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"It was all a dream," B.I.G. said, but you probably didn't think it was this much of a pipe dream when you were entering law school. For those of us belonging to the "lost generation" of lawyers, we entered school right before the economy tanked and graduated right before the traditional hiring model returned. That meant OCIs with two firms from Birmingham, job fairs with two firms from Fresno, and Boston Legal-esque hopes and dreams crushed.
You remember those naive days, don't you? Pre-law job fairs where schools touted "average starting salary in the private sector - 160k!" But you're a dreamer. You're listening to the theme song from Flashdance while perusing craigslist in a separate browser window right now. But if you're looking for a BigLaw job on craigslist, you're doing it wrong.
Here are three ways to increase your chances of landing that 80-hour work week:
Easier said than done, right? For those of us who descended from pig and cattle farmers, our idea of networking might involve line dancing to Taylor Swift and killing a six pack of Budweiser long necks. That typically won't put you in a position to rub elbows with BigLaw partners.
Want to up your networking game? Start here, with tips from FindLaw's Strategist. Beyond that, lose the cowboy boots and join your nearest bar association(s). Go to events related to practice areas that you actually enjoy. Read up on developments in the law so that you know what you're talking about. And never, ever ask a woman when she's "due."
Though 90 percent of statistics are made up on the spot, the vast majority of jobs are handed out through networking and nepotism. Don't hate the players - be the players.
Yeah, you got a sweet free couch through the listings. You found your apartment on there. That doesn't mean you'll find a reputable employer, however. There are better sites, with less spammers and data miners, and with verified job listings. GoBigLaw.com is one resource. Indeed.com, though a general job site, is another. Keep an eye on your local bar association's job listings as well.
Your career services office said it was a bad idea. No one gets a job from mass mailing. All of those stories you heard? They're nothing but urban legends.
We thought so too, at least until a dear friend and former roommate mass mailed his way into one of the largest BigLaw firms in New York. Sure, he had the grades and academic pedigree, but still, what do you have to lose besides pride and $20 in paper and mailing supplies?
Don't hit the Yellow Pages for firm contacts and addresses. Try the NALP directory. From there, you can download a mail merge list to create those hundreds of form letters in less time.