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a Law Firm


									Liberal Arts Career Services

                           So you want to work in ...
                           a Law Firm?
                           One of a series of factsheets introducing you to the wide variety of
                           career options open to you as a Liberal Arts student.

                           EXPLORING LAW FIRM POSITIONS

                           While working in a legal environment isn’t by any means required to apply to law school,
                           we encourage our students to experience the law firm environment firsthand prior to
                           committing three years of time and tuition money. Approximately 70% of law students work

      • Paralegal          in a firm after graduation, so even if practicing law isn’t your long-term goal, exploring the

                           firm environment is recommended. We created this guide to help you find both part-time
      • Law Clerk
                           and full-time job opportunities.
   • Legal Assistant
       • Runner
   • Legal Secretary       Don’t focus on titles: In most law firms there isn’t a big difference between being an intern
                           WHAT TO LOOK FOR

    • Legal Intern         (paid or unpaid) and having a part-time job. The responsibilities will be the same, and the
      And more!            important thing is that you can use your powers of observation to see how the lawyers
                           are spending their time. Common job titles include: Paralegal, Law Clerk, Legal Assistant,
                           Runner, Legal Secretary and more. A great deal of overlap exists between job descriptions
                           and you should be prepared to spend at least part of your time doing mundane tasks.
                           Remember the important thing to focus on is what type of work the lawyers are doing, since
                           that is where you are presumably headed. It’s likely you will start out at the bottom, but as

                           you prove yourself, often you’ll be given more interesting responsibilities.

    Start asking your

     friends, fellow
                           In order to find a law firm opportunity, it’s especially important to use your network because
    members of pre-
                           WHERE TO LOOK

   law organizations       oftentimes students find law firm jobs by inheriting a friend’s old position. Because so many
      and sorority         pre-law students intern for law firms during college or work full-time in a firm for a year
      or fraternity        or two prior to starting law school, turnover tends to be high. Many law firms expedite the
    members if they        hiring process by asking the current employee for recommendations of friends who are
   anticipate leaving      interested in the position. Start asking your friends, fellow classmates, members of pre-law
    their position in      organizations and sorority or fraternity members if they anticipate leaving their position
  the future. Having       in the future. Having someone else put in a good word for you is a quick way to get your
   someone else put        resume on top of the pile.
  in a good word for
   you is a quick way      Law firms often target students by placing ads in the classifieds section of The Daily Texan.
  to get your resume       The Austin American Statesman has a separate section for legal job opportunities and several
   on top of the pile.     openings are posted at any given time. AccessUT, and LiberalArts@Work
                           are also great search engines for these types of positions.
                                                                                                      Continued Overleaf

        Liberal Arts Career Services: So you want to work in... Series • Written By Tatem Oldham and Robert Vega
      The University of Texas at Austin • FAC 18 • 512.471.7900 • •
Liberal Arts Career Services

  Book of Lists: If you know you want to work for a large, prestigious firm, take a look at the Book of Lists section in

  our Career Resource Library. You’ll find the top 25 law firms in various cities across the country, including Houston,
  Dallas, Washington D.C., Los Angeles, New York, and of course, Austin. Make a copy of the list to take home with you
  and then start systematically contacting each firm to inquire about any openings. Start with the Employment page of
  each firm’s website.

  Martindale: If you know you want to work in a particular specialization (environmental law, immigration law, etc.),
  go to the Martindale-Hubbell lawyer locator service at to find a list of all firms in a particular
  city practicing that specialty. This website also lists the names of lawyers working at each firm and includes
  information such as their alma mater, foreign languages they speak and more. You can craft an email targeting a
  specific hiring partner to ask about openings (this method works best for internships and when you can point out
  something specific you have in common with the attorney (“I too speak French and spent a year in Paris”)) or just
  use the information to go directly to the firm’s human resources department. This method doesn’t work as well
  for corporate law or for those of you not tied to a particular specialty, as the list of law firms for each city quickly
  becomes overwhelming.

  Read the stories of current and past pre-law students as they consider the strengths of their liberal arts degrees and

  as they prepare for law school and working in the profession.
   Hisham Srour: After a semester in Argentina interning for a human rights organization, an internship with the
       American Bar Association in D.C. and other social justice experiences, Hisham wants to clerk for a judge after
       graduation, with the ultimate aim of becoming a federal judge.
            Read Hisham’s story:
   Eduardo Gardea: Eduardo interned for GSBT, LLP, an asset protection and estate planning law firm in Austin.
       Eduardo graduated in May 2008 and spent the summer working at GSBT and preparing for the LSAT.
            Read Eduardo’s story:

  Law firms look for students who can function in a professional environment (dress professionally, answer the phone

  professionally, etc.). Being dependable is key. Many firms look for bilingual students. The ability to multi-task and
  prioritize is important. You’ll also need a strong resume prior to applying so contact the front desk for an appointment
  with a career coach or check out the Resumes and More section on our website to get started!

  1) Craft a compelling resume             2) Research information about              3) Network with friends, family,

  and cover letter. Demonstrate            law firms. Consider the location,          colleagues, professors and others who
  your interest in legal affairs and       major departments/practices, base          may work in or know someone who
  your strong organizational and           salaries, perks, reviews, stats, quality   works in the legal profession. Check
  analytical skills in your documents.     of life meters, clients and profiles.      out the Texas Exes Career Network to
  For help getting started, use our        Check out the Vault Guide to the Top       connect with UT alumni working in law
  online resume-building tool,             100 Law Firms for help researching         firms in the area of specialization and
  OptimalResume, accessible from           and evaluating all these areas, the        location of interest to you - alumni can
  your LiberalArts@Work account.           guide is available in the LACS Career      offer professional and relevant advice
  Then bring in your documents for a       Resource Library, (FAC 18).                about your interests and job search:
  review with a LACS Career Coach, call                                     
  for appointment: 512-471-7900.

    Liberal Arts Career Services: So you want to work in... Series • Law Firm, V 2.1 - September 2008

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