Small law, out of market

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TruckerD
Posts: 463
Joined: Wed May 27, 2009 8:14 pm

Small law, out of market

Postby TruckerD » Thu Jan 31, 2013 8:37 am

Hi everyone

A few of you may remember me from the class of 13 cycle; I haven't been active on here much at all since I came to law school, but I need some advice. Stats first: Alabama, top 5%, 3.91 gpa, Law Review e-board, Jessup International moot court brief writer, federal clerkship next year, former truck driver, late 30's, no-offered at V50 SA in Atlanta.
I have pretty much decided that biglaw ain't for me (and I think they have come to the same conclusion, lol). A lot of it is that I'm simply not a big city person, and I'm also not one of the beautiful people, I'm older, and I don't fit into firms' mold.

So anyhow, I still need some kind of job, obviously. I have a clerkship for next year, and I'm taking the foreign service exam when I finish the bar -- Foreign services is a real long shot though (for anyone). I'm also applying to appellate clerkships, and I honestly wouldn't mind being a permanent clerk if I could get the gig. (Actually I think it'd be cooler to bounce around to a different judge in a different part of the country every year or 2, but I'm pretty sure they frown on that after a couple years.) In any case, if I don't make foreign service, I've got to find some kind of legal job. The type of firms that appeal to me most are going to be in relatively small towns with a few lawyers.

So that's where I need the advice -- does anyone here have any clue how you get a little firm like that to notice you, or how you even apply to them, aside from looking at the internet yellow pages and mass-mailing everyone listed? Firms in Alabama, even the big ones, seem dead set against hiring anyone from out of state unless you have lots of family connections here, and honestly I'm not particularly keen to stay here. My biggest problem seems to be that I don't have strong geographic connections anywhere since I bounced around as a kid as well as being a long-haul trucker, or even particularly strong geographic preferences -- I like mountains, but I'd be as happy in Casper, WY or Kalispell, MT as I would in Pikeville, KY or Charleston, WV.

I know the discussions here are pretty much geared to those who want biglaw, and that's fine. But does anyone have any idea how to approach contacting a little firm on the other side of the country. Am I just completely wasting my time and money to mail out resumes?

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A. Nony Mouse
Posts: 22772
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2012 11:51 am

Re: Small law, out of market

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Thu Jan 31, 2013 8:43 am

I have a classmate who sort of did this. I say "sort of" because technically he got a job "in market," in that the town he ended up in is in the same state as our law school. However, it was also on the border of a couple of other states, and it's not a town that he was from. My understanding is that he worked his network - he was very clear he wanted to live/practice/raises his family in a small town, and told everyone he knew that, ended up getting introduced to the small town's county attorney, and got the job that way. (He now works for a town firm, is the city and county attorney, and also part-time county judge, so wears a lot of hats!) When I say small town, I mean 2000+ people small. Now, he is originally from this state, though as I said, not from the town itself, so there was some kind of local connection. But it was purely a matter of networking.

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Lwoods
Posts: 1484
Joined: Wed Oct 13, 2010 7:27 am

Re: Small law, out of market

Postby Lwoods » Thu Jan 31, 2013 9:01 am

Heading to a little firm outside my school's market for my 2L SA.

You can mass mail, but you'll also want to reach out and try to make individual connections. Target alumni from your law school, alumni from your undergrad, and any others you may have some sort of commonality with. Try to set up informational interviews. If you ever have reason to visit a city where there's a firm you'd like, email 2-3 weeks prior with your dates and ask for a meeting at that time.

I think with your targeted networking emails, you shouldn't explicitly ask for a job. They may not know their budgets yet or may know they don't have a spot and because of that, will just disregard your request because they don't think they can help you. However, if you just want to meet, they'll be more likely to want to help, to introduce you to other people who might have a job for you, to think of you when they DO have an opening, etc.

tl;dr: network

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TruckerD
Posts: 463
Joined: Wed May 27, 2009 8:14 pm

Re: Small law, out of market

Postby TruckerD » Thu Jan 31, 2013 9:15 am

Thanks y'all. I do understand about looking for alums and how to network with them without explicitly asking for a job. Most of the alums from Alabama that work outside the state do so for fairly big firms -- I say most, I guess I mean most that I have found; I will certainly keep looking. I guess the bigger question is if there just aren't any connections available to be made in a particular area, is there any point in sending resumes?




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