Out-of-State Job Search
The Center for Career Services and Lexis recently co-sponsored a program on Out- of-State Job Searches. Assistant Director Samara Sarno discussed the challenges of conducting an out-of-area employment search and outlined search and marketing strategies. For example, students interested in clerking out of state next summer or gaining a position after graduation need to take steps NOW to be most competitive. The key to a successful out-of-state job search is to prepare early in your law school career and be resourceful.
•Timing: Check out the websites of law schools in your geographic area of interest and see if they list the firms who will be interviewing, along with the dates of OCI. To compete with the local applicant pool, you will need to target your mailing to reach those firms before or at the same time as the local OCIs are occurring.
• Also consider arranging an internship or volunteer opportunity for the summer in the city to get involved and make contacts. Government agencies often sponsor summer programs. These programs require independent research and typically have early application dates. A starting point can be the Government Honors & Internship Handbook available in the CCS.
• Be prepared to demonstrate your connection: Assess how you will demonstrate your commitment or connection with the geographic area that you are interested in. Potential employers tend to be leery of out-of-area applicants and will be less likely to invest in that person absent a demonstration of ties to or an interest in the area. Let them know that you grew up in the area, or that you have relatives living there. Employers will be looking for your ties to the area on your resume and cover letter as well as during the interview.
• Develop your network: Re-establish any ties you may have to the area.
Let them know you are interested in relocating to the area and ask them to keep you in mind if they become aware of opportunities or can share contacts. You also can contact CCS for the name of an alumni mentor in the area and make contact. Consider obtaining a student membership to the local bar association. Try to get on their mailing list for events or periodically check their website for news.
• Lexis Account Executive Bonita Young urges students to carefully research employers. Run a LexisNexis/Martindale Hubbell search using the search parameters of UF Law alumni, city desired, and perhaps practice area. She also mentioned that students can access her custom-created quick links by city on the Lexis UF Law webcourse and even set up alerts to be notified of additions or changes to the search.
• CCS also has employer directories available such as Government Agencies and Public Interest Organizations, along with the NALP Directory of Legal Employers, 2006 Directory. While it is true that the NALP Directory contains predominantly large law firms, most firms have websites that commonly list their recruiting information and contacts. Employers routinely consider submissions from interested law students from outside of the area or from law schools where they do not visit campus.
• Conduct outreach: Schedule a visit over a break or during the summer.
If you are able to spend some time in the area, see if there are any scheduled Continuing Legal Education (CLE) seminars, bar receptions, speaker programs or events that you can attend to meet practitioners. Look for volunteer judicial internships to enhance your credentials while bringing you in contact with the local bar. This also may provide a path to a coveted judicial clerkship upon graduation that can segue into a larger firm position upon completion of your term.
• The key is to begin early. You do not want to miss out on opportunities because you were unaware of the timing process.
Keeping OCI In Perspective
Fact: Most UF Law graduates did not obtain their employment through Fall OCI.
• Often cited means of obtaining post- graduate positions included:
• Referral by a business colleague, friend, relative, alumni, or school personnel or
• Iinitiated contact by a targeted mailing or
• Informational interview or
• As a result of networking.
Fact: The majority of Florida law firms are medium-sized and not just seeking students at the top of their class.
• Only 10 percent of all practicing lawyers nationally work at firms of more than 100 lawyers.
Fact: Small- and medium-sized law firms are less likely to participate in Fall OCI.
• Many legal employers hire on an “as needed” basis as opposed to the hiring cycle of large firms.
Fact: Different employers participate in Spring OCI and seek a broader range of students.
• More government employers interview in spring.
Fact: 80 percent of all current job openings are never advertised.
Fact: The best jobs do not always go to the best candidate. They go to the best job strategist. Persistence pays.
Fact: There are myriad job opportunties available to you beyond OCI. Be sure to attend the Beyond OCI: Exploring All Your Career Options program scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 26, in Room 285B at noon to learn more.