Between Graduation and Bar Passage: Optimizing Opportunities

June 4, 2013

The time between graduation and bar passage offers opportunities for job seekers.  Most new lawyers secure full-time job offers within six months following graduation, often following bar passage.  This is particularly the case with small firm employers and many government agencies.  With this time line in mind, it’s important to lay the foundation for a successful job search now.

The time period between graduation and bar passage can feel like a lull, and it’s tempting to relax until you learn whether or not you’ve passed the bar.  To the contrary, now is the time to shore up your network and kick-start your job search.

Here are some tips to keep you motivated during this in-between time:

  • Graduation is a great reason to reach out to your professional contacts (as well as family and friends) to say, “I’m excited to graduate from law school in June and will be taking the Virginia bar in July.  My goal is to secure a position with a litigation firm in the Arlington area.  If you hear of any leads, please let me know.  I’m excited to embark on my career.”  Make those networking touches today.
  • Schedule one or two informational interviews during the time leading up to the bar exam.    While most of your time ought to be spent studying for the bar exam, you can’t study all the time.  So why not schedule one or two informational interviews in June and July to help keep you focused on your job search?
  • Following the bar exam, ramp up your informational interviewing schedule to one per week.  This is in addition to conducting research about employers in your area, sending unsolicited résumés and cover letters, and responding to postings.
  • Schedule a time to meet with your career services counselor the week immediately following the bar exam.  Bring your résumé and cover letter for review.  Discuss the parameters for your job search.  Keep scheduling regular appointments throughout the summer and fall to hold yourself accountable.