July 25, 2014
When rising 2Ls and 3Ls participate in Early Interview Week (EIW) in August, they'll have an opportunity to meet with potential employers representing more than 500 offices of top law firms and government agencies from around the country. Though the experience can be stressful, Pyper Logan Alpern, a 2002 Michigan Law graduate and attorney-counselor in the Office of Career Planning, said it can be less so if students prepare beforehand. She offers the following tips to help students get the most out of EIW.
Do a self-assessment. As students prepare for their job search, they should ask themselves several key questions: What kind of law do I want to practice? What are my interests and goals? What geographical region do I want to work in? What skills and strengths do I have to offer employers, and how does that match with what employers are seeking? How will employers view my previous academic and work experience? Knowing yourself and your skills and desires will help determine the employers with whom you may be interested in interviewing.
Research the law firms. Students have an opportunity to "bid" on up to 30 employers participating in EIW, so they are advised to make educated choices based on research. "It's important to know as much about the firms as possible," Alpern said. Students should be prepared to answer why they want to work for a particular firm and why the firm should hire them. Industry rankings and directories and employer websites are great sources of information, Alpern noted, but even better is talking to 2L students and alums. She suggests contacting them to learn about things not easily gleaned from rankings and websites—for example, what the culture is like in a particular office, what a typical day for a summer associate or new associate typically entails, and what skills and strengths successful associates at that firm possess.
Utilize the Office of Career Planning. Career Planning Attorney-Counselors provide one-on-one counseling, review resumes and cover letters, and help strategize with students on their bids. Staff can also conduct mock interviews for those unable to take advantage of Career Planning's mock interview program in the field, in which alums in various cities around the country provide coaching to students. "Our goal is to work closely with each student to help them maximize their career search success," Alpern said.
Early Interview Week is scheduled for Aug. 7-8 and Aug. 11-12, 2014, at the Lawyers Club. For more information, visit the Office of Career Planning website.
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