Post-fellowship job hunt

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Post-fellowship job hunt

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Feb 02, 2017 12:49 pm

I wanted to start a thread to discuss the post-fellowship job hunt for those in either public interest fellowships or NTE honors programs in state or federal government. I've been in an NTE honors program for 2.5 years at a government agency, and I'm finding it very difficult to land a new position. I've talked with a few other people in similar situations, all of whom are also struggling, and it might be helpful to share information about effective and realistic job search strategies. Unless I'm really missing something, there doesn't seem to be a lot of information out there about post-fellowship job searches.

I've been doing a combination of networking and applying to jobs, but with the federal hiring freeze, there are definitely far fewer positions out there than before. Beyond that, although firms have established hiring programs for judicial clerks, there seem to be far fewer obvious hiring tracks for public interest and honors fellows.

If you're still searching for a position after the end of a fellowship, or if you've been successful finding such a position, please share.

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Re: Post-fellowship job hunt

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Feb 02, 2017 2:50 pm

I'm currently a legal fellow at a national environmental public interest organization. I only recently graduated (going into my 6th month of post-JD experience), and my fellowship is only one year long. I've also been struggling and wondering if I'm going about my job hunt the right way. Others I know who are in a similar position as I am have expressed the same sentiments to me. Because so many positions require 2+ years of experience, I'm worried about being in a really awkward position to get my next gig. My current employer hires "entry-level" associate attorneys, but they have been pretty frank with me that for these positions, they generally only hire people with at least 2-3 years experience. So, I'm feeling down about being able to compete, even if I do have my foot in the door. Given Trump's / the GOP's agenda, I also don't expect to get hired by the federal government anytime soon.

I've primarily been using PSJD, and I created a long list of organizations in my field (with URLs to their job pages) to monitor for jobs, and I'm networking some. I worry that I will need to broaden my search criteria (outside just strictly environmental law), but I feel like I've really painted myself into a corner with public interest environmental law. I have exclusively worked at these kinds of organizations. So while I have a good list of organizations I've done that for (in law school & now out), I don't think any other kind of nonprofit or gov't agency would believe I have a genuine interest in their field, or there would just simply be better candidates than me. I'm really not very interested in working in environmental law for a firm; I feel like it would be betraying my values and the reasons I came to law school in the first place. I've had a few interviews at public interest environmental organizations in the last few months, but have not landed anything yet. Advice appreciated.

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Re: Post-fellowship job hunt

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Feb 16, 2017 2:44 pm

OP here. After applying to some major firms with no luck, I've tried applying to firms in significantly smaller markets, and I'm finding that they're much more receptive. These firms seem to value my specialized experience because it happens to fit their practice needs. Still have to evaluate whether I want to move to a smaller market, since I like where I am, but this does seem to be one possible next step.

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Re: Post-fellowship job hunt

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Mar 15, 2017 1:54 pm

Second anon poster, following up since I last posted. I've been continuing my job search in the same way (applying to open positions in my field) and closely tailoring my cover letter to the positions. Hiring seems to have picked up a little. I've been getting more interviews (maybe about 1 per week or 1 every 2 weeks now as opposed to about 1 per month in the fall), and I had two final round interviews recently. I expect to hear back from both of them soon, so I could have an offer soon, but maybe not. Both are in smaller markets than what I'm in now.

I had an Honors Attorney interview recently with an agency at the top of this administration's hit list. I was very surprised when they contacted me for an interview; I didn't apply until after the freeze was in effect. So it looks like federal honors gigs are still running despite the freeze. That being said, honors positions are insanely competitive so I don't feel great about my chances there. The agency told me they received hundreds & hundreds of apps to fill one position and they're doing 3 rounds of interviews.

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Re: Post-fellowship job hunt

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Mar 22, 2017 11:10 am

Second poster, again. Updating with my outcome. I received and took an offer in a smaller market.
The federal agency's honors program that I interviewed for was indefinitely put on hold due to the freeze. They contacted me a week or two after my first round interview to say that. So it looks like all honors programs are not safe. In this case, they started reviewing applications and conducting interviews after the freeze was already in effect, though.

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Re: Post-fellowship job hunt

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 25, 2017 3:30 pm

OP here. Congrats to second anon poster on finding a position! I also interviewed for and was offered a position in a very small market, but ultimately decided against it, since the city's economic problems had significantly affected the firm's business, and there were basically no jobs for my wife to apply to in the city. I've been volunteering at a firm since my fellowship ended, and although I don't get paid, at least I'm getting lots of client contact and the partners are regularly calling up their friends and passing them my resume. They did land me one interview for a fairly high-responsibility gig a couple months ago, but that office hasn't decided yet on hiring - just like in your case, because of the political environment. Hoping something comes through soon, though!



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