Young Lawyers Connect E-Newsletter

Summer 2009

Save the Date : 2 nd Annual Young Lawyers Connect First Thursdays Series Kickoff Reception-Sept 10 th

Please join us on September 10 th from 6:30-8:30pm to celebrate the 2 nd year of the YLC First Thursdays Series. Last year over 1,500 young attorneys, CPAs, financial planners and other young professionals attended this series to expand their networks and have fun. Attendees will enjoy beverages, hors d’oeuvres, and the chance to win great door prizes. Check back soon for early registration discounts.

First Thursdays Series

Young Lawyers Connect Kick-off Cocktail Reception
Sept. 10, 6:30 - 8:30 pm

Spirit of New York Dinner Cruise
Oct. 1, 7-10:30 pm

Yamazaki Tasting
Nov. 12, 6:30-8:30

View First Thursdays Photos

Thank you to our First Thursdays Sponsors: New York Law Journal, Practical Law Company, and Spirit Cruises

 Getting Noticed By Executive Recruiters
By Caroline Ceniza-Levine of SixFigureStart

A workshop attendee who worked as in-house counsel felt she did not get the same notice from recruiters as her attorney colleagues in law firms. So she asked: How does a person who may not be on recruiters’ radars make themselves known to recruiters?

Refer. Build long-term relationships with recruiters by being helpful. Take recruiter calls, even when you’re not actively looking, and help them find people by referring quality leads. Remember that your referrals are a reflection on you, so only refer people who fit what they are working on and who will represent you well.

Get referred. Recruiters like to find you. They don’t typically see unsolicited candidates. So maintain a robust network, find out from your colleagues who the good recruiters are for your sector, and have your colleagues introduce you.

Be prominent. Again, recruiters like to find you, so appear in the places they will look. Be active in your professional association, speak at conferences, publish white papers, and update your LinkedIn profile. Speaking and publishing are great ways to establish your expertise, and recruiters like people at the top of their game. This is a great way for someone with a less traditional background (e.g., in-house counsel) to get known amongst the more traditional colleagues (e.g., at the brand name law firms). Finally, this is absolutely necessary for someone with an internal focus (e.g., in-house counsel) to get known amongst the more outbound colleagues (e.g., attorneys billing to external clients).

Manage your own career. Recruiters are great for getting a sense of the market, including compensation, demand for your skills, and hiring trends. Recruiters do have access to plum positions, especially the big retained firms and especially for C-suite spots. However, you should already be networking with people in a position to hire you and refer you. In this way, you are the best person to position yourself and keep yourself in front of mind of the right people. Recruiter relationships are helpful but not necessary.

You are the best manager of your career. This should include recruiter relationships, but not exclusively so.

Caroline Ceniza-Levine is co-founder of the career coaching firm, SixFigureStart (www.sixfigurestart.com) and she can be reached at caroline@sixfigurestart.com.

Career Corner

We’re still thinking summer- but mark your calendars now for these September career programs, and visit the website soon to register:

The Committee on Law Students Perspectives’ Annual Welcoming Program…
Mon Sept 14, 6:30-8 pm

From Law Practice to Law & Order: Making the Leap to Television  
Wed Sept 16, 6:30 pm

City Bar Contemplative Lawyers Group
Thurs Sept 17, 7 pm

How to Succeed and Excel as a Reduced or Flexible Hours Associate
Tues Sept 22, 8:30-10:30 am

Back to School—Another Degree May be the Key…
Tues Sept 22, 6 pm

Putting ADR on Your RADAR
Wed Sept 23, 6:30 pm

Strategic Planning for Women Starting the Profession
Thurs Sept 24, 6:30-8:30 pm

Ask the Experts

Q: I just got admitted to the New York State Bar and I am looking for an employment in the New York City. I have an LL.M. in Corporate Law from NYU and an 8-year experience in Accounting/Audit (my last position being an Interim Controller for a mid-size company in the U.S.). I am originally from a very small Eastern European country where I got my primary legal education. I have been searching for a job for a while now, using internet, mailings and networking. I had had both my cover letter and resume re-written professionally, but I still don't seem to get any results. I cannot get any interviews. I would greatly appreciate any suggestions regarding a job search in the NYC area.

A: Congratulations on your admission to the New York State Bar! From your question, it appears you are doing all the right things. First and foremost, understand that these economic times are presenting new and unusual challenges for attorneys across all spectrums. Those with a foreign legal education typically have a bit higher of a hurdle in obtaining legal employment and now, even more so. However, the fact that you have obtained a LL.M. degree from a US law school will only help you in your search for employment.

While I am sure you are already aware that networking is an important job search tool, active networking should be your primary focus. Your inquiry states that you have had a prior career in accounting. A great place to start would be to exhaust all of your contacts from your prior career to see if anyone is aware of an opportunity. While they may not know of a current opening, by making the contact and letting them know you are searching for employment, they will think of you when an opportunity does arise. More importantly, your actions are part and parcel of relationship building which will yield dividends in the years to come.

Your acts of networking should extend far beyond those you have encountered in your prior career and include all family, friends and peers. Everyone who knows you should know that you are searching for employment. You should locate organizations associated with your native country, ethnic origin and religious affiliation (if any), along with any other organizations that reflect hobbies or interests. The more you are involved, the more people you will be able to connect with and the more you increase your chances of learning of an available opportunity.

Having obtained an LL.M. from NYU, your network must include NYU alumni who are practicing here in NYC. Make the initial contact based on your affiliation with NYU and begin the process of relationship building from there. Be aware that active networking does not mean just asking for a job – it is based on cultivating a network over time, one that is unique to you and reflects your character, goals and ambitions. Avail yourself of career placement advice and counseling offered by the career professionals and resources at NYU. NYU will do everything it can to help you secure employment.

In the midst of your networking, remain consistent in mailings to firms that interest you and in responding to openings posted on the internet or various publications. When responding, along with forwarding your cover letter and resume, you may even think about forwarding a writing sample that will demonstrate your proficiency in the English language (if English is not your first language). Additionally, while your inquiry does not state whether you have practiced law in your native country, your resume should reflect a demonstrated commitment to practicing law here in the US. Highlight any pro bono experience, internships, law school clinics and similar activities that show this commitment. If you are not currently involved in pro bono efforts, make the time – however little – to get involved in organizations where you can use your legal skills to demonstrate a commitment to the practice of law (and, quite possibly, expand your network!). A demonstrated commitment to the profession is particularly important given that your most recent career/position was in a different field.

Depending on how quickly you wish to land a position, the more flexible you are with respect to practice area, firm size and geographic location, the more quickly you will find a position. Keep in mind, that your first job out of law school or an LL.M. program will likely not be your last. As such, use this time to secure almost any opportunity in the legal profession and as the situation improves (and it will), you will have enhanced your skills and be an even more marketable candidate. Realistically, the market for attorneys has contracted and is especially competitive. That said, having had a prior career, arguably you have a broader network and a skill set that can be especially valuable to the right employer. I am sure you know what sets you apart. Good luck!

Visit http://www.nycbar.org/lawyers-connect/lawyers-connect-overview to start taking advantage of everything Young Lawyers Connect has to offer.