February 01, 2022

Career Services Blog

Handling Job Offers

Receiving a job offer for an internship or post-graduate law job is very exciting – and also a little daunting. Receiving multiple job offers can be beautifully anxiety-producing. Here are some quick tips on how to handle one or more simultaneous job offers:

Accepting Job Offers – If you received one offer, or your preferred offer, and you intend to accept the job, then the process to accept that job offer is pretty simple:

  • Get written confirmation of the offer containing the essential details of the job. Because it is not always industry standard to receive an offer in writing, it may be up to you to make sure you have all of the important details you need in order to make an informed decision, such as title, salary, benefits, start and end dates, schedule, location, and hours expected or billable requirements.
  • Call the supervising attorney to accept (or discuss) the offer, with a confirming email to both the supervising attorney and human resources.
  • Once you accept the confirmed offer, don’t forget to decline other open offers (see below).

Considering your Offers – If you receive more than one offer, or you received an offer while waiting on another, you may need to weigh your offers before deciding which to accept:

  • Rank your preferences with pros and cons as you interview for each position for comparison to make your decision easier. Complete this Offer Analysis Questionnaire to assess whether the offer will work for your personal and career needs.
  • It is acceptable to ask for more time to consider the offer – whether you need more time to decide or you are waiting for another offer to come in before you make your decision. In the latter case, you may contact the employer to ask about their decision timeline. If you are a top candidate, the employer may appreciate the opportunity to move more quickly and if not, then you can move forward to accept the prior offer.
  • Career Services can help you consider whether and how to engage in tricky salary negotiations based on current market salary information. We have this data thanks to our graduating alums who report their starting salaries as part of our annual data collection for the anonymous accreditation reporting to the American Bar Association.
  • Consider the proverb, a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, when weighing your employment offers. Even an offer that is not your top preference has tremendous value during these difficult economic times. Try to look at the positive things about the position, including the experience and skills you may gain from this work that could lead to your dream job down the line. Most people do not land in their “forever” job straight out of law school and it takes a few employment adjustments before they settle down.

Declining Offers – Nobody likes to deliver bad news but it is important to decline offers as soon as possible:

  • Promptly decline any offer you know you will not accept, whether because you decided against the position or because you already accepted another offer. While it is tempting to delay making this call, please don’t. Employers will appreciate your timely response so that they can quickly turn to the next candidate.
  • It is also a professional courtesy to notify any employers with whom you have recently interviewed or are under active consideration.
  • Call the person who made the offer to you, or as instructed otherwise, and let them know you need to decline the offer. It is a good idea to follow up the phone call with a brief email addressed to them, along with human resources, thanking them for the opportunity and their understanding.
  • If the employer does not already have another candidate in mind, connect them with Career Services so that we can help them find another candidate.

Handling Rescinded Offers – If you received an offer but it is then rescinded, handle your disappointment with professionalism:

  • Understand that the employer most likely still wants to hire you and would if they could; it is not personal and you have likely done nothing wrong.
  • Be gracious.
  • Offer to work with them in another capacity or at a future time – as a contract attorney, an intern for a different semester, or possibly as an unpaid extern for credit and experience. Many of our students had success in securing internships for later in the school year or for next summer when their summer or fall 2020 internships fell through due to Covid-19.

When in doubt, feel free to contact Career Services. We are working remotely and are here to help you with all things career-related. For more information about managing job offers, see NALP’s quick video: Managing Job Offers.