University of New Hampshire

School of Law

Legal Career Toolkit – For 1Ls: Job Search Timeline

Small & Medium-Sized Firms

November

  • Set up an individual counseling session to discuss your personal job strategy and resume review.
  • NOTE: Small and medium-sized firms do not begin considering summer candidates until the spring. Unlike the larger firms, these employers usually cannot predict hiring needs this early.

December-January

  • After final exams, begin researching small and medium-sized firms.
  • Over break, conduct informational interviews with practitioners within your top three practice areas of interest. Don't worry if these areas begin to change after you begin interviewing.
  • Do an inventory of your skills. Think about what you have to offer an employer. Don't worry about not having any legal experience.
  • Finish revising your resume.
  • NOTE: Learn about unadvertised job opportunities! Ask 2Ls & 3Ls about their jobs. Find out if, and when, they are leaving their employers, then apply to those employers.

February-April

  • Begin contacting your targeted employers about employment opportunities.
  • Check UNH Law's online jobs database.
  • Come by the Career Services office for interview tips.
  • Plan to be active, persistent and patient.
  • NOTE: Try to be creative and flexible. Many students lose opportunities by focusing exclusively on securing a full-time position. Instead, seek work from more than one employer to piece together a full-time schedule.

May-June

  • Continue to meet with alumni and potential employers.
  • Continue to check the online jobs database.
  • Continue to consult with alumni and other contacts for additional leads and ideas. Keep your growing professional network alive!
  • NOTE: In May, 1Ls often give up the job search prematurely. We receive a considerable amount of job notices in May and June that often go unanswered. Keep looking!!!

Government & Public Interest Employers

November

  • Set up an individual counseling session to discuss your personal job strategy and resume review.
  • Become familiar with Public Service Law Network Worldwide.
  • Check the Government Honors & Internship Handbook, available online (password-protected) and in hard-copy in Career Services.
  • NOTE: Most public interest and government employers are not likely to begin considering 1Ls until December or January. You can usually wait until after finals to being researching in earnest.

December-January

  • After final exams, begin researching public interest and government employers.
  • Over break, conduct informational interviews with practitioners within your top three practice areas of interest. Don't worry if these areas begin to change after you begin interviewing.
  • Do an inventory of your skills. Think about what you have to offer an employer. Don't worry about not having any legal experience.
  • Finish revising your resume and cover letter.
  • NOTE: Learn about unadvertised job opportunities! Ask 2Ls & 3Ls about their jobs. Find out if and when any are leaving their employers, then apply to those employers.

February-April

  • Begin contacting your targeted employers about employment opportunities.
  • Apply for a public interest fellowship through PIC or an outside organization.
  • Check UNH Law's online jobs database.
  • NOTE: If you really want to build a public interest career, consider volunteering to get experience. Many of these employers have limited funds.

May-June

  • Continue to meet with alumni and potential employers.
  • Continue to check the online jobs database.
  • Continue to consult with alumni and contacts you met for additional leads and ideas. Keep your growing professional network alive!
  • Plan to be creative and flexible. Many students lose opportunities by focusing exclusively on securing a full-time position. Instead, seek work from more than one employer to piece together a full–time schedule.
  • NOTE: In May, 1Ls often give up the job search prematurely. We receive a considerable amount of job notices in May and even June that often go unanswered. Keep looking!!!

Large Law Firms

November

  • Set up an initial counseling session to discuss your personal job strategy and resume review.
  • Begin researching firms that hire 1Ls. Learn to use the National Directory of Legal Employers and Martindale-Hubbell to identify firing criteria for 1Ls, obtain time lines and gain information about firms.
  • Tailor your cover letter and resume for each firm using your appropriate skills, interests and strengths.
  • NOTE: Many large firms do not hire 1Ls and competition is fierce. Your large firm future does NOT depend on working in a large firm as a 1L.

December

  • Mail letters to large law firms on December 1 or shortly thereafter. Remember firms are not allowed to talk to you before December 1.
  • Over break, conduct informational interviews with potential employers, regardless of size as well as practitioners within your top three practice areas of interest. Don't worry if these areas begin to change after you begin interviewing.
  • Contact and meet with alumni for ideas & advice.
  • NOTE: Start keeping a database where you record your employers of interest, observations, names of contacts, job notices, resume drafts, etc.

January-February

  • Attend Career Services panels and workshops.
  • Mail additional letters and resumes to firms. Do follow-up calls.
  • Plan to be active, persistent and patient.
  • NOTE: Do not underestimate the value of your contacts, especially those who practice outside your interest area. Often when you make a good impression, attorneys are willing to refer you to others in your interest area.

March-May

  • If your efforts are not producing results, begin to target medium and smaller firms. Their hiring cycles are not as predictable and they will generally begin looking for summer hires during these months.
  • Continue to consult with alumni/contacts you met for additional leads & ideas. Keep your growing professional network alive!
  • NOTE: Remember, landing a job in a large law firm when you graduate does not depend on working in a large firm as a 1L.
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