HLG attorney Keith Lee was recently interviewed by Jim Dedman (Gallivan White & Boyd, P.A.) for the Abnormal Use blog. The interview touched on Lee’s recent book, the state of legal education, and business development for lawyers.
1. How would you describe the “gap” that a law school graduate must bridge between graduation and employment? How should that gap best be addressed, and by whom?
The most recent ABA job data came out a couple weeks ago. Fifty-seven percent of 2013 graduates were employed in full-time, long-term legal jobs. Exclude jobs funded by law schools from this figure and it’s 55.3 percent. If you’re a recent law school graduate you’ve got about a 50/50 shot of getting a job. So I think I would describe that “gap” as a gaping maw.
The people in the top 10 percent of their class are likely always going to be able to get jobs. But any other recent law school graduate that wants to come out on the right side of that coin flip needs to focus on differentiating themselves from their classmates. Try to become as “practice-ready” as possible. Trial ad, practice management, et cetera. Focus on skill sets they possess outside of law. Work on growing their network of personal relationships. Look into ways you could begin working on business development on day one of the job. Law schools could help by letting the third year be more focused on these types of skills but instead people get “Harry Potter and The Law” or some other similarly useless elective. And even though law schools should be doing a better job of preparing their graduates, ultimately, it is the personal responsibility of every graduate to take their future and career into their own hands. No one else is going to do it for you.
You can read the entire interview (and review) here.