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Friday, September 25, 2009

Results from the 2009 Summer Employment Survey

The results from the 2009 Summer Employment Survey are in! Thanks to all who completed the survey on RPC. You gave us valuable information on where New England Law students worked and how they found their jobs. For those of you who have not filled out the Survey, log on to RPC today to tell us how you spent your summer!

A total of 255 students responded to the survey. 56% of those who responded were 2LD/3LEs and 44% were 3LD/4LE students.

Type of Employment
The majority of students who responded worked in a legal job this past summer.

- 81% worked in a legal job.
- 3% worked in a non-legal job.
- 9% participated in a summer abroad program.
- 2% took classes.
- 5% did not work.

How did students find employment?
Most students found their job through informal means, either through networking or self-initiated contact. Many students also found employment through the CSO JobNet!

- 31% found their job through the CSO JobNet or other job site.
- 24 % found their job through a referral by a friend, family member or colleague.
- 11% found their job through self-initiated contact or networking.
- 10% obtained summer employment through a job fair or on-campus interview.
- 8% returned to a previous employer.

Where did students work this summer?

- 60% worked in Massachusetts.
- 31% worked out of state.
- 9% worked abroad and/or participated in study abroad program.

Below are just a few of the law firms and organizations who hired New England Law students this past summer.

Bingham McCutchen
Cellai Law Offices, P.C.
Correia-Champa & Mailhot
Federal Defenders Office
Manhattan Legal Services
Office of Bar Counsel
Parker Scheer, LLP
Suffolk County District Attorney's Office
Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection
Massachusetts Superior Court
Morrison Mahoney LLP
Rhode Island Attorney General's Office
Shelter Legal Services
U.S.Air Force JAG Corps
U.S. Army JAG Corps
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
Wiggin & Nourie

Are you searching for a summer job?
Attend the 2LD/3LE Summer Job Search Program! Monday, September 28th, 3:30pm - 4:30pm, Room 507. To RSVP, email the CSO.

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Monday, September 21, 2009

Answering Difficult Interview Questions

The interviewer shouldn’t ever ask you a question that catches you off-guard. The fact is that a large part of the interviewing process is designed to knock you off your game, to encourage you to say something that will eliminate you from contention. Prep yourself for the difficult questions so you never get caught flat-footed.

"Tell me about yourself."
How does one answer such a broad question? Does the interviewer really want to know your life story? To prepare your response to this (or the similar question "Why should I hire you?") , list three or four of your most impressive attributes and achievements. If you do not get another chance to speak during the interview, what do you want the interviewer to know? Next, find examples from your resume and other life experiences that support each of your attributes. Finally, find a way to incorporate your achievements and strengths into a brief "history of you". Your answer should last for about 2 minutes and may also include:

- Where you went to college and your major
- Any relevant activities or jobs while in college
- Why you decided to go to law school
- Why you chose New England Law
- Any legal work experience
- Any long term career goals
- Why you want to work for this employer

"What is your greatest weakness?"
How can you answer this question without giving them a reason not to hire you? The worst answers to this question are the ones that either sound disingenuous ("I work too hard.") or raise red flags ("I never finish anything on time.") The best way to answer this question is to talk about a past weakness and how you have worked hard at correcting it.

Example: I have really struggled with speaking in public. However, I am taking a public speaking course right now which has helped immensely.

You could also point out a weakness that the interviewer may already see on your resume such as lack of legal work experience or poor grades.

Example: As you can see from my resume, I do not have a lot of legal experience. However, I am starting a clinic this semester during which I will be handling my own caseload.

Whatever your answer is, you want to make sure it reflects an honest self-awareness while not remaining too negative.

"Do you have any questions for me?"
The answer to this question should always be yes! Asking questions is the best way to let them know how interested you are in the position. Good examples of questions to ask are listed in the interview section of the CSO Handbook and include:

- What’s a typical day for an associate?
- What type of training should I expect?
- How will my work be evaluated?
- What cases best highlight the [firm’s/organizations’] strengths?

Make sure the questions you ask are not ones that can be answered by reading the organization’s website and do not ask about salary during the first interview. If you find that the majority of your prepared questions were already answered during the interview, ask the interviewer for their own point of view of the organization, why they decided to work there, and what they like best about their job.

In approaching any interview, it is important that you are honest and straightforward about the kind of job you want and about yourself as a person. Your initial goals are to establish rapport with the interviewer, to communicate your qualifications, to convey your self-confidence and enthusiasm, and to receive a job offer. However, your ultimate goal should be to find a job in a place where you can do the kind of work that interests you, with people you like, and with whom you will have a positive working relationship.

