" session, where I answer your questions about any topic. So send in your questions!

Job of the Week: Each week I highlight a job in Symplicity you might be interested in but may have missed. This week's job is: In-House Attorney / Law Clerk with First City Financial in Waco. Log in to Symplicity to view this job and apply.

Get The Most Out Of OCI

Get The Most Out Of OCI

It's interview time again and many of you will be asking or wondering (or should be), how do I get the most out OCI? Here are five things you can do:
  1. Get your materials ready. It's a safe bet that employers may ask for your resume, a cover letter, your transcript and a writing sample. These aren't documents which can be thrown together over night, so get started today. Don't be the student (and there are usually several) who has technology issues with their documents the final night of bidding as time is running out. That can all be avoided if you get your documents complete and uploaded well in advance.

  2. Research the employers. Spring OCI is a smaller program (around 10 employers), so you should have no problem at all researching each one. Make sure it's a place you think would be a good fit for you and your goals for the summer (which will or could be different depending on whether you're a 1L/2L/3L). Also research to know the employer inside and out; this will be important for personalizing your cover letter as well as in the interview as we'll discuss.

  3. Bid for as many employers as you can conceivably see yourself working for. Remember that while you're required to interview if selected by the employer, you aren't required to accept their job offer. So why narrow the field too much at the bidding stage?

  4. Prepare for the interview. This includes the research mentioned in (2) above, as well as participating in a mock interview with me. Employers want to know you didn't "spam bid" without regard for who they are or what they do. If you don't learn anything about them beforehand, it's going to be apparent in the interview and likely won't lead to a job offer. More specifically you want to have a few items you can discuss or ask about that are specific to that employer (e.g. a big case they were recently involved in, how their new offices are working out). I went into detail about mock interviews in last week's post, so you can read my thoughts on their value here.

  5. Approach the interview engaged and confident, but not arrogant. A common critique we'll hear from interviewers after OCIs is the students were too reserved or meek. Sometimes this can even be interpreted as disinterested. You really don't want that. I'll observe these issues if you participate in a mock interview, but otherwise just be aware of your confidence level and make sure it isn't too far in either direction.

Remember that Spring OCI is just one in a number of tools to help you in your job search, so don't put too much pressure on yourself to perform or be perfect. Do the little things right before hand, relax, and you'll be just fine. Please let Angela or I know your questions or how we can help.

Contact Daniel by email at or on Twitter@BaylorLawDaniel.

REMINDER: Spring OCI is March 3-7, and the deadline to register is this Wednesday, February 12th. Please see the email from Career_Development from this past Friday for more details or come by the CDO.

JOB OF THE WEEK: Each week I highlight a job in Symplicity you might be interested in but may have missed. This week's job is: Summer 2014 Legal Intern (1L, 2L or 3L) with the Office of General Counsel in the Governor's office in Austin. Log in to Symplicity to view this job and apply.

Return to Employer Updates page

Mock Interviews!

Mock Interviews!

Beginning next Monday, I will offer regular times each week to conduct mock interviews. Our office has offered these in the past in conjunction with Fall OCI, which we will continue to do. However we felt it important to make this service available more regularly, and to a greater number of students and recent graduates. Let's talk a little about mock interviews, what they are and how they can help you.

A mock interview is simply a pretend interview, where I'll ask you questions for about 15 minutes or so and then take about 30 minutes afterward to critique and comment on your answers and overall interview presence.

Why should you take advantage of a mock interview and how can they help you?

  1. You can practice answers to relatively common interview questions, and we can work together to develop the content and delivery of those answers for maximum positive impact.

  2. Like practice court or anything else, you become more confident and more polished with practice. It's no different with interviewing. The more you do it the better you'll become; and it's certainly better to learn and improve in an interview with me than one with an actual job on the line.

  3. Similarly, if you're a few days or weeks away from an actual interview, it's often helpful to get a practice one out of the way just to get the nerves out. Also if you send me the details on the job ahead of time, I will cater the interview to the specific job.

  4. Many students spend a great deal of time and effort on resumes and cover letters and even a decent amount of time researching employers to prepare for the interview (as you should!). However they spend relatively little time practicing for the actual interview. If you're fortunate enough to be given an interview by an employer, this is likely the last opportunity you're going to have to convince them to hire you. Don't leave this to chance by just winging it!

