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Jobs in the Time of Corona: Let’s Roll Up Our Sleeves!

April 15, 2020

by Devra Sigle Hermosilla, Assistant Dean of Career & Professional Development

The big question on every 2020 grad’s mind right now is: how will the Coronavirus Pandemic affect their job search? Are legal employers hiring now? Will they be hiring in the fall? Should I even bother to look for a job right now?

This Jobs in the Time of Corona blog series intends to answer some of these questions and offer helpful tips on how you can best position yourself in your job search during this difficult time.

The answer to each of the questions above is yes, in case you were wondering. Although the stay-home-orders and resulting effects on the market have obviously caused serious disruption, layoffs, and economic uncertainty for many employers, there are employers still hiring for bar required and JD Advantage positions now. They will be hiring in the fall and beyond. And you definitely should be looking for a job right now with grit and vigor!

Be Flexible to Opportunities. Understand that the open jobs right now may be different from those you thought you would be seeking. Some industries that appear to be hot today include contracts, compliance, data privacy, healthcare, housing, employment/unemployment, domestic violence, criminal defense, poverty law, constitutional law issues, and wills and estates – just to name a handful. Be creative and flexible in planning for your job search. It has always been true but now more than ever: any legal experience will be good experience as you embark upon your path to success. Although you may have hoped to land a job as an environmental attorney, learning litigation advocacy skills by helping people keep their housing to start off will be useful in your environmental law work down the line.

Search While You Study for the Bar Exam. Most of your post-graduation attention will, as always, be immediately turned to studying for and passing the bar. But we caution against waiting until after you pass the bar to begin your job search – in part because you want to remain ahead of the throng of newly minted attorneys in the fall but also because of the uncertainty over the dates for the bar exams in different jurisdictions. If you are eligible, you might even consider becoming a Certified Law Student so that you can practice under supervision if bar dates remain foggy. Set aside a study-break time each day or week to spend on your job search efforts, following the tips presented in this blog series, so that you remain open and well-positioned for opportunities along the way.

Be Proactive. Now is not a time to sit back and conduct a passive job search. Your job search will likely take some serious elbow grease. You will need to search for jobs in active industries, update your application materials and self-promotion tools to be the best they can be, network in creative ways, and proactively apply to opportunities as they present themselves. If you are having trouble finding postings that look great to you, or if you are applying to positions but not getting interviews, broaden your search criteria. If you see a job that is law-related and for which you qualify, jump on it, even if it’s not perfect! Put in applications for work that seems interesting and relevant to skill building for attorney work, even if it’s not your exact dream job. The goal is to be hired - almost any kind of hired - in this moment, and to gain some experience and stability in this strange time. You can transition to an ideal job when market conditions improve.

You can do this; let Career Services help you every step of the way. 

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