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Employer Updates
OCI Nuts and Bolts / Tutorial Notes
[7/28/2014]

OCI Nuts and Bolts / Tutorial Notes

Last week the CDO released four video tutorials walking you through the OCI bidding process. This blog post is mostly text from the transcripts used in the videos, but condensed and re-formatted for your benefit and reference. We hope this helps you as bidding approaches next week!

*For those having trouble accessing the videos, be sure you're using your BearID, which is your first name_last name, and password.

INTRODUCTION / FOUNDATIONAL INFORMATION

Remember that On-Campus Interviews are just one tool for you to use to find employment. If OCI does not work for you, we want to work with you and encourage you to meet with us ASAP to create a job search strategy. Please do not wait until the spring quarter or Spring OCI!

Remember that we will have two fall OCI sessions this year. Session 1: August 18-22 and Session 2: October 6-10.

Session I bidding/applying: August 4 through 11:59 pm on August 5. For those of you in Scotland, please remember that is 11:59 pm CST. This deadline will not be extended for any reason.

You will bid for interviews, upload documents, and schedule interviews through Symplicity.

All of you have a Symplicity account and should know how to log in. As a reminder, you can access Symplicity through the CDO’s homepage.

You should log into Symplicity and upload all requested documents as soon as possible. Please let Monica Wright know if you have any problems logging in. Please do not create a new account!

Thee area few tabs in Symplicity you will need to be comfortable with using for oci.

•Homepage

•Profile page: Before you bid, you will need to update your class year. Everyone should be listed as a 2L, unless you are seeking post-graduate opportunities, when you should list yourself as a 3L.

•Documents tab – This is where you will upload and manage all documents for OCI and for other job postings (see Documents Tutorial).

•OCI tab

Within the OCI tab note the Sessions Dropdown Menu, and you should see:

•2014 Fall Direct Contact Program

•2014 Fall Resume Collection Session One

•2014 Fall On-Campus Interviews Session One

You'll also see the Session Two options which, for now you don't need to be concerned with.

If your class year is listed correctly in your profile, you should be able to see employers listed below (roughly 50 for 2L, 11 for 3L).

If you are selected to interview by an employer to whom you bid, you are REQUIRED to interview. Please research each employer before bidding for interviews. While we encourage you to bid broadly and to use as many of your bids as possible, please restrict your bids to those, based on your research, in which you have a strong interest.

If you plan to apply to employers, especially large firms, not participating in Baylor’s OCI, you should apply to these employers at the same time that you bid for Baylor on-campus interviews. Large firms will have recruitment information on their websites about how to apply; please refer also to the spreadsheet Daniel is sending out with specific large firm information.

EMPLOYER RESEARCH

Researching employers is a critical piece to getting the most out of your OCI experience. This tutorial discusses pre-bidding employer research.

First, check the employer’s interview date and make sure you’re available on that day.

After confirming that, click on “review.” In this screen is the majority of the employer’s information you’ll need.

Employers may display any selected practice areas, the office (note not the firm) size, as well as the dates of their summer program.

The options are 1st half summer (typically mid-May through June), 2nd half summer (typically July 1 through mid-August), no restriction or other. If the employer selects other, they should state the details of their program in the “Other” text box below.

In the "Employer's Schedule" table, you can see when they will be on campus, which office(s) they are interviewing for, any additional requests they have from applicants and their hiring criteria.

What most of you want to see the most is Hiring Criteria. As a reminder: if a criterion is required, there’s no wiggle room (e.g. Top 31% student cannot apply for Top 30% required position). If it’s preferred, there is some reasonable wiggle room. We provided detailed information for you in your yellow/pink sheet.

You'll also be able to see which document the employer is requesting/requiring. Only the documents being requested will appear (and prior to the bidding you’ll see “not selected” next to each one. Don’t get confused; that’s just how Symplicity labels them prior to the bidding window being open. It’s saying you, the student, have not yet selected a document to submit to that employer. You’ll of course do that once the bidding window is open).

We strongly encourage you to have every commonly requested document (resume, cover letter, transcript and writing sample) ready to go prior to bidding. Angela has a separate tutorial on OCI documents that I highly recommend you view before the bid dates.

Below the requested documents is the employer’s contact information. This is for your use in cover letters and thank you notes only. You are not to submit application materials directly to the contact person listed. All application documents are to be submitted through Symplicity, as described in the OCI Bidding Tutorial.

To make your research a little easier, the CDO created a spreadsheet with links to OCI firm websites and NALP forms for those who are NALP members. You will find it in the Related Resources window on the far right-hand side of the page: Titled “2014 OCI Employer Information.”

That's everything for pre-bidding employer research. I'll have more to say on this topic as you prepare for your interviews.

