Young Lawyers Connect E-Newsletter

May 2009

Don’t Miss the Next First Thursdays Event…

January’s First Thursdays Salsa Class was so much fun, we’re bringing back Kevin Lee and this time we’re doing the merengue and the bachata. Enjoy light food, beverages, Midori Margaritas, meet new people, and learn to dance. Don’t be intimidated-no dance experience necessary.

Kevin has placed top 3 in Latin Dance and performed at the International Hustle and Salsa Competition in Miami , Florida . He has also performed at the South Street Seaport Latin Festival in New York City . Register today.

First Thursdays Series

Merengue Dance Class
May 7, 6:30-8:30 PM

New York Wine Tasting

June 4, 6:30-8:30 PM

Thank you to our First Thursdays Sponsors: ClearChannel , New York Law Journal, Vault

View the 2009 Professional Development Workshop Series Brochure

Join the New York City Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Connect LinkedIn Group

Introducing the City Bar’s Career Counselor Referral Program

 

The Resume

 

Excerpted in part from Jobs For Lawyers , by Hillary Mantis and Kathleen Brady

A resume is an opportunity to create a positive impression with an employer. It may be viewed as a photograph that presents a certain image, yet leaves a more compelling story to be told—perhaps during an interview. Because this document is a self-portrait, it is sometimes difficult to give generic advice on the preparation of a legal resume. Yet, there are key concepts and general rules of thumb to follow concerning format and content.

A resume should be limited to one page—however, if you have had an extensive career and need to expand to another page, remember, the second page should be at least half full and repeat your name, address and telephone number at the top of the page. When in doubt, stick to a one page resume unless you are a very senior level attorney.

Name, address and phone number should appear at the top of the resume—phone numbers are essential; invest in an answering machine to avoid missed opportunities.

No job objective is necessary on a legal resume.

Experience section can be formatted either Chronologically or Functionally. Chronological resumes are oriented by date, with the most recent position first and proceeding backward. This is the most popularly used and accepted format because it is logical and easy to follow. This is the format to use if you have a steady work history with no gaps and if your most recent job is related to your job target. If this is not the case a functional resume may be more effective. Here accomplishments and experience are organized under broad skills or practice area headings with the most important category at the top, followed by two or three other functions. This format allows you to organize your experience according to your interests. It also allows you to de-emphasize employment dates, company names and titles.

Education section should contain all pertinent information from your law school experience, including the official name of the school, year of graduation, Journal/Moot Court experience and a list of any appropriate academic and/or extra- curricular activities. This section should also contain similar information for other graduate schools attended as well as your undergraduate institution. Generally your education goes after experience on a legal resume once you have had at least one year of professional experience. If you had stellar grades in law school, you may want to keep your education section first for your first year or two after graduation.

Consider including a section which draws attention to unique skills such as foreign languages, computer skills, and any personal interests. The section may be titled Personal or Interests. Its purpose is to facilitate conversation or “break the ice” during an interview and to give the employer a more well rounded appreciation of your background. Make sure that your personal interests are descriptive—i.e., “travel to the Far East, Mexican cooking and nineteenth century literature” are much more effective than “travel, reading and cooking.”

Consider adding a section for Professional Affiliations and/or Community Activities. This will enable you to list bar association committees, board memberships, pro bono work, and any other extra-curricular or leadership positions on your resume.

Include CLE or other continuing legal education courses or symposia under a Continuing Legal Education section. This can be useful to include if you are trying to make a transition to a different practice area. You can demonstrate knowledge of and an interest in a particular field by listing this type of course work on your resume.

Legal Resumes should generally be conservative in appearance. White, off-white or cream colored heavy stock paper should be used. No photos or other graphics are necessary. Ten, eleven or twelve point print size is appropriate. As much as you may be tempted to stand out from the pack, the legal profession is conservative, and flashy “ploys” are not usually well received. Good fonts include Times and Helvetica. Try to do your resume on a home computer so you can quickly adjust it for different jobs.

No Personal Information (height, weight, age, marital status, health) need appear on your resume.

Prepare a List of References that is separate from your resume. It is not typical on a legal resume to include names of references. Prepare a separate sheet of paper listing references (three is usually an adequate number) to have available when you go for an interview. Use paper which matches your resume and cover letter. Don't forget to alert your references first so they are prepared for a potential employer's call. Phone references are usually preferred over written references.

Other tips and techniques to keep in mind:

Use CAPITALIZATION, bold print, underlining, indentation and outline format to present information. Make the resume easy to scan.

