Blogging Can Make the Difference in a Landing a Law Job


Debra L. Bruce, JD, PCC.

Jack Whittington posted his tips for law students on getting that dream job out of law school at the Solo Practice University Blog.  Jack credited blogging and using Twitter and LinkedIn with helping him nab a rare opportunity at a sports law firm. He submitted his resume to the firm as a result of some networking. When he finally got a call to interview, Jack says “the attorney already knew a great deal about me just from reading my blogs and information I had broadcast through social media.” Read here to get Jack’s in-depth story.

Last year I did a little coaching with NYU law student John Strohmeyer as he searched for a job in a tough market.  I encouraged John to network strategically and take advantage of social media. I explained to him that blogging about issues in his preferred practice area would give him a chance to demonstrate his capabilities.

Law students and recent grads may fear that they are too inexperienced to blog with credibility. They have fresh researching skills, however,  and usually hear about cutting edge issues in some of their classes. They can turn to their professors for suggestions of timely topics, as well.

I told John not to try to write law review-style articles for his blog. Instead, I encouraged him to write in a more conversational way about subjects he found interesting and had passion for.  That passion would show through and would inspire his writing. I encouraged him to even start a blog about non-legal matters, if he had other passions. That’s what would engage readers and build a following.  He chose to write one blog about music, and another about estate planning law.

John did land a job in an estate planning firm, and he believes that  blogging helped. He went to work for a firm that values writing and encourages him to write articles on topics clients care about. Blogging gave John a forum to showcase his writing and analytical skills. It also demonstrated his interest in the practice area much more convincingly than any assertion in an interview would. 

For more thoughts on using social media to land a job, listen to this podcast  of Susan Cartier Liebel interviewing Amanda Ellis, founder of Amanda Ellis Legal Search and author of The 6Ps of the BIG 3™ for Job-Seeking JDs. Amanda talks about using social networking sites to build a referral network,  to prepare for interviews, and more.

Comments

6 Responses to “Blogging Can Make the Difference in a Landing a Law Job”

  1. Brad Polizzano on March 1st, 2011 4:11 pm

    Small world! John and I studied tax law together at NYU. Now we are both legal bloggers.

    From my experience, I can vouch for Debra’s point that blogging about issues in a preferred practice area provides professionals an opportunity to demonstrate their capabilities, particularly research and writing. Plus, you can learn quite a bit of law along the way.

  2. Gene Quinn on March 2nd, 2011 3:54 pm

    Debra-

    I used to give law students the same advice. It was rarely taken up, but one student in particular did take me up and he managed to very successfully jump start his career.

    Good article. I wish more would get the message.

    -Gene

  3. Debra L. Bruce on March 2nd, 2011 6:22 pm

    Thanks for chiming in, Gene. Perhaps if you shared some more details (to the extent you can) about that student’s road to success, others would learn from it.

    Additionally, that would provide one more example that I can give to law students when I speak to them for the Houston Bar Association this month.
    -Debra

  4. Luke Gilman on March 3rd, 2011 2:04 am

    Blogging is a great idea and can definitely open up opportunities for someone with the right inclination. I’m not sure it was a factor in my own job search but a number of the lawyers at firms I interviewed with mentioned reading my blog. I think it gave them an opportunity to get to know me beyond the confines of a 15 minute interview.

    Still, the question of to blog or not to blog often overshadows the question of HOW to blog. I think too many law student blogs are focused on the present instead of the future – the focus is squarely on law school and finding a job, any job, rather than projecting an image of where they want to be, an image that helps a potential employer begin to imagine the blogger as a desired part of their team.

  5. Jack Whittington on March 3rd, 2011 2:13 am

    Debra thank you very much for the kind words – blogging and social media can be a very powerful tool in making a strong impression on potential employers. However, I would caution that students be smart about what they broadcast as well. Constantly lamenting the failings of your professors on Twitter isn’t the way to win friends and influence people.

    For those interested I recently announced that alongside two associates I have met through twitter – we have launched Law School Chat as a place where students and potential students can talk about the challenges of law school. Our first twitterchat will be held on March 13 at 9est/8cst under the hashtag #lawschoolchat – you can also follow us @lawschoolchat

  6. Debra L. Bruce on March 3rd, 2011 11:06 am

    Luke & Jack,
    Thanks for your comments and for reminding students that potential employers can read ALL their blog posts. Not just the ones they want them to see at interview time.

    That goes for tweets on #lawschoolchat, too. Hint: Be wise and have a problem-solving tone, rather than a whining one.
    -Debra

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