UPLOADING DOCUMENTS INTO SYMPLICITY

Please note that all required application materials for OCI must be uploaded in Symplicity BEFORE you bid on August 4 and 5.

Here are a few notes about each type of document you might need for OCI before moving on to Symplicity.

Resumes: Most of you have your final resume approved in Symplicity. If you do not have a resume uploaded in Symplicity, it must be uploaded and approved by August 2. It is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to verify that you have an approved, updated resume in Symplicity before you bid.

Please also remember that, for your resume, you are required to use the class rank found in BearWeb, not the approximate class rank found on the Baylor Law website.

Cover letters: You will upload your cover letter in the documents section in Symplicity. Cover letters should be tailored for each employer based on your research.

Please note that even if an employer includes a contact name and address for the cover letter, you will still submit your cover letter through Symplicity. Do not send your materials directly to the employer (if OCI or Resume Collection Session; Direct Contact Session Employers (currently just two) will request you send materials directly).

You do not need to sign your cover letter and scan it into Symplicity.

If an employer has not requested a cover letter, they do not want a cover letter. Please do not send a letter directly to them. It is important to show that you can follow application instructions.

Transcripts – There are two ways to get a copy of your unofficial transcript to upload in Symplicity: One is to scan in and upload an unofficial transcript (which you get from the Tower). The other is cut and paste” the transcript information from your BearWeb account into a Word document (you may also want to convert to PDF prior to upload).

Writing samples – Your writing sample should be approximately five pages in length, unless otherwise noted by the employer. If your writing sample is longer than five pages, you can choose a portion of the writing sample to submit. In that case, you will want to provide a short introduction to give the employer some context.

If you have legal writing samples other than a first-year memo, I encourage you to use it. If not, a memo will be fine.

If you plan to use a writing sample from work performed for an employer this summer, please remember to get approval from your employer. You may need to redact confidential information.

Also, it goes without saying, that your writing sample must be entirely your own work. If you plan to submit your appellate brief, you may only submit the sections you authored.

Adding documents to Symplicity is simple. Go to the documents tab in Symplicity. Scroll down to “add new.” Add a name for your document in the label field.

Please include your first and last name when saving documents and when naming documents in Symplicity. For cover letters, include the name of the firm in the title of the document so that you will not get confused during bidding. You do not want to send the wrong cover letter to the wrong firm!

Select the type of document you are uploading, and browse your computer for the appropriate file. Then, hit submit. If you upload a Word document, Symplicity will convert it to a PDF for you (though we encourage you to double-check the formatting to make sure it looks right/good).

You can upload several different versions of your resume and cover letters if you would like. The only type of document that requires approval before you bid is your resume. If you want to use more than one version of your resume, both versions must be approved. Again, it is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to verify that you have an approved, updated resume in Symplicity by August 2. At the top of the documents page, you will see an approved documents tab and a pending documents tab. Your resume will stay in “pending documents” until Angela approves it.

Again, it is your responsibility to upload all documents before bidding begins on August 4. You are strongly encouraged you not to wait until the last minute.

BIDDING (A.K.A. APPLYING)

During the bid dates (Aug 4-5):

1) You will go to the OCI tab in Symplicity to bid.
2) Click “Review” next to the employer you wish to bid for.
3) On the right-hand side where you previously saw a list of required documents, you’ll now see drop-down menus next to each. You’ll also see a “Bid/Application” drop-down menu. Click on that and select the number 1 (The only number you need to be concerned with is 20, as that is your last allowable bid).
4) Go into each document (e.g. resume) and select which document from your document library you wish to submit. For cover letters you’ll want to locate the employer specific cover letter in the drop-down and select it.
5) If applicable, enter the preferred location into the text box labeled as such.
6) Select the “Apply” button. You’ve now bid for that employer.
7) You can now go into the next employer’s “Review” page, and in the “Bid/Application” drop-down select “2”, select the appropriate documents, and hit “Apply.”
8) Continue this process until you have used all of your 20 bids (or as many up to 20 as you wish, though we encourage you to use them all).

Note: You are able to make changes to your bids any time during the bidding window (which ends at 11:59pm August 5th.) After that no bidding changes are allowed. You may, however, make changes to your documents (e.g. new grade comes in and you want to update your transcript) after bidding has closed. Contact us for more details.

Note: You might notice an exclamation mark within an orange triangle noting something called “No Multiple Interviews.” For the most part, you can ignore this. This is for employers who have, or are interviewing for, more than one office location. If they indicate “no multiple interviews,” it simply means that you must select one office location with which to interview, or in the case of an employer only listing one office, you’re interviewing for that office only.

