Law SchoolNews

Oregon law firms give advice on how to get hired

Most college students understand that once school is over, it will be harder than ever to find a job. While it’s never been easy to find a job, the once-infallible occupations seem to be dwindling away just like the others. Walking out of college with a degree in law used to guarantee a spot in the work force; but now all it guarantees is a massive collection of debt.

Law firms and recruiters are increasingly aware that a plethora of graduates each year who compete for every position.

“Competition for jobs should continue to be strong because more students are graduating from law school each year than there are jobs available,” the Bureau of Labor Statistics writes. “Because of the strong competition, a law graduate’s willingness to relocate and work experience are becoming more important. However, to be licensed in another state, a lawyer may have to take an additional state bar examination.”

Firms in Oregon want to see students who went to a good law school and had good grades. Both senior partner Roy Dwyer from Dwyer Williams Potter LLP and attorney Josh Kadish from Wyse Kadish LLP@@names [email protected]@ ideally want applicants to be in the top quarter of their class.

“Coming out of Oregon, you’d probably have to be in the top 20 percent of your class,” Dwyer said, who has 45 years of experience. “I’ve hired a lot of people, and I first look at where they graduated and their class standing.”@@not [email protected]@

While experience clearly matters, motivation and interest paired with an ardent need to be proactive will put any recent graduate ahead of the pack.

“I recently hired a new law graduate, and one of the factors there was that she had a real interest in the area I was looking for,” Kadish said. “She had interned for a legal clinic that did that kind of law, and she started a society in law school devoted to this particular field of law, so it made the difference.”

Head administrator Harmony Miller at D’Amore Law Group in Portland@@no listing found; [email protected]@ agreed that while experience is important, it isn’t the most important factor on getting hired.

“No amount of experience is going to overcome a lack of motivation or the ability to learn quickly and have the ability to be really great. If people lack that quality, they probably won’t do well,” Miller said. “Although, I don’t think recent law school grads are going to get around needing experience.”

Since competition is so high, simply having the experience or the skills might not be enough. Law firms in Oregon don’t hire new lawyers frequently so making applications count is key.

“There’s nothing distinguishing about a lot of people who are applying and are sending out sort of mass mailings,” Kadish said.

Admittedly, even if a recent law school graduate goes to a good school, gets good grades, acquires experience and has the skills, they may still find themselves without a job. The recent economy has left every niche of the job market damaged, and legal services is no exception.

“I get asked by a lot of young college-types ‘Should I go to law school?’ and my answer right now is ‘Not now.’ It wouldn’t be a good choice,” Kadish said. “I think it’s going to be many years before the job market gets rosier for young attorneys.”

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