How Do I Find Legal Employment?
Every year, there are law students who avoid Career Services because they hold the following mythical beliefs:
- Career Services will only help those students in the top 10% of the class (or top 5% or top 1% depending on who is anxious about the job).
- All students are supposed to get their jobs through on-campus interviews (OCI) and if they are not selected to participate in OCI they have just decreased their chances of getting a job.
- The norm is that all graduating students will have jobs by graduation. If you are unemployed at graduation, then something’s wrong with you.
The reality is:
- Career Services helps students from across the grade spectrum prepare for the job search process and ultimately land jobs. We are here to advocate for all of our students. So we do not pre-screen on behalf of the employers, and we will forward application materials from any student applicant who meets the correct class year requirement. Our goal is to help every student show their credentials in their best light in resumes, cover letters and interviews.
- The vast majority of students will not get their jobs through on-campus interviews. That statistic is actually the norm. One important reason for the small number of jobs resulting from OCI is that well over half of the University of Mississippi graduates each year get jobs working in private practice and of that number, the majority goes to work in small to mid-sized firms (2-10 attorneys). Smaller firms cannot predict their hiring needs months in advance and often the attorneys cannot take a day’s worth of billable hours to recruit at the law school. You will find that the majority of OCI employer participants are from larger law firms in Mississippi and neighboring states. The OCI process is really a service to both the students and employers to allow interviews to take place here without extensive disruption of class attendance in order to interview.
- Although, quite understandably, students would rather have a job in hand at graduation so they don’t have to think about it during the bar exam, most graduating students will not have a job at graduation. Again, very few smaller firms can offer a job, hold it open while they wait for you to take bar review course and then get bar results. When a small to mid-sized firm hires an associate, usually they need a licensed attorney who can appear in court on their own or file documents over their own signature right away. They are hiring because of their immediate need.
So now that we’ve tackled some of the most prevalent myths, let’s find out how people really find a job in the law.
Law students, who after all are entering a learned profession, should do everything that they can to obtain legal experience while in law school. Information about the legal clinics, externships and internships is available to you on other portions of the website. Here, the Career Services Staff wants to emphasize that most students will get their summer and permanent jobs through job listings on Symplicity, networking and the resulting self-initiated contacts. We invite you to read the article, “How to Get a Legal Job Now” by The National Jurist’s editor, Jack Crittenden. This article underscores that your job searches should constitute a significant amount of time throughout law school. No need to despair; the staff at the Career Services Office stands ready, willing and able to help you navigate the process. Read the article to get a feel for the level of commitment required to land a legal job. Then sign up for an appointment with a Career Services staff member to get started.