Note: you will use the same process for Session Two BUT there is NO bid limit. You can bid to all Session Two on-campus interview employers if you would like. Bid dates for Session Two are: September 22 to 11:59 pm September 23.

Note: Occasionally employers not participating in OCI will post a job in the Job Posting section of Symplicity for a 2L summer clerkship. I've highlighted one example below. Please check the job postings regularly for these opportunities.

That is everything for the OCI bidding tutorials. Again please contact us if you have any questions.

Connect with Daniel at Daniel_Hare@Baylor.edu 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 Associate at Arnold & Porter in Houston (2L) Log in to Symplicity to view this job and apply.


Making Your Resume Work (Part II)
[7/14/2014]

Making Your Resume Work (Part II)

In Part I, I discussed the importance of the first-glance appearance of your resume, given how little time you have to make an impression. Today, we continue with that theme, as well as take it a step further with some details on how to lay out your resume to properly display your attributes.
  1. Try to create as much white space as possible throughout a resume and to make it easy for the eye to quickly scan the page. When you have several different indents and some information in the right-hand column (or inconsistent formatting), it makes it difficult to quickly find the information you want.

  2. Either put dates in the right-hand column or not, and either put them next to your school/job or not. Use italics for all job titles or none. The important thing is to pick a format and stick with it!

  3. Don’t use two words when one will do (e.g. “Relevant Experience” should be “Experience.”)

  4. Remove the hyperlink in email for resumes that will be printed and sent to employers. We really discourage any hyperlinks at all, as they are just another underline shouting for attention.

  5. I do not recommend an objective or summary statement for legal resumes. Let’s cut to the chase--what are your qualifications?

  6. Candidates often use generic statements when describing their prior work experience, such as “performed legal research.” Be more specific (without disclosing too much information) about the work you performed. When applicable, include objective measures of success such as an increase in sales, etc. (Though we recognize that can be hard to do for a legal clerkship or internship position.)

  7. Use action verbs to describe your work experience, and make sure they are in the correct tense (i.e. drafted v. draft or drafting).

  8. Understand the difference between hyphens, en-dashes and em-dashes, and use them appropriately.

  9. More bullets and short descriptions, less long sentences and paragraphs.

  10. Activities or interests sections are not required, but if appropriate and compelling can be a great way to stand out and build a connection with an employer. Use your judgment, but here are a couple of examples of when you might or might not want to list something in one of these categories:
    • “Running” – no, “Compete in triatholons” – yes

    • “Play video games” – no, “Design and test video games” – yes

  11. Do not include personal information (e.g. age) or a headshot.

  12. Do not include references. If an employer asks for references, list them separately from the resume.

  13. For “survival jobs” you might have had during college or law school (e.g. waiting tables, retail), don’t feel as though you have to list bullets describing your role. However, if you were a team leader or manager, you would definitely want to describe those duties.

  14. Don’t include college or law school entry exam (e.g. LSAT) scores.

  15. Check, double check and triple check for typos and grammar mistakes (that goes for all your application materials including cover letters and writing samples). I’ve had several employers say they will immediately trash the resume of someone who has a typo, regardless of their other credentials. Don’t let that happen to you!

Please take advantage of our office, as well as resources we’ve put online at the CDO website. You have all the tools you need to craft an outstanding resume that will impress every employer, but it takes time, care and attention to detail to do so. Now go do it!


Connect with Daniel at Daniel_Hare@Baylor.edu 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: Misdemeanor Prosecutor Position with the Denton County District Attorney's Office (Entry Level Attorney) Log in to Symplicity to view this job and apply.


Making Your Resume Work (Part I)
[7/7/2014]

Making Your Resume Work (Part I)

“Am a perfectionist and rarely if if ever forget details.”

Skills: “I can type without looking at thekeyboard.”

Experience: “I’m a hard worker, etc.”

Additional Skills: “I am a Notary Republic.”

Writing resume on the back of current employer’s letterhead
“nine page cover letter accompanies by a four-page resume”

*You can see these and other resume blunders here.

There is one document which recruiters and employers will be looking at more than any other to initially gauge your candidacy for any open position: the resume. Oh sure employers will look at transcripts, cover letters and writing samples too; albeit some more than others. But virtually every employer will in some way use your resume as an initial screening tool to determine whether or not to consider you further. So let’s talk about resumes, because as you can see above, it’s not at all apparent that students and graduates take them as seriously as they should.

According to experts, your resume has six to ten seconds to positively impact the person reading it. That’s it. Therefore, it is critical your resume quickly and without error tells a compelling story of why you’re worth further review. Notice I say “worth further review,” as opposed to “get you the job” or even “get you an interview.” That’s because the vast majority of entry level jobs you’ll be going after will receive a large number of resumes. So the resume acts as a filtering tool which the reviewer can quickly sort the contenders from the pretenders.