  5. We talk about utilizing our office so we know about you as employers contact us with job opportunities. Utilizing our mock interview service provides a fantastic platform for you to share with us who you are, what your goals are and what opportunities you would be great for.

Beginning Monday, February 10th I will dedicate two hours open each Monday afternoon (from 2pm-4pm) throughout the spring quarter for mock interviewing. You can make an appointment for one of these times through Symplicity. If those times don't work for you, please feel free to email me to set up a time and we'll make sure it happens.

I've had the privilege and opportunity to provide a number of mock interviews to students over the past few months, and believe most have benefited (at least a little!) from the experience. One student recently emailed me to say:
    Thank you again for doing the mock interview with me. I think it really helped me prepare for my interview...I found that the mock interview I had with you was very similar to the interviews with several of the partners...All of the main questions that you told me they would ask, they asked. Particularly what makes me want to live in Houston. I also spent a good amount of time explaining the quarter system, like you said I would. Thank you again.

I hope this is just the beginning and that I have the opportunity to work with all of you through a mock interview at some point in your Baylor Law School career.

Do you have thoughts or questions about mock interviews? If so let me know at or @BaylorLawDaniel on Twitter.

JOB OF THE WEEK: Each week I highlight a job in Symplicity you might be interested in but may have missed. This week's job is: Prosecution Internship - Williamson County District Attorney's Office (Georgetown, TX). Log in to Symplicity to view this job and apply.

Take Action Today!

Take Action Today!

One of the trends we've noticed in our office lately is a willingness among students to research potential employers, but often in lieu of taking any action to reach out to them. If it's happening in our office surely it's happing among some of you on your own, so we wanted to address it. Obviously, we'd much rather have you researching employers than doing nothing on your job search, so it is not time wasted. However there is the possibility of becoming almost paralyzed by research so much so that it becomes harmful and costs you an opportunity. We'd like to encourage all of you who are doing nothing or stuck in research mode to take action.

By the way, this paralyzed state isn't limited to a legal job search or a job search at all. I will often drive my wife crazy researching something we need to buy to death, long after when she would have pulled the trigger. I'm a regular reader of cnet and Consumer Reports, particularly when it comes to electronics or appliances; and I can research myself in circles for week and months at a time while our food could be rotting in the fridge. "Just pick one so we can feed our kid!" my wife might say.

Why is it important to take action? Well, for one, so your kid can eat. But perhaps more important for you, nobody can hire you if you don't apply or they don't know who you are. This is true today as it would be during fall OCI. Think about it. You're top 25% and registered for OCI, you've researched employers but can't quite make up your mind who to bid with. If the bidding deadline passes and you don't make any selections, you're out of luck and won't get one interview/job offer.

Does that happen? It's hard to say. We have a number of students each OCI session who register to participate and then fail to bid or bid with a very small number of employers. There could be other reasons for that of course, but the end result is the same. No bids = no interviews = no jobs.

Now, the benefit of OCI is the bidding deadline forces most people to bid even when they may not be ready to. In January when we're typically talking about initiating 1L or 2L summer clerkships for the coming summer, there really is no hard deadline. An employer may be hiring now or they may not be hiring until April. However that uncertainty can create real danger if you allow days, weeks and months to go by without taking proactive steps. You most certainly will be ruling yourself out of any opportunities which are being decided upon now or in the near future. And in an already difficult job market, eliminating yourself from consideration simply because you didn't reach out or apply in time just doesn't make sense.

That's the cost problem with spending too much time on research and not enough on action, but there's also a (lack of) benefit problem, particularly when we're talking about 1L or 2L clerkships. In those cases, if you can find an opportunity in your desired geographical area that's fantastic; even better if it's a practice area you're interested in. To whittle down the list of employers any more than that just doesn't make sense. Remember for most of you this summer (1L or 2L) is not going to be an audition for a full-time position like fall OCI opportunities sometimes are; rather it's going to be a summer of networking, building relationships and gaining some practical experience.

So do your research and find some employers you're interested in, but also take some action steps. Send out that resume or application packet. Make that phone call and set up the informational interview. Once you get that first call made or first resume sent it gets a lot easier. It also might help to set your own deadlines by which you're going to send out x number of resumes or make x number of calls. Create your own bidding deadline! As always we are here to help in any way we can.

