Unusual Tips for Laid-off Lawyers

Debra L. Bruce, JD, PCC.

Unfortunately, this year an unprecedented number of attorneys have been laid off, and jobs for new law school grads have evaporated. Smart job hunters have already scoured the Internet for employment search tips. In this market, however, you need to get creative. Start now to generate opportunities to distinguish yourself from the competition and widen your circle of connections. Remember, relationships make the difference, especially in a tight market. Here are some tactics you might not have thought of to augment your existing approach.

1. Beef Up Your Resume.

You probably have more time available for research and writing now. Establish your expertise (or develop some), and give your resume some additional sparkle, by writing an article on a legal topic you are interested in. You don’t need to write a law review article. Contact industry magazines, legal newspapers, business journals and online publications. They need new articles every month or even more frequently, and most don’t require blue book citation. Many employers are more likely to read articles in such publications than in law reviews.

Your article will signal that you are an authority on the subject. Don’t be intimidated by lack of experience. If the topic is reasonably cutting edge, after your research you may be as expert as anyone else. As a second year associate, I wrote an in-depth research memo on an emerging legal issue for a client. Later, a partner asked permission to use my memo for his CLE presentation. (Today, I would ask to be a co-presenter with the partner to further establish my expertise.) Regardless of the legal topic, you will still know more about it than your lay readers.

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