As the state capital of Texas, Austin is a vibrant, culturally diverse city filled with endless opportunities for talented legal professionals seeking greener career pastures. As an Austin-based attorney, blazing a more rewarding career path takes the right mix of lawyer marketing and networking skills.
Articles under Job Success
Like any other profession, Houston-based lawyers rely on networking. As one example of lawyer marketing, professional networks are all about building rapport and developing mutually beneficial relationships. The more you network, the easier it is to establish and differentiate yourself.
There are thousands of legal recruiters in the US and some are better than others. As a potential client, not knowing what to look for in a legal recruiter can be disastrous. Here’s a recent example of two candidates who mistakenly placed their trust in the same legal recruiting firm:
“My husband and I both submitted our resume to the agency to help in our job search. We submitted our resumes separately, of course and we both received an email back saying they do not have the resources to help us. Both of us have 15 years of experience, so I am not sure who they help.”
New rules have been announced for lawyers seeking Admission Without Examination (waive-in) to be admitted in Texas. Currently in order to be licensed in Texas without taking the Texas Bar Examination, you must demonstrate that you:
- Hold a J.D. from an ABA-approved U.S. law school
- Are licensed to practice law in another state
- Have been actively and substantially engaged in the lawful practice of law as your principal business or occupation for at least 5 of the 7 years immediately preceding your application
- Have never failed the Texas Bar Examination
While working with legal professionals looking for a new job, compensation is of course one of the primary things we discuss. Unless you’re a lawyer working for a big AmLaw firm with stair-step salaries, it’s important to do your homework and have all the facts before you accept an offer, or a counteroffer is made. Maybe they did “hit you with their best shot”, putting significant thought and consideration into your offer. If you’re working with a recruiter, they should be able to offer insight into their client about “wiggle room” in the budget, additional equity or that available corner office. But, before you accept or a potential insult is delivered and a counteroffer ill received, know the facts.
With unemployment at a record low, it’s more challenging than ever for law firms to find and hire lateral attorneys. In this red-hot Texas market, job seekers need to be enticed to leave their current jobs. We’ve found most of the on-point candidates are ones we’ve “headhunted”. Sometimes they are passively in the job market, keeping an eye on job boards or checking-in with us periodically to “test the waters”. Often, we are starting from scratch.
As legal recruiters, one of the most common questions we’re asked is “how’s the job market”? Translation: I’m thinking about changing jobs and want to get an idea of what my chances are. There’s no one-size-fits-all answer. The job market in Texas continues to boom and the cycle of in-demand practice areas is continually in flux. Yesterday it was apples and today it’s oranges. Tomorrow, who knows.
Job seekers, employees and recruiters can get in touch with people of the same or similar background and extend their professional network with an aim to get noticed. Whether it’s Twitter, LinkedIn, or another platform, each one gives an opportunity to interact and grow your network.
A huge new crop of students will be entering their first year of law school at schools across Texas in a couple of weeks. While job opportunities and career paths accessible to Texas lawyers are boundless, learning as much as you can early on about the diverse career paths will make a significant difference in your future. You need to dedicate the time, attention and commitment it deserves to educate yourself about the different areas of the law so that you may equip yourself with the knowledge necessary to make an informed choice as to your area of pursuit. Take advantage of mentoring programs offered at your law school, talk to your professors, especially the adjuncts, who have practical experience in the “real world,” and talk to as many recent law graduates and practicing attorneys as you can to learn about the career paths they have chosen, and why.
As a legal recruiter, it goes without saying that my days are spent reaching out to candidates for potential placements at law firms and being met with a fair share of reluctance from those candidates when it comes to chatting about the opportunity being offered. However, I’ve found that the more junior the attorney or associate, the more hesitant they are to engage in conversation. And, I get it. Junior associates, especially those at large firms, have gotten where they are by keeping their heads down throughout their brief careers transitioning from academia to now practicing at a firm—and, hopefully in a field—for which they worked so hard to land. In law school, they got good grades, graduated in the top 5, 10, 15%, etc., made law review, Order of the Coif, and various honors, etc. As new associates, they follow instructions, meet their billable hours, and dare not think that the firm they’ve landed at might not be the right fit long-term. Further, why would an associate want to move after only a year or two, or maybe three or four, only to land at another firm that, in their mind, is likely very similar to their current firm in most respects. Lest their resume start to project the impression that they’re a “job hopper”.