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  • Writer's pictureStephanie Thornburg

Ask a Legal Recruiter: Best Advice for a Recent Law School Graduate

Congratulations, Juris Doctor! You’ve conquered law school, passed the bar exam and are ready to embark on your legal career. At Zerega Consulting, we understand the unique challenges that recent graduates may face in a competitive legal market. To help you navigate this very exciting (and potentially overwhelming) time, we asked our team of experienced legal recruiters “what is the best advice you have for recent law school graduates?” Their responses, drawn from years of experience and an understanding of the legal landscape are meant to equip you with the knowledge and confidence you need to find your dream job.

Julia Cardenas, Legal Recruiter: My advice for recent grads would be to network as much as possible and be sure to keep your LinkedIn up to date. It's a great resource to make connections for further down the road. My second piece of advice would be to make sure you're going into a practice area that you're genuinely interested in. It's obviously not impossible to pivot, but will be much more difficult to pivot rather than go into an area you feel passionate about practicing in.”


Julia started as a recruiting coordinator with Zerega Consulting and is now a successful legal recruiter. Prior to Zerega Consulting, she worked in a law firm where she was exposed to a variety of practice areas.


Chinazo “Chi Chi” Annabeche Louis, Esq, Legal Recruiter: I would advise them to be flexible with their options, especially if they didn't go the OCI route. First, I'd recommend figuring out if you're going to go the transactional or litigation route. If it's litigation, be open to considering clerkships or practice areas that are going to give you courtroom exposure to see the evolution of a case from its inception at filing to trial, and potentially appeal. This will allow you to establish relationships with your judge, other judges, and the attorneys litigating in your courtroom who may want to hire you for their law firms.


If it's transactional, consider joining a government agency whether it’s at a municipal, state, or federal level because those entities frequently partake in transactional work. Build your portfolio, noting the deals you're a part of so you can leverage the opportunity into one at a law firm or maybe for an in-house law department. Additionally, consider becoming a contracts manager at a company. Many of these people become promoted into in-house counsel roles.


Get involved with your state bar. Start off with the YLD (Young Lawyers Division) to get plugged into the scene, so you can join various committees and meet fellow colleagues from the profession. This is especially so if you're trying to get into a practice area that you aspire to practice in. It happens all the time where people were practicing in one offshoot area (insurance defense) & then finally got their dream job in privacy, L&E, compliance, etc.


I say all this to say, be flexible with your options.


Chi Chi is a dedicated legal recruiter at Zerega Consulting, specializing in nationwide attorney placements across law firms and in-house legal departments. Leveraging her insider perspective as a former litigator at a prominent AmLaw 100 firm, Chi Chi identifies and connects with exceptional legal talent.  Her expertise also extends to diversity recruitment, reflecting her commitment to fostering inclusive workplaces.

Law school graduation is just the beginning of your incredible legal journey. We hope you gained some insights and helpful information from the responses above. Remember, your career path is unique, so embrace the challenges and never stop chasing your legal aspirations. If we can be of any assistance in your career journey, please contact us.

Do you have a question for one of our legal recruiters? Submit it here.


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