Increase your profile in the legal industry

The legal industry is notoriously fluid, in that lawyers can work for a number of different employers throughout their career, and there is constant movement within different law firms. But how do you ensure that your career is moving forward as these changes take place? As a lawyer, it’s important to build yourself a strong and reputable profile. By making yourself a visible and respected industry leader in your legal area of expertise, you’re more likely to be considered for promotions and continually develop your career.

Here are a few tips on how to increase your profile in the legal industry.

–          Network. The key to a strong profile in the legal industry is networking. Networking can sometimes be thought of as a dirty word, but it doesn’t have to be aggressive or insincere. Networking can simply involve continually following up on leads and keeping in contact with people you’ve met at industry events or within your line of work. The saying ‘it’s not who you know, but what you know’ rings true, but it’s also important that when you meet people, you ask smart and intelligent questions, are amiable, and actively pursue a relationship with them. That way, you’ll always come to mind should legal jobs in your area of expertise arise.

–          Contribute to or comment on legal journals. If you’re not confident or experienced enough to publish journal articles yourself, you can still be involved in the conversations that circulate around such articles by commenting on the stories. Additionally, you can submit your own articles for online legal blogs, or ask to be involved in the writing of reports and articles within your law firm that are often distributed to clients. Being involved in industry news and commentary on events or developments will help build your reputation as a knowledgeable and experienced lawyer.

–          Host a blog. Whether you are just starting out or have some experience behind you, a blog is great way to create a profile and identity for yourself. Blogs allow for short, insightful yet more relaxed posts and articles. It also presents the opportunity to associate and network with a number of other legal bloggers.

–          Be a presence in social media and in online spaces. Even the legal world has made the shift and transition to social media. One of the most effective ways for a lawyer to make themselves an industry leader in today’s online space is to have an active and frequently used Twitter account that gives their followers interesting and relevant tweets.

Building yourself a name within the legal industry and constantly improving your profile will make you more visible and reputable. Whether you’re involved in environmental or corporate law jobs this will help make you the most attractive candidate when positions arise, and help to fast-track your career.

More detailed information on increasing your legal profile.

Author Bio: A well-established and strong profile will help you to continually further your career. Find new job prospects on online job boards such as www.twosteps.com

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What to do after your legal job interview

When you leave a legal job interview, you may sigh with relief. But even though the interview is over, the job search process is not. There is lots of conflicting advice on post-interview protocol, but here are some suggestions to ensure that the employer knows that you are interested and that you are the best candidate for the job (without being pushy, of course!).

–          Follow up e-mail. At the end of an interview, make sure that you always get the correct names and the contact details of all that are interviewing you. Then, on the day of the interview, send a brief thank-you e-mail. In the e-mail, thank them for their time, briefly outline your credentials and why you are suited for the role. Finish the e-mail by telling them when you will follow up with a phone call (usually, it is safe to give a week). Sending a follow up e-mail will assure the interviewer that you want the job.

–          Always have voicemail. We don’t always have our phones on us, nor can we always answer them (especially if we are still working at a job while applying for another). It is important, therefore, to have a professional voicemail message that prospective employers getting in contact with you can leave a message at. If they have to chase you and call you repeatedly, it is more work for them and you become a less attractive candidate. Always return voicemail messages as soon as you can.

–          Prepare your referees. No matter what law jobs you are applying for, it is likely that your interviewer will call your referees. After the interview, have them prepared for the call. E-mail referees the job spec and let them know that they should expect a call. You don’t want them to be caught off guard.

–          Follow-up call. Make sure that you follow up with the call on the day you said you would. Try and avoid calling first thing in the morning, right after lunch or just before home time, as these are times of the day when your interviewer/prospective employer may not have the time to speak.

If you’ve had a phone interview, follow the same protocol as described above. Just make sure that if you’ve applied for London law jobs, for example, or any other overseas positions, you get the time difference right! Remember that your actions after the interview are just as important as your actions during, so make sure you continue to make the right impression and follow the post-interview protocol right up until you’ve got the job.