What are the employers looking for that it takes them less than 10 seconds to find (or not)? It depends. For a big law firm looking at 2Ls for OCI, it could simply be meeting a class rank requirement and/or law review. For a smaller firm looking for a full-time associate, it will likely be combination of academic performance, indication of a specific practice area, leadership positions and prior work experience, among others.

One thing all employers will be likely to notice, even if not looking for it specifically, is the presentation of the information on your resume. They will want to see you can communicate in a crisp, clean manner. If you can’t do it with your bio, how are you going to do it with a complicated landlord/tenant dispute? Take a look at these two examples? Forgetting the qualifications of either candidate for a minute, who do you think is most/least likely to survive the first cut?

Bad/Great Resume Comparison

Without a quality presentation, it’s entirely possible an employer may not look at any substantive material in your resume at all. Remember, they’re sticking with an average of 10 seconds. That means there will be some that take longer, and some even shorter. You can bet the ones taking two – three seconds are those looking more like the one on the left above.

The CDO (a.k.a. Angela) does a ton of work with students and their resumes. If you’re not taking full advantage of her expertise you need to be. That said, just take a look at the two examples above and do your best to get a decent resume into shape before sending it to her. When resumes like the one on the left come in, it’s hard for us not to think the same thing an employer would.

So take the extra time and put together a good, solid first draft of a resume. Then let Angela help you fine tune it and make suggestions you may not have thought of. Be sure your resume is one that will get you past the first round of cuts, so your education, experience and skills get an audience with the employer.

In Part II, we’ll discuss how you can craft your resume such that it not only gets through the initial screening, but also prompts the employer to invite you for an interview. Stay tuned!

Connect with Daniel at Daniel_Hare@Baylor.edu 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: Fall 2014 Legal Intern with the Office of the Governor - Office of the General Counsel (1L, 2L, 3L) Log in to Symplicity to view this job and apply.


How To Leave Your Summer Clerkship
[6/24/2014]

How To Leave Your Summer Clerkship

Many of you are nearing the end of your summer clerkship, and I thought it would be a good time to discuss how to wind down your experience on a positive note. There are three groups of people who, upon your exit, you want to be sure to leave impressed: hiring people (partners, recruiters, etc.), potential colleagues (associates, staff) and fellow clerks. Now, there’s little that can be done in the final days to salvage your experience if you’ve made major mistakes. But assuming otherwise, you can certainly still either solidify or spoil the good you’ve done. Let’s make sure it’s the former.

Hiring People

It’s important that as many attorneys in the firm as possible know you and your work. This is especially true of hiring partners, of which there are usually few. If you’ve yet to spend much time with one or two of them, make it a point to do so before you leave. See if they have a quick project you could knock out for them or otherwise just grab coffee or lunch. You also want to make sure you finish or appropriately handoff any project you’re currently working on, and communicate status updates clearly.

To the extent your firm has recruiters, be sure to make them feel appreciated for all the work they put in to get you to this point. They likely were the first screeners of your resume, provided input to the partners during the offer stages, and have helped you navigate your clerkship. They will also be providing input to the partners as full-time offers are being considered.

Potential Colleagues

There will be some similarities among these three groups as you would expect; after all they are people and you want to show them you’ll be a great addition to the team. So be sure to meet as many associates you’ve yet to come across, as well as solidify the relationships you’ve built over the past six weeks with those you’ve worked directly with or for. Ask their advice on job and career matters; take them to lunch; make sure you ask to stay connected with them over the coming year or two (and actually follow up!). As with partners, make sure all current projects are appropriately dealt with.

The staff has likely been as helpful to you over the past six weeks as any of the groups we’re talking about here. Let them know it! One, it’s the right thing to do. Two, one word in either direction from a staff member to a hiring partner may make the difference in whether you get a full-time offer.

Fellow Clerks

This category is a little different, as they won’t be the ones to give you a job. However, you should be taking the long-view of your career, realizing you may work with/for/against any of these people at one time or another over the next 30 years. Build on these relationships and create a robust network of peer attorneys. Being able to call on one another with any number of issues throughout your careers will help you more than you know.

Wrapping Up

Remember that even if you don’t get a full-time offer from the employer you’re working for now, the people there are now a primary reference for any other employer who might hire you. So you want to make sure they not only say good things about you, but are willing to proactively give your name to their colleagues when asked for referrals. Leave there with advocates on your behalf!

Connect with Daniel at Daniel_Hare@Baylor.edu 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: Any one of several jobs currently posted for alliantgroup in Houston Log in to Symplicity to view this job and apply.