Use CAPITALIZATION, bold lettering and white space around an item, such as your name, to help the reader remember the item.

• Use generous margins (but not so generous as to look skimpy!).

Laser Print your resume if at all possible! Do not use a dot matrix or other type of printer unless the print is perfectly clear and smudge free.

• Put dates on the right hand margin instead of the left so they do not stand out to the point that the employer will be distracted from the more important aspects of your resume.

• Use “bullets” if your descriptions are longer than 5 lines.

• Make sure the overall look is neat and clean.

• Balance text on the page.

Proofread to eliminate errors and typos! Do not rely on yourself to proofread your own resume—you will miss errors because you have become too familiar with it.

Think of your resume as a sales document. To design an effective sales document, you must have a clear idea of the job you are seeking so that you can skew your resume to your target audience. Concentrate on format and style as well as content. Decide which information to include; pay close attention to the words you use to describe your experiences.

Consider starting your resume with a Biographical Summary consisting of several statements that demonstrate your credentials or that you are a perfect fit for the position. The focus is on your abilities. Describe what you can do, not what you want to do.

Another option is a Career Summary paragraph highlighting your professional background as it relates to the desired position.

Another choice includes beginning your resume with a paragraph entitled Professional Capabilities allows you to list what you have done as well as what you think you can do in the future.

Hillary Mantis, Esq. is a Career Consultant and author of Alternative Careers for Lawyers . She can be reached at: altcareer@aol.com . Kathleen Brady is a principal of Kanarek and Brady LLC. She can be reached at: Kathleen@KanarekandBrady.com

Career Corner

Building Networks to Develop Leadership Skills…
April 28, 6:30-8:30 pm

From Backpack to Briefcase®: A Program for Law Students and Junior Associates...
April 30, 8:30-11:30 am

Understanding the Unwritten Rules of Legal Practice…
May 4, 6-8 pm

Intelligent Interviewing…
May 12, 6 pm

Professional Development: The Art of Negotiation
May 14, 8:30-10 am

Expanding and Taking Your Firm in a New Direction
May 21, 12:30-2 pm

View the 2009 Professional Development Series Brochure

Ask the Experts

Q. I am interested in transitioning into the academic arena--such as a position as a professor at a college or law school. How do I go about finding these types of positions? Are there executive search firms that specialize in this area?

A. No matter where you currently are in your legal career (law student, recent graduate or experienced attorney), the path to a teaching position requires a fair amount of work and preparation, particularly if you would like a tenure-track position. For these types of highly coveted teaching jobs in a law school, you should first publish original scholarly work -- and as much as possible. It also helps to have the credentials of a judicial clerkship, another advanced degree such as an LL.M, or a teaching fellowship. Graduation from a top ranked law school can also be very helpful in the pursuit of a scholarly position.

Non-tenured types of positions may have less rigorous entry qualifications and can provide excellent insight into life in a law school. These include adjunct or associate professor positions, legal research and writing or lawyering courses, or clinical faculty. At the college level, full time, tenured professors hold doctoral degrees (a Juris Doctorate may suffice), and generally have held teaching fellowships. College associate and adjunct professorships do not always require Ph.D.s, and in certain circumstances, experience and expertise are an acceptable substitute.

If you want to transition into the academic arena but not in teaching, there are many possibilities. People with law degrees are increasingly holding admin istrative positions at law schools and universities, including those in academic support, admissions, alumni relations, student services and career development, to name but a few.

In terms of finding a position in academia, you should begin the process by arranging some informational interviews with people currently holding the kinds of jobs that you are interested in. Talk to them about how they launched their careers and about the challenges and benefits of working in that area. Speak to a career counselor at your college or law school for more detailed guidance, and ask to be connected with alumni who have pursued academic careers. Also, you can locate a search firm that specializes in higher education positions easily on the internet. More specifically, the hiring process for tenure track positions at law schools is largely conducted through the Faculty Recruitment Conference held each fall and sponsored by the American Association of Law Schools. (www.aals.org). Subscribe to The Chronicle For Higher Education (www.chronicle.com), an excellent source of news, information and job postings for college and university faculty and admin istration. Other internet resources are listed below:

www.academiccareers.com(Academic Careers Online)


www.higheredjobs.com(Higher Ed jobs website)

www.AcademicKeys.com(Academic Listings)

www.lawcrossing.com(Employment Crossing/Law Crossing)


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