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Edward Poll
BridgeTower Media Newswire

 Hard times seem like a distant memory to many people who suffered through the Great Recession in late 2007 to 2010. Nevertheless, the news for law graduates is not exactly rosy.

According to a recent New York Times article, the National Association for Law Placement has found that fewer law school graduates found employment in private practice than at any time in the prior 20 years.

The executive director of the association noted that the situation is unlikely to change due to the fact that private firms won’t need as many lawyers in the future because technology has made firms more efficient and because nontraditional legal services providers have taken some business away from traditional firms.

This is not to say that it is impossible to get a job in private practice. More than 86 percent of law school graduates find some form of employment after graduation, according to the article, and more than 50 percent find jobs in private practice.

Nonetheless, it is important to note that growth in the law industry is a bit stagnant right now. Thus, it would be wise for law students to think of how to market themselves in the most optimal way.

As a potential hire, what do you have to offer a firm? Since law is a business, any potential hires with business skills would have an advantage.

Technology

Being familiar with technology is a plus in any field, and that is true of law as well. Many young people in particular are savvy with computers, and if this is true of you, you should not be shy about promoting yourself in this arena.

It would be an unusual law firm in this day and age that doesn’t have a website, blog and/or social media page. And law firms rely on computers for communication with clients, for record keeping and for billing.

Marketing

Have you had any experience in marketing? Marketing is very important for a law firm. Marketing encompasses business cards and stationery, brochures, networking and client surveys, among other things.
If you have engaged in any marketing efforts — perhaps for a college fraternity/sorority or a law school law review — don’t think that it is an unimportant skill for a law firm.

Accounting

The bottom line is that a firm is all about the bottom line. Firms need to make money to survive and thrive. If you are budget-conscious and know about collected revenue cash flow forms, paid expenses cash flow forms, and summary cash flow forms, you are a likely candidate for hire — and advancement.

Conclusion

Many articles about law schools and lawyers report grim news about numbers of students applying to law schools, the quality of those students, and the outlook upon graduation. Granted, there are a lot of changes in the legal industry, but the changes are not all bad.

After all, according to that recent New York Times article, 2015 saw a 5 percent increase from the previous year in median starting salaries for new grads. And there is still a place for a law school graduate with the right skills — skills that would benefit the business aspect of any law firm.

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Edward Poll is the principal of LawBiz Management. He coaches lawyers and is the creator of “Life After Law,” a program that helps attorneys plan for profitable exits. He can be contacted at edpoll@ lawbiz.com.

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