It's Not All Bad News
[6/16/2014]

It's Not All Bad News

What you typically hear from me regarding the legal hiring market, either in this blog or in meetings, are the hard realities of the present, and the slim chances of much improvement in the immediate future. It’s not the message I enjoy giving. However I feel it’s important not to sugar coat industry news, and to make sure you’re well-informed and prepared for the job search ahead. Having said all that, in this post I wanted to try and provide you with good news, interesting opportunities and whatever positive data I could cobble together. So let’s get started.

First the anecdotal. When I’m out and around visiting employers each week, there tends to be a common feel I get among the people I meet with of their outlook on the industry. In late 2012/early 2013 it was noticeably bleak, with the only positive perhaps being they felt they had reached some sort of bottom. Recently that collective feeling has evolved somewhat, into what I would describe as cautious optimism.

Employers now look back and feel they were correct about the “hit bottom” point; and they haven’t just plateaued at the bottom (as many feared), but rather have seen some uptick in business/revenue/etc. This anecdotal evidence is supported somewhat by the most recent NALP employment data I shared with you back in April, which pointed toward a hiring low point in the 2010-11 range.

I would qualify this in several ways: 1) it is by no means a scientific survey, 2) employers could be wrong and merely be experiencing a brief, unsustainable surge, 3) there are still employers who feel things are just as bad as they were before (i.e. each individual employer may be experiencing a different reality) and 4) improved business may not have led to changes in hiring strategy / hiring new lawyers. Nevertheless, based on the employers I’ve recently met with, it appears things have been getting better.

Our own school-specific measures tend to point in the same direction as well—that there is slight improvement going on and it’s slowly impacting legal hiring. Examples include: 1) Our 2013 graduating class employment statistics are up slightly over 2012, 2) There has been an increase in the total number of employers coming to campus to interview as compared to last year at this time, and 3) we’ve see an increase in the number of year-over-year job postings.

While this data appears to point toward more opportunities across the board, I believe the public sector is specifically ripe. With state and other public organizations still coming out of a period of layoffs and hiring freezes, they are trying to catch up and keep up with increased demand for their services while still being (in some cases dramatically) understaffed.

So there you have a few observations and evidence which points toward some positive aspects of the legal hiring market. Please keep this in perspective with everything else we communicate about the market: it’s still very tough and will likely remain so. But there is still a path forward, and we are willing to partner with you every step along the way!

Connect with Daniel at Daniel_Hare@Baylor.edu 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: Attorney at The Coffey Firm in Fort Worth(3L, alumni) Log in to Symplicity to view this job and apply.


It's Possible!
[6/2/2014]

It's Possible!

Recently, the Spring 2014 starters attended the 2nd Quarter CDO meeting, and we felt the response to the content presented merited more discussion. For everyone else you may or may not remember your 2Q CDO meeting, but we made some changes to it so this will be new to all of you. Plus there was some controversy so you wouldn’t want to miss out!

What was the controversy? Well, the guiding document for the meeting was a quarter-by-quarter action plan (we'll upload this to Symplicity soon), which is our suggestion to you on how to practically and methodically go about your job search. Within the plan, there are several quarters when we suggest you add three to five attorneys to your personal network.

Reaction to that specific suggestion was a combination of disbelief, shock, defeat, horror and in some cases resentment. “How could you ask such a ridiculous task of us?” “Is that even possible?” “Where would I even begin?” “Why is that even necessary?”

Let’s take these one at a time.

  1. “How could you ask such a ridiculous task of us?” – It’s not ridiculous. It’s simple networking, and professionals (of which you are in training to be) do it every day.

  2. “Is that even possible?” – Yes, but that’s not what’s really important. What matters is that you recognize, right now, that the quantity and (more importantly) quality of your network is critical to your job search. If you recognize that and take at least some action to develop that network while in law school, you will be better off and give yourself a much better chance at your desired job.

  3. “Where would I even begin?” This one is actually fairly easy: attend CDO events. Over the past three quarters I count that we brought in 12 attorneys to speak at various programs. If you just attended those programs, introduced yourself to the speaker(s) afterwards and then followed up, you would pretty much have the entire year done. In addition, how about asking your family/close friends if they know/have ever used an attorney. Have the family member/friend make an email introduction and you’re off to the races. Another great one is to attend a Baylor Law Alumni Event. Berkley Knas (Director of Alumni Relations) has been gracious to invite students to attend one of these quarterly receptions in Dallas, Houston, Austin and Fort Worth. There are usually between 40 and 70 Baylor Lawyers in attendance; you could knock out an entire year’s worth of network additions in one night! (Calendar of events here; email Berkley here) Right there are three easy, simple ways to meet the networking suggestions we made in our action plan. And note not one of those involved any type of cold calling, etc. You can do this!

