Tips for Finding a Job in an Economic Downturn: A Panelist’s Perspective

Last week, three Quinney alumni joined PDO for a panel on “Finding a job in an Economic Downturn”.  Panelists included: George Burbidge, Shareholder, Christensen & Jensen; Holly Nelson, Attorney, Dart Adamson & Donovon; Landon Potter, Solo Practioner, Law Offices of Landon B. Potter.  The attorneys each discussed the economic situation they faced as graduates, as well as their career paths.

1. Know & develop professional relationships with your classmates. All three panelists indicated that their classmates played in integral part in helping them find employment or currently support them through referrals.

2. Proof-read your application materials. While this should be readily apparent, this is a common error on the part of the applicant.  Most especially during difficult economic climates, employers are inundated with applications from qualified applicants.  The easiest way hiring committees or recruiting attorneys weed out applications is to first identify documents with typos and/or grammatical errors.  Draft your documents and proof-read them.  Have friends/family proof-read them, if possible.

3.  Utilize PDO. The Professional Development Office is here to assist you in any way we can.  Take advantage of our programming, including Lunches w/ Lawyers, weekly panels and the Solo Practice Series.  Set up counseling appointments with Anneliese or Jaclyn.  Consider volunteering for the Pro Bono Initiative.  Request reciprocity to view job boards at other colleges and utilize our Alumni database.  There are many ways in which we can help you, so please do not hesitate to seek us out!

4. Self-Reflect. Each panelist emphasized the importance of self-reflection.  Analyze your strengths and weaknesses.  Consider other legal practice areas, solo practice or alternative careers.  You never know what you might really enjoy unless you try different things.  Get your personal finances in order.

5. Network. Again, talk to your classmates.  Take advantage of the mentor program offered through the Utah State Bar.  Volunteer for clinics or pro bono projects.  Through each opportunity, you will meet legal professionals who will become mentors, references, or potential employers.