JOB OF THE WEEK: A new blog feature will be to highlight a job in Symplicity each week you might be interested in. This week's job is: Summer Legal Internship - Wal-Mart (1L, 2L or 3L). Log in to Symplicity to view this job and apply.

Let me know what action steps you're taking: or @BaylorLawDaniel on Twitter.

Tips For 2Ls Looking For Summer Opportunities

Tips for 2Ls Looking For Summer Opportunities

So it's January, the quarter is about to end, and you still have one or both halves of your 2L summer still open. What do you do? First, don't panic. More people are in your situation than aren't. However the start of the spring quarter is a great time to get back into search mode with one or more of the following strategies:

  1. Participate in CDO Interview Programs. Granted spring OCI is typically quite a bit smaller than fall, but it only takes one and why not put as many irons in the fire as possible? You should also have seen announcements via email and the monitors that in addition to our on-campus interviews, we're going to put together a day of off-campus interviews in Dallas. We've never done this before (or if we have it's been a long time), so we're not sure yet how much participation we'll get from you or employers, but if you want to be in Dallas you should participate in that program as well. The date is Friday, March 14th (the last day of Spring Break).

  2. Set up informational interviews. What are informational interviews? This is where you find an attorney who is doing exactly what you think you'd like to do. Contact them and ask if you could take them to coffee or lunch and just pick their brain for no more than an hour. You're not looking for a job here, yet. You're just building a relationship and getting advice from someone who is ahead of you on the professional ladder you want to be on. A key with this one is to stay in touch with that person after the interview ends or you can be quickly forgotten!

  3. Check Symplicity every day. I went on just now as I'm writing this, and I see 36 opportunities listed for 2L students. They aren't all summer jobs, but many are. Did you know Wal-Mart is looking for a 2L student for their corporate legal department? How great would that be? Stay on top of Symplicity and get your application materials in before the "end" or "close" date; there's no rule they have to keep the job open through that date and you don't want to miss out.

  4. Re-connect with contacts. Whether they've come from introductions at CDO programs, past clerkships/internships or family and friends, now is the time to reach out. Go back and read a few of the holiday success stories in the blog post two weeks ago if you need motivation. I rarely meet with an attorney who doesn't emphasize the importance of relationships and recommendations when they make hiring decisions, particularly in small to medium size firms. And it's those types of firms that are most likely hiring 2L clerks this time of year.

  5. Attend events. Alumni Relations Director Berkley Knas coordinates alumni receptions in Dallas, Austin and Houston each quarter, and a limited number of current students are welcome to attend. You can see a calendar of those events here. There will typically be between 30 and 70 Baylor Lawyers at these events, and students who have previously attended say it's been helpful for them. In addition, take advantage of any program that our office or student organizations puts on that gives you the opportunity to meet attorneys. You should always be looking to expand your network and when we bring them to you there's no reason to miss out.

Finding that 2L clerkship can be a challenge, but there is still plenty of time and opportunities for you to make it happen. But you have to start soon and make it a priority. We're of course here to help any way we can.

What other questions do you have about 2L summer opportunities? Let me know at or @BaylorLawDaniel on Twitter.

Pursuing 1L Opportunities

Pursuing 1L Opportunities

We've fielded quite a few questions recently from 1Ls regarding what 1L summer opportunities are out there and how to find them, and I thought it was worth addressing from the employer side of things. Some of this may repeat (or hopefully reinforce) what Angela has already communicated, and if so please bear with me.

You'll hear Angela and I both refer to your 1L summer as your "networking summer." That might not mean the exact same thing for all of you, but the gist of it is you want to find an opportunity that will allow you to work with and around people who can help you down the line with your 2L clerkship and/or full-time job.

These opportunities typically will be with an employer that will NOT hire you full-time out of law school. That's okay! In fact it would be unusual for the opposite to be true. So some of the questions you ought to be asking are: 1) where do I want to practice and 2) what type of law do I want to practice? Ideally, you'd find a 1L opportunity which satisfied the answers to both questions. For example, if you want to practice commercial litigation in Dallas, ideally you'd find a 1L opportunity in Dallas working in commercial litigation. The next best thing would be to work in the city you want to work in rather than the practice area. So if you couldn't find a commercial litigation opportunity in Dallas, look for something else in Dallas rather than commercial litigation in another city. Remember this is your networking summer, so the people you meet are going to be more important than anything else.

