Perspective on the Job Search Process

by Jillian Jacobs, Class of 2013 and recent graduate

jill jacobsJill is from from Rochester, New York, and received her B.A. in Policy Studies and Economics from Syracuse University. Jill was an Articles Editor for the Bill of Rights Journal, Chair of the Community Service Committee for the George Wythe Society, and a Graduate Research Fellow. 

Prior to my first year of law school, I was nervous about a lot of things. I wondered whether I would make friends, how I would handle an embarrassing cold call, and if I could keep up with the demanding work schedule. My greatest fear, however, was that I would not be able to find a job.

I came to law school straight from undergrad, and I had very little experience with the job search process. I had worked at a retail store, at a restaurant, and at a small local firm during school breaks, but I had never formally searched for a legal job. I was overwhelmed at the thought of reworking my resume, writing cover letters, identifying potential internships, and interviewing with respected attorneys.

Soon, I realized that I was not alone – the majority of my classmates viewed the job search process as daunting and confusing. Fortunately, the Office of Career Services (OCS) annually holds informational sessions for first-year students in early October. At the sessions, the OCS Deans talk about the job search process. Additionally, OCS gives students a binder containing information such as sample resumes and cover letters, recommendations for interview attire, and other interview tips. When I walked out of the session, I felt a wave of relief. I knew that the job search process would not be easy, but I found comfort in knowing that OCS would help me in any way possible

In November of my first year of law school, I met with my assigned dean, Ramona Sein, to discuss my internship search. She suggested that I continue networking and that I consider a variety of internships for the summer after my first year of law school. In a stroke a pure luck, I met an alumnus of the law school who helped me secure an internship with a federal judge in Houston, Texas. The internship was educational and an overall great experience.

I finished my internship in Houston at the end of June, and I immediately started preparing to apply for second-year internships. My goal was to work at a large firm in New York City, but I applied to firms in Philadelphia and Washington D.C. as well because I was worried about the legal market. A contact helped me to obtain interviews in Philadelphia, and firms in New York City offered me interviews after receiving my resume through a William & Mary interview program.

In order to prepare for my interviews, I frequently called Dean Sein and Dean Knowles to ask questions. I think that some of my questions may have been trivial, but I appreciated that every dean in OCS was willing to listen to my concerns and was able to answer my questions. Finally, after two months of interviewing for summer associate positions, I accepted an offer from Dechert LLP in New York City. I loved my internship with Dechert, and I am so excited to return as a first-year associate. I am incredibly thankful to OCS for helping me to find this position.