  4. “Why is that even necessary?” – Two reasons. First, with a few exceptions most of you will get your first job through some type of connection. Fair or unfair, that’s just the way the world works (not just in law). The only job I ever got by filling out an application or responding to a posting, without out some personal connection, was for a grocery store checker when I was 16. Personal connections are even more critical in a down job market, when employers have plenty of applicants for open positions. Second, at some point in your career you are going to have to bring in clients if you’re going to advance. How are you going to do this? For most people, it means you are going to have to join organizations, volunteer in the local bar, take people to lunch, etc. in order to establish a personal connection with people. Potential clients won’t hire or recommend you without this critical piece. So by networking while in law school, you are not only improving your job search possibilities, but also beginning a long career of developing relationships and building your own base of clients. Oh, and the two are related. Most employers will want to see that a candidate has the potential to develop their own clients down the road.

Hopefully this helps take some of the shock away, and provides some practical first steps in adding to your personal network. Also, we will be providing more tools to assist you along the way, and are always willing to visit with you one-on-one. You can do this! It’s definitely possible!

Connect with Daniel at Daniel_Hare@Baylor.edu 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: Intake Specialist at Zinda & Davis in Austin (1L, 2L) Log in to Symplicity to view this job and apply.


Five Things Not To Do At Your Summer Clerkship
[5/12/2014]

Five Things Not To Do At Your Summer Clerkship

As early as today, many of you will begin your summer clerkship. I thought it might be helpful to give you a few tips on what not to do this summer, so you can leave in six weeks with a job offer or solid recommendation. So here we go:
  1. Sacrifice Quality for Speed – Yes, we all want to be first. But being first and wrong or first and sloppy may as well be first and worthless. Take the time you need to get the project right. Take pride in putting together an excellent work product, however long it takes. Don’t take this the wrong way. If you clearly should be able to put together an excellent product in two hours, and it takes you six, you’re going to have problems. But most of the time we’re simply trying to trim a few minutes off to impress the boss, and that can get you into trouble.

  2. Get Comfortable – This is a six week job interview; treat it as such. You may think you’ve built rapport with an associate or partner at the firm, but don’t be lulled in by a false sense of security. You don’t have a job yet, and they are looking for reasons not to hire (or recommend) you. I’ve heard too many stories from employers about summer associates who, after about three weeks, acted as though they were “in the club.” You’re not.

  3. Mistreat Support Staff – You are no better than any secretary, paralegal or assistant, and the moment you start acting like you are, it’s a problem. I cannot tell you how many times employers have said to me something to the effect of, “I really liked Joe and we were strongly considering hiring him. But in our firm-wide evaluation we discovered he was consistently rude to the office staff. We don’t have room for people like that here.” Don’t be that person. Treat everyone, and especially the support staff, with the respect they deserve. (Oh and by the way, many of them know more than you at this point how to actually do the tasks you’ll be asked to do, so they can be a great resource if you’ll let them!).

  4. Miss Out – Many summer programs will allow you to get as much, or as little experience as you ask for. So don’t miss out on opportunities by waiting to be invited/asked/assigned. Ask to go along to a deposition or hearing. Ask to take a stab at drafting a motion for summary judgment. You might get told no, but so what? You’ve demonstrated you have the initiative, work ethic and confidence to be a valuable asset. (Caveat: don’t do the above as a substitute for the work you’ve been assigned, or if the work you’ve been assigned isn’t completed. You’ll come across as someone who will only do work they like/enjoy, which you’re not in a position to dictate at this stage in your career).

  5. Disrespect the Employer – This should go without saying, but we hear about it enough to mention. Here’s the situation: you’re three weeks in and you know you’re not going to receive and/or accept a full-time position. The temptation is to mail it in. You start coming in a bit later, get a little sloppy in your work or maybe even end the clerkship a few days early. Do not fall into this trap. Your reputation is at stake, and you never know when you might come across people from that employer again. Keep working hard, honor your commitments and leave no hard feelings behind when it’s over.

There you have it. Avoid these five things, and you'll give yourself a much better chance at a positive clerkship experience and a positive outcome. Best of luck as you begin your summer, and as always we are here to help if you have questions or concerns.

Connect with Daniel at Daniel_Hare@Baylor.edu 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 Law Clerk at the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board in Dallas (unpaid internship; 1L, 2L, 3L) Log in to Symplicity to view this job and apply.


