You have landed at the premiere website dedicated to the small firm job market, created by the authors of the book Small Firms Big Opportunity: How to Get Hired and Succeed in the New Economy.
Small law firms are, in fact, the really big entry-level employer of new attorneys. NALP’s just released data for the Class of 2011 graduates from across the nation, reveals that almost 43% of those who began their career in private practice started in a firm of 2-10 attorneys.
This website is designed to assist law students, graduates, career services professionals, and anyone who is interested in learning about:
Why small firms are a great place to begin your legal career;
The dynamics of small firm practice;
The business of practicing law;
How core competencies affect your ability to succeed as a lawyer.
Samantha Williams’ interview, “How to Get a Job at a Small Firm,” by Ari Kaplan is available http://reinventingprofessionals.com./ recorded on April 22, 2013 .
From “Newly Hired” ’12 Wake Forest Law Grad on Amazon, …”this book is full of tips that make it seem as though someone has been watching me work and hearing my thoughts. I found especially helpful the mentions of common mistakes of new lawyers. It answered for me many questions that I had asked myself but was reluctant to ask attorneys at the office because they were either too busy or for fear of downgrading their opinion of me. The book is full of practical and relevant information regarding not only how to get hired, but how to be successful and professional.” http://www.amazon.com/Small-Firms-Big-Opportunity-Survival/dp/0940675706
Susan Gainen of Pass the Baton says, “Five chapters worth the price of the book” “There’s a First Time For Everything (Chapter 15) and the five core competency chapters are worth the price of this book because they pull back the curtains on issues that are rarely mentioned and even more rarely explained. Without this information, law students and new lawyers increase their learning curves and increase their chances of torpedoing promising legal careers.”
The online version of the ABA Journal recently posted an article about how difficult it is for recent law graduates to find a foothold in the employment market. http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/lost_generation_lawyer/?utm_source=maestro&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=weekly_email
This, of course, is a shock to no one as the focus of almost any unemployed graduate’s job search efforts should be getting a foot in the proverbial door. But this concept begs the question: how does one go about doing that? One of the best ways is by doing a project or some contract work with a small firm. Recognizing that a “foothold” will probably not mean a 40-hour a week job (at least not initially) project work is a great way to show a potential employer that you can add value. For example:
- Demonstrate your superb legal research and drafting abilities by drafting a brief or a motion;
- Assist with trial prep;
- Prepare skeleton outlines for appellate work;
- Help organize a CLE;
- Draft blogs and articles for publication.
Simplistic as these ideas might seem, there is no better way to communicate your potential value to a firm by actually showing what you can do. So make yourself available to your network of friends and colleagues; let them know you are available to help out with projects at a nominal hourly fee. Doing a fantastic job on one project means it is much more likely you will be given another project, and yet another. Plus you are building your list of references. The next thing you know you will have found that full-time position you’ve been looking for!
“Succeeding as a New Clerk or Associate in a Smaller Firm,” will be presented at The Florida Bar General Practice, Solo and Small Firm Section’s 6th Annual Solo and Small Firm Conference, on September 22, 2012, at the Buena Vista Palace, in Orlando, FL by Linda Calvert Hanson, Chair, The Florida Bar General Practice Solo and Small Firm Section and Director of The Florida Bar Center for Professionalism.
Several Florida law schools will be exhibiting at this not to miss event on September 21-22, 2012, that features two concurrent tracks (Practice Management and Technology), during the day and a half of programming. Plus, the event includes plenty of time to interact and network during the breakfasts, lunches, and the reception, and all attending law students will be paired with a conference mentor. In all, this conference provides a great opportunity to meet smaller firm lawyers from across the state while gaining information needed to succeed in small firm practice.
Small Firms Big Opportunity: How to Get Hired (and Succeed) in the New Legal Economy, by Linda Calvert Hanson and Samantha Williams, published by Lawyer Avenue Press is now available on Amazon.com and NALP just in time for the new year.
Purchase information available at http://www.amazon.com/dp/0940675706/ref=cm_sw_su_dp
Much has been said about the Class of 2011 employment data recently published by NALP (Association of Legal Professionals). In fact, it is difficult not to encounter a blog post or newspaper article that avoids the subject of the changing legal employment landscape.
What is most notable for law students interested in private practice is this: the kinds of firms where graduates are finding jobs has changed dramatically. “The percentage of private practice jobs with large law firms of 501 attorneys or more fell to 16.2%, down more than 9 percentage points from figures of over 25% for both the Classes of 2008 and 2009, and down more than 4 percentage points from last year when the number fell to 20.5% for the Class of 2010. On the other end of the scale, jobs with firms of two to ten lawyers (emphasis added) represented 42.9% of all private practice jobs taken by members of this class, a rise of 11.3 percentage points in three years, up from 31.6% for the Class of 2008.And, the number of graduates reporting that they are working as solo practitioners has similarly soared over three years from 3.3% of all private practice jobs for the Class of 2008 to 6% for the Class of 2011. Taken together, jobs at firms of 50 or fewer lawyers accounted for 59% of all private practice jobs for this class.” (NALP Jobs & JDs report, published 2012).