Unfortunately, graduating from law school does not guarantee that you will find a paying job as an attorney. Last week I wrote about the importance of getting legal experience as a recent graduate, even if you are working at a non-legal job to pay the bills.
If you are looking for ways to get legal experience as a recent graduate, here are a few tips.
Start with who you know
Did you have a good relationship with any of your law school professors, or work as a research assistant for any of them? It is unlikely that you can work for them again, but many professors are engaged in all sorts of other legal endeavors outside of law school. I know at least one recent graduate who got set up with an appellate case under the tutelage of a former professor. Talk to your professors to see how they can help you get real experience.
It is also worth networking with your classmates. Some of them will try and hang their own shingle and might want to co-counsel on a case. You probably cannot quit your day job, but you can still get some good experience and keep your legal skills fresh.
Contact the local volunteer organizations
There is always room for another attorney to do pro bono work. Depending on your level of availability, there are multiple options. Many organizations hold weekly or monthly clinics for clients in the evenings. Clinics are a great way to get your feet wet. Many times, cases are assigned based on intake clinics—if you meet with them, you can choose to take their case.
Handling a case from start to finish is even better experience than clinics. There is more opportunity to develop a robust attorney-client relationship. In addition, you will probably get some motion practice or courtroom experience—you can’t beat that.
Do not let your legal skills go to waste—get out there and start lawyering!