NALP Conference Takeaways (Part III): Tips and Tricks
[4/28/2014]

NALP Conference Takeaways (Part III): Tips and Tricks

I’d like to close out the NALP Conference series (click the titles to read Part I: What Does It Take To Be A Great Lawyer, and Part II: What’s Going On In The Legal Hiring Market?) with tips and tricks I thought were worth sharing from two sessions: one addressing how to use LinkedIn, the other how to pursue alternative uses of your JD.

Using LinkedIn

First, know that we do plan on providing programming on this in the near future, either live or in a webinar. It is my impression that many of you either do not have a LinkedIn account, or have one that is not being used to its potential. The tips below will presume you at least have an account (for those who don’t, you really need to get one, and at least include a photo and some basic information.)

Here are a few tips I picked up from various people and sessions:

• Create a custom URL for your page. To do this you’ll go to your profile page, click Edit, then click Edit Contact Info. You should see your LinkedIn URL in the bottom-left corner of that window. Unedited, it will likely be very long with lots of letters and numbers. You want to shorten and personalize it. For example, mine is now www.linkedin.com/in/danielhare1.

• Adjust your notifications settings so that you’re only alerting your network to updates you specifically want them to see. A good example is sometimes people will add jobs they have been doing for a while to their profile, but it looks to their network as if was a brand new job/career change. Those updates can be modified and you should make sure yours reflect what you want your network to see.

• Check out your LinkedIn Network Map here: http://inmaps.linkedinlabs.com/. This will show you your network in clusters, and help you figure out where you have connections and where you need to beef them up.

• Follow “Influencers” and comment on their posts. This is a great way to start getting your name out there an engaging with others who are interested in the same subjects as you.

• Watch for a new blogging feature to soon be made available to all users. You may want to use it as a platform to write on legal issues you’re interested in.

Finding Alternative Careers

As you know (or should know) from the graduation surveys, only about 60% of law school graduates nationally take an entry level job practicing law (i.e. a job requiring a bar license). Graduates in the other 40% go into categories such as JD Advantage jobs (e.g. SEC compliance at a bank) and Other Professional jobs (e.g. business consulting).

But how do determine whether an alternative position would be right for you? Further, within what alternative career would you be a good fit? Finally, how do you find those opportunities and sell yourself to alternative employers? According to expert Cheryl Heisler at Lawternatives, it’s a four step process. Step 1: Self-assessment; Step 2: Market-assessment; Step 3: Resourcing / Networking; and Step 4: Sales/marketing. Those steps are a whole other blog post, if not series, but for more check out this article.

She also suggests what she calls “active reading.” Active reading is reading publications in the area you’re interested in, but not just for your own education. Rather, read it looking for people who are influencers and leaders in the field, so you can reach out to them. Find articles you think people already in your network might be interested in and send it to them. Look for events coming up which people in your area of interest will be attending so you can be there. I thought this was one of the better practical tips I heard all week, and it could apply to a traditional law job search just as easily as an alternative career.

Finally, it is important to maximize the time you have while in law school (e.g. summers, holidays) to indicate interest and gain experience in these other fields. It’s also important to become fluent in the language of other fields (e.g. Human Resources in one field is known as Talent Management in another), as well as tweak the presentation and format of your applications materials to match what is common in those fields.

There was a substantial amount of great information and idea sharing at NALP this year, which hopefully you have benefitted from in this blog series. There are a number of other things I have not written about which we as a CDO office will be looking to implement, which will hopefully benefit you as well. As always, if you have thoughts or questions on these topics or anything at all, please let me know.

Connect with Daniel at Daniel_Hare@Baylor.edu 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: Assistant District Attorney in Wichita Falls (Two positions; 3L, Grad) Log in to Symplicity to view this job and apply.


NALP Conference Takeaways (Part II): What's Going On In The Legal Hiring Market?
[4/21/2014]

NALP Conference Takeaways (Part II): What's Going On In The Legal Hiring Market?

One of my favorite subjects is the ever-changing legal market, and the NALP conference is a great place to get the latest data. NALP Executive Director James Leipold is a guru on this topic, and I was fortunate to attend a session where he spoke and addressed it.

Before we jump in, my apologies in advance for the large amount of numbers in this post. The best way to communicate this information is in the form of statistics, and to leave them out wouldn’t do the topic justice. Also, this post could probably be an entire e-book. I have picked information to share with you which jumped out to me during the session. It is by no means everything, and I encourage you to go to the NALP website and other resources for more information if you’re interested.

OVERALL MARKET INDICATORS

• The entire legal employment market has only picked up 15,000 jobs since the 2008 recession (during which 45,000 jobs were lost). So we’re still 30,000 jobs below pre-recession levels.

• A new pattern is emerging within (especially large) law firms. In the past, most firms tended to do well together or do poorly together, with little separation. Now, that dynamic seems to be changing. We’re seeing more winners and losers; similar firms are no longer trending as a large group, but rather some are succeeding while others are not. I thought this was particularly important for you to know, as it creates more of a burden on you (and us) to try and identify which firms are headed in the right direction and which are not.