Author bio: If you’re looking for a new job, search online job boards such as www.twosteps.com for access to available legal jobs.

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Tips for your online legal job search

The online world has transformed the employment landscape and the job search process. If you’ve been in the same job for a while, or are new to the online world of job hunting, then here are a few tips and suggestions for making the most of the tools and job opportunities available. There are a number of legal job boards and online job sites that will assist you with your job search, but using them effectively is the most important step to getting an interview and landing a job.

Be familiar with sites. Before you actively apply for jobs, get familiar with the websites and online job boards that you are looking at. Know how to narrow down your searches by the job sectors, job type, salaries and location categories that you can apply to your search. When it comes to making a shortlist, this will cut down your search time.

Keep a record of all the jobs you have applied for. Applying for jobs online can be as easy as a few clicks. This can mean that before you know it you might have applied for 10 or so jobs. When replies or offers of interest are returned, it can be difficult to know which company it is replying to which job spec you responded to. It is a good idea, therefore, to keep a record of each company and job spec that you have applied to.

Positive online presence. When applying for jobs online, it is likely that prospective employers will look at your online presence. Make sure you know what information about you is available online, and what will pop up should they type your name in on Google. This might require the cleanup of your social media accounts, such as Facebook or Twitter.

Keep your resume and online cover letter short. The rate of reading something online is significantly slower than on paper. Keep your resume and cover letter short when responding to online job ads. This advice is applicable for all online legal job applications, whether you are looking for banking law jobs or clerkships.

The ubiquity of the internet has made it possible to advance legal careers in the online world. Familiarise yourself with online job boards and websites, and follow these simple steps to be a successful online job applicant.

Author bio: Start your online legal job search on job boards such as www.twosteps.com.

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First Impressions Count

The age old idiom is true – first impressions DO count. When it comes to your legal career, no matter how good your experience and qualifications are, if you don’t make a good first impression on the legal firm or company you are interested in working for you are less likely to pique the interest of your interviewers and secure the job.
Making a good first impression is not just about nailing the interview. There are a number of ways to impress your potential employees before you meet them face to face. Here are a few steps to making the best impression possible throughout the job application and interview process.

– Resume and cover letter. To secure an interview, your resume and cover letter will need to make a positive first impression. Your resume should succinctly and clearly describe your credentials, but it is important that your cover letter gives the employers a clear idea of not only your goals and motivations in applying for the job, but also an idea of your personality. Be polite, friendly yet clear in your writing. Ensure the cover letter is personally addressed. The quality and tone of your cover letter will give you the best chance of moving onto the next stage of the hiring process. Be sure to double check your spelling and punctuation as mistakes in these will almost certainly mean you do not make it to interview.

– Phone/e-mail correspondence. Once a prospective employer has read your resume and selected you for an interview, it is likely that there will be some phone or e-mail correspondence before the face-to-face meeting. This gives candidates an added opportunity to make a good impression. A professional yet friendly phone and e-mail manner will help employers to form a positive opinion and outlook on a candidate prior to the interview. Always answer the phone in a professional manner and be respectful and polite without being obsequious. Keep e-mail correspondence professional, brief yet pleasant.

– The interview. Preparation is key to the interview. Whichever practice area you are applying for, be it corporate or banking law jobs, make sure you have researched the work the company is doing in that area so you are prepared and able to ask insightful questions.

Think about what questions you might get asked and how you might answer them, but also prepare some questions that you have in regards to the role or the law firm. That way, you’ll show those conducting the interview that you are serious about the role and take an active interest in the company.

