Graduating law school should be a monumental event – a day filled with optimism and opportunity! Unfortunately for the class of 2020, you’re entering an uncertain industry that has lost much of its structure and normalcy. The hiring climate has changed dramatically, and even Big Law firms are unsure when things will return to normal.

Today, we’re going to take a look at some of the common situations that recent graduates may find themselves in.

You’ve Been Offered a Job but Have Not Yet Responded

Congratulations on your job offer! We know it’s important to fully weigh your options before making a decision that will impact the course of your career. However, there is also value in expediency. Much like they did during the 2008 recession, many law firms have been forced to withdraw or adjust offers after presenting them to candidates.

Of course, there is some good news! If you have personal obligations that you think might prevent you from accepting a position, be sure to get in touch with your point of contact to discuss if your start date will be pushed. Recently, graduates are reporting that those with accepted offers will now be starting work in January of 2021. This could mean that you have the opportunity to accept an offer that previously contained an earlier start date.

You’re Still Deciding Where to Apply for Work

Now, more than ever, it’s a good time to look past the glamour and prestige of Big Law firms when you’re deciding where to apply! There are many small firms that don’t have the name recognition of Big Law, but they would allow you to pursue your preferred practice area. Try not to worry excessively about the value of a company name on your resume. In general, by the time you’ve become a mid-level associate, the name recognition of the firm where you started will be meaningless.

Competition is fierce for the elite firms. Consider making yourself available to work in less-established office locations. For example, if the firm is headquartered in New York, make it clear to those hiring that you would be willing to spend a few years helping establish the new Washington D.C. office.. In fact, indicating a preference for the less established locations might actually improve your odds of receiving an offer. This is because some firms will determine recruitment needs on a ‘per office’ basis and candidates who are available to any office will be favored by none.

Your Summer Program was Cancelled or Shortened

At the moment, most Big Law firms have adjusted their summer programs to suit remote work, while some have been forced to cancel the program entirely. Many summer programs have a tradition of offering employment to every summer associate. This practice may change rapidly as firms work to tighten their pursestrings and look after the bottom line. 

If you accepted a summer program offer exclusively because you expect to receive full-time employment after the program ends, you have a choice to make. Before beginning the program, take the time to consider whether you’re willing to complete the process if it does not result in guaranteed employment. If you choose to enter the program, try making it clear that you’re interested and excited by the possibility of an offer.

Final Thoughts

Today, we’d like to congratulate the seniors of 2020. Your accomplishments shine all the brighter despite the adversity you’re facing. Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this article, let us know in the comments and feel free to share it on social media. Remember: we’re here for you from File Thru Trial™.