• 43% of new grads nationwide went into law firms with between two and ten attorneys. This interests me because small law firms tend to not hire student clerks. So getting a position with those employers typically comes through some sort of networking or personal referral. For those of you struggling to find summer opportunities, or not getting positions from your summer employers, it should be encouraging to see the opportunity that exists with these smaller firms.

• Houston is the 5th largest legal market in the country (trailing only New York City, Washington, D.C., Chicago and Los Angeles). No other Texas city makes the top 10. This is important to know and consider. Houston is (relatively speaking) booming. And while it’s always among many of your desired destinations, I think that interest will only grow.

SALARY DATA

Salary data is always fascinating to look at. You can see the 2012 graduating class salary curve (we won’t have the 2013 salary data for a few more months) below, and at the NALP website here.

NALP 2012 Salary Survey

I believe the most important fact from this chart is to look at the number of 2012 graduates earning the industry mean salary of $80,798. It’s somewhere around 3%. Taking it a step further, there are relatively few employers paying between the Big Law Firm peak of $160,000, and the “everyone else” peak of between $40,000 and $65,000 (which accounts for 51% of reported salaries). You’ll also note that at each point on the graph between $105,000 and $155,000, you’ll find less than 2% of employers. Lastly, I should explain the difference between the mean and the adjusted mean. The mean is based on all reported salaries. The adjusted mean represents a statistically created number which bridges the gap between reported salaries (which tends to come from students with larger salaries) and what the data would look like if all students reported their salaries. So in theory, the adjusted mean should be closer to reality.

What should we take away from the salary data? First, that a $70,000 job offer is not insulting (I’ve heard that more than once in the past 12 months). Second, if you’re not heading to a big firm and the $165,000 payout, finding something that pays in the chart’s valley ($70k-$155k) is going to be tough. So you have to calibrate your expectations and prepare for a difficult search. For what it’s worth, I ask for salary data with every employer I visit. So if you have questions about what specific employers pay, check out my employer map and see if I’ve met with them. If so, I’m happy to provide any information they shared.

STATISTICS FROM LAST FALL’S OCI

•The median number of offers extended by 700+ attorney law firms to 2Ls this past fall OCI was 12 (compared to a recent low of eight in 2009, but far off the pre-recession number of 30 in 2007).

•The median number of offers extended by all law firms to 2Ls this past fall OCI was 8 (compared to a recent low of seven in 2009, and far off the pre-recession number of 15 in 2007).

•The percentage of 2L callback interviews resulting in offers this past fall OCI was 47% (compared to a recent low of 37% in 2009, but far off the pre-recession number of 62% in 2006).

•The percentage of law firms recruiting 3Ls during OCI this past fall was 16% (compared to a recent low of 3% in 2009, and far off the pre-recession number of 53% in 2006).

I think what those last four statistics tell you is what most of the data tells us. There was a low point in legal hiring during and after the recession, which centered on the 2010 and 2011 graduating classes. Since that time there has been a mild recovery, but we’re nowhere near pre-recession levels. Further, there is little to no expectation we’ll return to those levels any time soon, if ever.

So there it is. Today’s legal market in a brief (though perhaps not brief enough for some of you!) capsule. As always you can connect with me at Daniel_Hare@Baylor.edu 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: Legal Intern with U-Haul International (working remotely; 2L, 3L) Log in to Symplicity to view this job and apply.


NALP Conference Takeaways (Part I): What Does It Take To Be A Great Lawyer?
[4/14/2014]

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 Daniel_Hare@Baylor.edu 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?
[4/7/2014]

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 Daniel_Hare@Baylor.edu 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
[3/31/2014]

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 Daniel_Hare@Baylor.edu 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?
[3/24/2014]

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 fivethirtyeight.com, 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 Daniel_Hare@Baylor.edu 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
[3/17/2014]

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 atDaniel_Hare@Baylor.edu 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
[3/7/2014]

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 Daniel_Hare@Baylor.edu and/or @BaylorLawDaniel on Twitter.


What You Missed Last Week – Interviewing Skills Workshop and Dress to Impress
[3/3/2014]

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 atDaniel_Hare@Baylor.edu 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.


Mailbag!
[2/24/2014]

Mailbag!



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: Daniel_Hare@Baylor.edu 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
[2/17/2014]

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 Daniel_Hare@Baylor.edu 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
[2/10/2014]

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 Daniel_Hare@Baylor.edu 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!
[2/3/2014]

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 Daniel_Hare@Baylor.edu 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.


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