I would also encourage you to broaden the scope of possible employers within your given location/practice area. Often you'll have more luck finding a 1L opportunity with a business or government agency than you will with a law firm. Since many law firm clerkships won't provide much in the way of client interaction, internships with businesses can often give you an even broader network of contacts that can help you down the line.

What if you don't know where you want to be or what you want to practice? Well, if you really dig down deep and think about it, you probably have at least a top 2 or 3 list for each (e.g. 1. Dallas, 2. Houston, 1. Commercial litigation, 2) criminal defense). If you're not at least to that place I suggest you try and get there quickly. Then this first summer maybe you find a criminal defense opportunity in Dallas or a commercial litigation opportunity in Houston. Either would allow you to confirm or deny your interest in the city/practice area, which in and of itself is helpful in your job search process.

Finally, how do you go about finding the 1L opportunities? As we've said, most law firms don't even offer them and those who do rarely post them. The first thing I would suggest is go back and re-read Angela's email to you from December 2nd. It has great information about where to look for postings as well as the process many law firms follow in hiring 1Ls. The other point I would make is to echo what alum Jeff Domen said in the Professionalism Panel Thursday: you have to stand out! He receives tens of emails from people wanting a job and they all go in the trash. He suggested coming by the office and asking to see someone and being willing to wait patiently in the lobby until someone can see you, even if it takes all day. That might sound strange, and sure it may even turn off some employers, but for Jeff and many others it's a way to stand out and make sure your resume avoids the trash and rises to the top.

What other questions do you have about pursuing 1L opportunities? Let me know at or @BaylorLawDaniel on Twitter.

Christmas Break Networking Stories

Christmas Break Networking Stories

Welcome back everyone! I wrote a post back in November talking about the importance of taking advantage of breaks in the calendar to network. Then last week we asked you to share your stories with us. Here are a few that you sent in, but we'd like to share more so if you have a good networking story please send it in! Click here to read full post.

What Does The Changing Legal Landscape Mean For You?

What Does The Changing Legal Landscape Mean For You?

You likely hear and read quite a bit about the struggles and transformation going on in the legal industry, most notably in big law firms. Cary Gray from Looper, Reed & McGraw (and also a Baylor regent) was just on campus Thursday to share his thoughts on the topic; hopefully you were able to attend. But what does it mean for you? How should what's going on impact what you do now in law school, both in preparing yourself to be a new attorney but from our standpoint how you go about looking for your first job? I would suggest two key ideas: 1) expand your idea of what a first year attorney can do and where they can work, and 2) look more critically at the leadership and direction of the traditional employers you consider. Click here to read full post.



Mailbag is a new blog feature where I answer your questions, or just make up my own if you don't send me any! Click here to read full post.

Distinguish Yourself In A Positive Way III: After The Interview

Distinguish Yourself In A Positive Way III: After The Interview

Over the past two weeks we've talked about how to distinguish yourself in a positive way during the job application process as well as the interview. This week we're going to examine what that looks like after the interview is over, when you're waiting to hear back, negotiating an offer, etc. Click here to read full post.

Distinguish Yourself In A Positive Way, The Interview

Distinguish Yourself In A Positive Way, The Interview

Last week we talked about how to distinguish yourself in the application stage of a job search. This consisted of not giving the employer a reason to dismiss your application in the early going, and then as the pool is winnowed down giving them specific, unique, yet brief reasons why you're the answer to their problems. Click here to read full post.

Distinguish Yourself In A Positive Way

Distinguish Yourself In A Positive Way

Anytime there is a coveted job (it doesn't matter whether it's an internship, clerkship or full-time position), there are going to be a lot of applicants. It's not unusual for companies, law firms and government agencies to post a position and receive hundreds of resumes and applications. This is especially true in a tough market when more jobs are coveted than perhaps would have been otherwise. If you're going to rise to the top of the resume stack it is critical you find a way to distinguish yourself in a positive way. The question is: how? Click here to read full post.

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