Another aspect of making a first impression comes down to your appearance and manner in the interview. Avoid fidgeting and using words such as ‘um’. Rather, give firm and confident answer to their questions and maintain eye contact. Sit with correct posture and mirror your interviewer’s behaviour when it comes to hand gestures and smiling. Dress in a professional and a tidy manner and make sure you appear well groomed (with tidy hair and clean nails, etc). It’s always better to overdress than under dress when it comes to an interview.

When it comes to legal jobs, it is especially important as a candidate to make a good impression, from the application right through to the interview. The employer will look at you to see how you will be able to go out and represent them to clients. Actively seek to make a positive impression on prospective employers by maintaining a professional, polite yet friendly tone and exuding confidence in your ability to perform the role.

Author bio: Find a role you’re interested in on legal job boards such as www.twosteps.com, and then take the appropriate steps to make the best first impressions possible and secure the position.

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Moving your legal career out of Australia: Why is it so difficult?

I noticed the announcement a couple of weeks ago in Lawyers Weekly that Michael Cripps was leaving as General Counsel of IAG to join international law firm Clyde & Co in Shanghai. Good luck to him. There is nothing particularly surprising here as Mr Cripps speaks Mandarin and previously spent 13 years in Shanghai with Allens Arthur Robinson and Glencore.

However, what interests me is how many other senior lawyers in Australia want to move their legal careers overseas beyond this high-profile example?

My past experience has taught me that such moves are uncommon and difficult: in all my years as a head-hunter in Sydney I think I can safely say that almost every partner whom I introduced to overseas employers – mainly law firms – received an offer or would have – had they not withdrawn.

But, and this is a big but, no-one accepted the offer.

Now you could put that down to my skills as a negotiator but that would not be entirely fair. I got the offer and that was my job.

The simple fact is that a move out of Australia is in the ‘too hard’ basket for almost everyone. Make no mistake, the talent of Australian lawyers is in demand but many cannot get themselves over that last hurdle.

It is a decision based on a risk assessment and the more senior the lawyer the higher the potential risk:

Here are the main factors that can make a move so difficult:

  • Money: a partner elect in Sydney and Melbourne can earn more than in overseas regions such as the UK
  • Portability & Recognition: it’s easier to be big fish in a smaller pond in the Australian sector
  • Lifestyle: high earning partners in Australia cannot match that lifestyle overseas regardless of cash, except maybe in Cayman and Hong Kong
  • Family: many lawyers have children in school, and partners who may find the move daunting or impossible
  • Time: it can take between 6-12 months to finalise a move, and interest wanes over this time period
  • Security: a prospective partnership overseas is not as secure as an established current one
  • Home: for partnership overseas you need to commit to a minimum of five years – if you want to come home you need to maintain links and keep options open, but it is a risk

It’s a difficult move, so many partners also join clients or see out their days as senior advisers within corporations or Government bodies, probably the most well known being Tony D’Aloisio ex managing partner of Mallesons and now Chairman of ASIC.

Is it possible that Mr D’Aloisio could have been the head of the FSA in UK, or that other partners could turn up at firms such as Clifford Chance in London or Hong Kong?

In theory, yes, but because of all of the reasons described above – the reality is usually different.

Posted in Headhunting, Law, Law jobs, Lawyer, Lawyers, Legal recruitment, Online headhunting, Recruitment | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Legal Career Tips for Young Lawyers – should you stay or should you go?

I have read many comments on blogs this week, quite a few on linkedin, about young lawyers who are trying to make decisions about their legal careers at a very early stage, mainly driven by redundancy, apathy, hard work and the tough economic conditions.

Why is the decision so hard?  Being a solicitor or barrister used to be a job for life and carried kudos.  Many law students study law not only because it is their passion but also because it’s hard to find a better or more useful career.

So where do the problems lie?

I recall from university that we were told that only about 50% of our year would actually take the professional exams after graduation.  Then, beyond that point, this number is further reduced by the fallout from the exams and those who still don’t know what they want to do after taking them.  Perhaps as few as 10% of those first law students are still practicing after a few years, and the process is also very long and expensive for those who do make it through.

