How to Put Job Placement Agencies to Work for You After Law School

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It was a challenging road, but you went the distance: You graduated from law school. While earning your law degree really came down to your own hard work, there's help to be found for accomplishing your next step: finding a job. Among the resources at your disposal are legal job placement agencies.

Why turn to job placement agencies? For one, it's useful to have the support of knowledgeable guides with legal industry experience as you navigate the legal hiring environment, which can be challenging for new grads. Job placement agencies can also play an important role in helping you evolve from an up-and-coming legal professional looking to break into the field to an in-demand candidate with access to an array of legal employment opportunities.

It's all about skills and experience
The prestige of your law school and your academic performance at that institution are certainly factors a potential employer will consider. But skills and experience are what can tip the scales in your favor. The legal profession has been undergoing a period of transformation, and organizations are hiring skilled, experienced legal professionals who come with a book of business. Even with rising caseloads and the difficulty of finding experienced talent, many employers are not as quick to hire recent law school graduates as they once were.

When law firms and corporate legal departments can't find the talent they need in-house or through their own external search, many turn to job placement agencies for help. In fact, the use of legal professionals on a project or contract basis has become a common strategy for accessing specific expertise that may be needed for only a short period.

So what does this mean for you as a new law school graduate? Job placement agencies can offer you interim legal roles at law firms or corporate legal departments where you can start gaining the specialized skills and real-world experience today's employers seek for full-time roles. In short, leading job placement agencies focused on recruiting legal talent will strive to place you in assignments that not only fit your current abilities but also provide the opportunity for you to grow professionally.

Here are a few ways to make the most of the valuable relationships you can build with job placement agencies:

  • Boost your marketability. Recruiters at leading job placement agencies typically have firsthand experience working in the legal profession. So they can provide you with useful legal career advice, including how to write a resume that will catch a hiring manager's eye and how to prepare for an interview. Some job placement agencies also provide timely industry research that helps ensure candidates know what skills employers seek – and the starting salaries for legal jobs.
  • Build knowledge – and find your specialty. Job placement agencies can connect you with legal training to help you build or refine your skills. You might also have the opportunity to earn Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credit. CLE and other courses and training that job placement agencies offer can help you home in on the practice area that's right for you and allow you to start building the requisite skills.
  • Consider a pro bono project to gain experience and a competitive edge. Check in with your alma mater or local community groups to see if there are nonprofit organizations that need legal help. You could lend them your expertise and, in turn, gain valuable work experience that can make you a more attractive candidate.

Job placement agencies can help launch your legal career in a positive direction. You can gain the practical experience needed to compete for in-demand roles or simply earn income while you prepare to take the bar (or explore non-traditional legal careers). You might even decide to commit to project-oriented work indefinitely: Many legal professionals – including those with years of experience – enjoy the schedule flexibility and diversity of assignments that job placement agencies can offer them.

Find out more about the advantages of working as a temporary or project professional by visiting Robert Half Legal's "Candidate FAQ" page.