Good Luck, Ron: Or How Law Graduates Might Stand Out in a Terrible Market
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Good Luck, Ron: Or How Law Graduates Might Stand Out in a Terrible Market

Every once in a while I get a message from a law student looking for advice. Two years ago I wrote a particularly lengthy response to one student's request and I thought I would share it here so that I can link to it again in future.

Last week I bashed LinkedIn a little bit for the way it has become an echo chamber for faux humility. I don't have any answers to that problem. But to lighten the mood, this week I thought I might bring a slightly more positive angle to the forum.

Every once in a while I get a message from a law student looking for advice on what they should do to join the profession. Two years ago I wrote a particularly lengthy response to one student's request and I thought I would share it here so that I can link to it again when other students ask for advice in future.

This was written in November 2018 and so it's possible it has dated a little bit. The text is also a little bit hard to read since it was all typed out on a phone.

The 2018 Advice

Meet Ron

Bennett's Initial Response - In hindsight, not that helpful

Ron's Polite Follow-up

(The smiley face adds a nice personal touch)

Bennett's Advice

(it occurs to me now I've not really answered his questions about paralegals)
(I can't believe I've written 'notwithstanding' here - such a dick)

To summarise:

  • I remember how it sucked to be looking for a job after finishing law school and I'm sure that hasn't changed.
  • You should assume a 90% failure rate and assume each rejection is probably not about you personally.
  • Some people will tell you to customise each application to the recipient but I think that's wrong. I think you will get better mileage preparing a good application that can be cast wider with little customisation.
  • Spend some money on making your application as easy to digest as possible.
  • Infographics. Always and often.
  • Don't rely on a CV and Cover Letter. Chances are you won't win that game. Can you stand out through something else?

Applied to 2020

I'm not in the loop these days but I have to assume finding a legal graduate role in 2020 isn't any easier than it was in 2018.

I think all of the above still applies. Perhaps Prezi is no longer as novel as it was then, but no doubt there is equally brilliant emerging tools that could be implemented into a growing law firm's practice - if only they had just the right law graduate to do the heavy lifting (Roam Research comes to mind).

The most important thing is to not let the circumstances become overwhelming. I fell into what I'm doing now. I've given myself every opportunity to fuck it up along the way and yet I'm somehow still employed. I firmly believe that eventually a law graduate can find the right opportunity and transform it into the beginning of their legal career. Just keep going.