For further reading on interviewing:
Interviewing section of the CSO Handbook
Walton, Kimm Alayne. "Interviewing: The Secrets That Turn Interviews Into Offers." Guerrilla Tactics for Getting the Legal Job of Your Dreams. Harcourt Brace. 1995 (Available in the CSO.)
"A Question to Make a Monkey Out of You." The Wall Street Journal. 3 February. 2009
"Tell me about yourself." New York Lawyer. 24 March. 2009

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Friday, September 11, 2009

Clerkship Statistics in US News & World Report

It was recently brought to our attention that US News & World Report published a story listing the “Best Law Schools: Whose 2007 graduates are most likely to be employed as Federal judicial clerks with Article III Federal judges?” The percent of graduates employed in a judicial clerkship by an Article III federal judge is listed incorrectly as 12.5% for New England Law | Boston. The overall percentage of our 2007 graduates who were employed as law clerks is 12.5%, and that figure includes both state and federal clerkships.

After seeing the US News article, we reexamined the data that we submitted to US News in 2008, and we now realize that we inadvertently listed this same percentage (12.5%) for overall clerkships and for federal clerkships on the survey. We have contacted US News and alerted them of this mistake. It appears that the separate question about federal clerkships was new in 2008 and that several other law schools made the same error.

We are extremely proud of the high percentage of our graduates who obtain judicial clerkships and serve state and federal judges. Employment as a judicial clerk is an honorable service, and it provides new law school graduates with a strong foundation for launching a legal career

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Top Ten Ways to Find Employment: A Checklist for 3L's and 4LE's

1. Don't wait until May to start looking for a job!
- Half of the 2008 New England Law graduates were employed before graduation.
- 90% of the 2008 graduating class who sought employment secured positions within nine months of graduation or pursued an LL.M.

2. Get referrals from mentors, family & friends.
At least 1/2 of all positions are obtained by informal means!
- Bar Associations and CLE Courses
- Professors
- Alumni (Check the "Networking" section in RPC and use
- CSO Panels and Other New England Law Programs

3. Conduct informational interviews.
Informational interviews lead to referrals!
- Contact NEL|B Alumni
- Contact Undergrad Alumni
- Contact Lawyers in Your Practice Area

4. Keep a list of everyone you contact.
Include their contact information, dates of contact, and a list of what you sent and when.

5. Start working now.
Gaining substantive experience always helps!
- Strengthen your Practical Legal Skills
- Improve your Confidence
- Build your Resume
- Add to your Professional Network!

6. Check the JobNet 1 -2 times a week.
As of September 9, 2009 there are:
- 106 jobs listed for 3LD and 4LE students
- 94 jobs listed for recent graduates

7. Search other on-line job search sites.
Check popular sites such as:
- Craigslist
- USAJobs
- PSLawNet
- Email the CSO for our On-Line Job Resources Handout!

8. Start contacting employers directly.
- Find employers who do what you are interested in by using Lawyers Diary, Martindale, Lexis, or Westlaw.
- Contact them by email or mail; send a cover letter, resume, and writing sample.

9. Sign up for networking events.!
- NEL|B Events (Dean's Reception, Law Day, etc.)
- Alumni Career Forum (March Date TBA)
- Bar Association Events

10. Develop an in-the-meantime plan!
- Consider contract attorney work by researching legal temp agencies.
- Consider starting your own practice. Find a mentor who has a solo practice to advise you.

Always use three strategies for finding a job:
1. Search the JobNet & other Job Search Sites;
2. Contact Employers Directly;
3. Network, Network, Network!

And remember: We are here to help! Schedule an appointment with a counselor in the Career Services Office to go over your personal job search strategy today.

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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Frequent Resume Mistakes and Questions: Part II

We previously went over some of the most frequent resume questions and mistakes our office encounters. Below are a few more resume issues we often see in the CSO.

Law School and Undergraduate GPA:
You should list your law school GPA on your resume only if it is a 3.0 or higher. If you decide not to include your law school GPA, then you should omit your undergraduate GPA too.

1. Capitalize the official name of a document, but not the kind of document. For example:
- Completed Children in Need of Services (CHINS) petitions.
- Drafted motion to dismiss, memoranda, and interrogatories.

2. Capitalize a person's title when it precedes the name, not when it is used in place of a name. For example:
- Assisted Attorney Callahan with all aspects of trial preparation.
- Assisted attorney with all aspects of trial preparation.

3. General areas of law should not be capitalized. For example:
- Performed research on various areas of law, including land use and real estate.

Bullet Points
Our office encourages all students and graduates to use the bullet point format to describe work experience rather than the paragraph format. Bullet points give the resume a clean look and make it easier to read. The paragraph format takes the reader more time to read.

Converting to a PDF
Before you email your resume and cover letter, always convert the documents into a PDF. This insures that the document's format can not be altered.

Read Frequent Resume Mistakes and Questions: Part 1

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