Many young lawyers want to leave the profession but just don’t know how to and the competition for jobs is overwhelming. It is true that most law jobs today are for mid level lawyers, at least twice as many in the 4-6 year bracket than in the NQ-2 year level – as evidenced on the legal jobs board twosteps.

Let me dispel a few myths.

  • If you don’t like hard work you are in the wrong job.  You may leave a large firm for a smaller one but the workload will still be intense, what can change is quality, more interaction with colleagues and autonomy.
  • The adage that ‘less is more’ can be very true.  Don’t kid yourself about money though – if you work less the chances are you will also be paid less.
  • Don’t stay in the profession if you don’t enjoy it.  The skills that you have learned and used as a lawyer can be applied to any type of business.  I left the profession 15 years ago, own two businesses in different countries, and still use my legal skills every week.   You may earn slightly less than you were when you left but that should change quickly.

Two last points to take into consideration before making a decision:

  • In my experience most young lawyers take between 6 to 12 months to get their heads around leaving and then act on, it is big decision so don’t rush, and don’t let your ego get the better of you.
  • Lastly if you really want to stay then do something worthwhile and make sure your cv is always current and has something interesting on it.  Work out what you want to achieve and keep at it, you can always re-evaluate.  Just don’t make the mistake of having a good cv and making it a bad one by moving jobs often and being inconsistent with your choice of employers.

Further reading:

http://legaleaglemhm.wordpress.com/

http://fillmydays.blogspot.com/

http://www.lawsociety.org.uk/careersinlaw.page

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Online Recruitment Trends: ‘No Agencies’ and Job boards

I noticed in this week’s Legal Week – one of the leading Legal Industry online and print publications in UK – that at least half of the ads were placed by employers who stipulated ‘No Agencies’.

Post recession, employers in all industries are cost conscious and there is definitely a growing trend of employers advertising directly – using new online recruitment tools like job boards

Is this DIY approach something new or a growing recruitment trend?

Why Use Job Boards?

Job boards offer vastly reduced fees at not much more than the cost of a job posting.

The difference between paying a few hundred pounds and several thousand makes them certainly seem worthwhile on the face of it. But cost is only one consideration and how many job boards are actually making money?

Here are the key points to consider when looking at why companies use job boards and the benefits of using them.

Traffic and Visibility

Job boards that offer some human interaction with processing, matching, screening and filtering are basically just online agencies who have realized the need to diversify – nothing wrong with that.  However, if employers believe that they can do the screening all by themselves then why use a job board? The answer is simple – increased traffic and visibility.

A single employer will never generate as much interest or traffic by advertising a role on its own website as it can by posting on a job board and benefitting from the extensive marketing campaigns they run to generate traffic and candidates. And being one of many employers on a single site also attracts a more diverse talent pool.

The point is that employers  need to be active online within a similar pool of employers, to get as much traffic and relevant responses as possible.  Recruitment agencies advertise roles that are at times entirely fictitious and the majority of the time the employer is just listed as a ‘well known corporation’, which does not really say anything and is certainly not going to attract those elusive high quality passive candidates.

Google & Job Boards

Interestingly, I was told last year by an Australian SEO consultancy that Google had virtually stopped indexing and was giving very low quality scores to job boards that launched into beta.  Why – because so many never made it or were spurious at best. So, best to use established and respected sites that have high PageRank.

Tips for Employers

  • Job boards generate more traffic than offline agencies
  • Huge cost saving in fees
  • Online management of candidates
  • Employers advertise under their own name
  • Manage all applications themselves, no hidden agenda

Agency recruitment is far from over but employers are far more discerning with their suppliers.  Whether a global job board such as Monster, a large regional job board such as Seek in Australia or specialist international job boards such as twosteps (who list global legal careers) they can all provide far more exposure and more targeted advertising which leads to a richer and more accessible talent pool.

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