Posts Tagged legal careers

Happy Law Day!

by Kristen Pavón

Today’s the day we celebrate our commitment to the rule of law! President Dwight Eisenhower established Law Day in 1958 and 3 years later, Congress made it official.

I never celebrated Law Day while in law school (probably because it lands during finals high-time), but today, I will take a step back to think about the current state of the legal profession, public interest law, and my role in it all.

How are you celebrating Law Day 2012?

If you’re looking for some Law Day fun, check out the ABA’s Law Day page.

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Learning to Lawyer: 6 Tips for Compelling Communication

by Kristen Pavón

Hello! We are back in Washington, D.C. after a fun-filled week in “weird” Austin! If you’ve read last week’s blog posts or you were in Austin with us, then you know about the fabulous delicious BBQ programming at NALP’s Annual Education Conference.

One session I attended — “Be a Compelling Communicator” — had some great tips on delivering more effective presentations. Public speaking is one of those “soft” skills that is crucial to lawyering at basically every phase of litigation — with clients, adversaries, witnesses, senior/supervising attorneys, in court, etc. It also doesn’t hurt to have some communication tricks up your sleeve when networking and/or interviewing.

Here are a few nuggets of truth from Brent Baer‘s session:

1. What kind of speaker do you want to be? Good speakers inform their audiences, while great speakers influence them.

2. What are compelling communicators made of? Compelling communicators are engaging, confident, inspiring, knowledgeable and memorable.

3. Don’t make your audience yawn! Use the classic question, “How many of you…,” to include and engage your audience.

4. Get to taping! Record your presentations, then watch your performance to find out where you need improvement.

5. Take it easy! Focus on improving one skill per week.

6. Fashion matters. Speakers look most credible in navy, black, and gray.

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Job o’ the Day: Summer Internship at American Immigration Council in DC!

The Legal Action Center (LAC) of the American Immigration Council is looking for second-year law students to join the LAC staff as legal interns this summer. Interns must be dynamic, self-starters with strong research and writing skills and a commitment to the LAC’s mission.

Intern projects may include: monitoring and analyzing immigration decisions; legal research and memo writing; and drafting practice advisories, pleadings and briefs. The LAC advocates for fundamental fairness in U.S. immigration law. It is staffed by experienced immigration lawyers who play a leading role in immigration litigation across the country.

For more information, see the listing at PSLawNet!

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Landing the Job: A Few Resume Tips From Legal Recruiters

by Kristen Pavón

This morning, I listened to a pretty informative ABA Journal podcast on “How to Craft a Resume that Recruiters Will Love.” While the recruiters focused on resumes for private law firms positions, some of the speakers’ advice also applies to public interest resumes.

  1. Objectives are out — if you’re a senior lawyer, try a summary instead.
  2. Including your hobbies and interests is a personal choice. Depending on what you include, it may help build rapport or it could hurt you.
  3. Don’t use pronouns.
  4. High school is ancient history — leave it off.
  5. If your GPA is 3.0 or above, put it on your resume. (*I’m undecided on this one…)

The podcast speakers — legal recruiters — emphasized that lawyers are snooty and snobby about education (her words, not mine) and because of that, if you leave your GPA off your resume, employers will assume that it’s below a 3.0. Is this true? Is this true in the public interest world?

You can listen to the 25-minute podcast or read the transcript here.


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Landing the Job: Blog Your Way to the Top!

From the National Law Journal:

Lawyers finish school prepared to think like lawyers, but are they prepared to develop business and survive in a competitive economy?

Well, no, not usually. To remedy this situation, Fordham University School of Law brought in Silvia Hodges, who earned the first doctorate degree on record in legal services marketing. Last spring, she launched a course on the topic. While a far cry from the usual torts or constitutional law curricula, her class is essential. It aids law students in developing their personal brands.

Hodges encourages students to improve their value by blogging (among other things like taking courses in the area you want to practice in, joining associations and interest groups, etc.).

“Blogging is a great tool to help law students accomplish this [building your brand],” Hodges said. “Great posts show that you are familiar with the topic. You become part of the discussion, become known among those interested in the topic. Having valuable contacts online is part of becoming a thought leader. You get your name out, it gives you visibility and helps you with search engine optimization. Your name and content will pop up when people look for your topic. Hopefully, this will help you get hired.”

I agree that blogging on legal topics you’re interested in can help you land a job. However, because blog writing is not the same as legal brief writing, I would suggest researching blogs and blog writing styles before starting your own.

Do you have a blog? Are you thinking about starting one?

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Wondering How to Get an Attorney Mentor? Here’s How.

by Kristen Pavón

Michael P. Maslanka, the managing partner of the Dallas office of Constangy, Brooks & Smith, authored a post on about how to approach a mentor. He gives 5 great tips for law students and new attorneys.

It’s easy to lose sight of the big picture and think about mentoring from the mentor’s perspective when you’re so caught up in your own job searching worries, troubles and goals — but we can’t forget the the attorneys who are so willing to help us young ones and everything they’ve got going on!

Here are Maslanka’s 5 Tips on How to Approach a Mentor:

• No. 1: Be humble.

• No. 2: Time is our most valuable possession.

• No. 3: If you say something is important, treat it as if it is important.

• No. 4: Create contact capital.

• No. 5: Stay in touch.

In addition to these great tips, Maslanka offers some wise insight for each one. Check it out here; it’s worth it.

Thoughts? Anything you’d add to the list?

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Job o’ the Day: Director of Programs at the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy in DC!

The American Constitution Society for Law and Policy (ACS) is one of the nation’s leading progressive legal organizations. The American Constitution Society (ACS) believes that law should be a force to improve the lives of all people. ACS works for positive change by shaping debate on vitally important legal and constitutional issues through development and promotion of high-impact ideas to opinion leaders and the media; by building networks of lawyers, law students, judges and policymakers dedicated to those ideas; and by countering the activist conservative legal movement that has sought to erode our enduring constitutional values. By bringing together powerful, relevant ideas and passionate, talented people, ACS makes a difference in the constitutional, legal and public policy debates that shape our democracy.

ACS is looking for an experienced, creative, detail oriented, versatile and energetic Director of Programs based in Washington, D.C.  The Director of Programs will play a vital role in coordinating and facilitating ACS’s rapidly expanding output of innovative, highly relevant substantive legal and public policy work. This position will report to the Vice President of Policy Development and Programming.

Learn how to apply at PSLawNet!

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