Law school grads: What your job rivals don’t want you to know

Posted on 06-09-2015 by
Tags: writinglegally , legal research , blogging , LIT , Upgrading Your Skills

As a recent law grad, you’re steadfast in winning your first legal job. So how do you boost your chances of getting hired?

Simple: Read the hiring partner’s mind.

You think you already know this. You think hiring partners are focused on law school tiers and coveted law review positions, on class rankings and grades. Important, yes, but hiring partners are also hunting for a particular set of skills. Actually, they’re hunting for the basics – research and writing.

In the whitepaper, Hiring partners reveal new attorney readiness for real world practice, hiring partners give you a glimpse inside their heads. Here’s what they’re thinking about you:

  • Do you have the right skills? (“95% of hiring partners and associates … believe recently graduated law students lack key practical skills at the time of hiring.”)
  • Can you excel as a legal researcher? (“86% of respondents overall believe legal research skills are highly important in young associates. 81% believe advanced legal research skills are also highly important ….”)
  • Can you excel as a legal writer? (“66% of litigation attorneys deem Writing and Drafting Skills to be highly important skills among newer associates.”)
  • How much training do you need? (“Attorneys on average estimated that their firms spend approximately $19,000 per year to train a new associate.”)

Knowing this, you can boost your hiring chances by sharpening your skills. As other candidates optimize their resume fonts, you optimize your legal research and your legal writing. You establish yourself as the superior researcher / writer. Here are a few things that’ll help you:

Legal Research

 Legal research is basically magic: Can you pull the rabbit out of the hat? Not everyone can. And like magic, the more tricks you know, the better researcher you are. If you limit yourself to the ABCs of legal research, then be content as a low-tech lawyer. But if you want to be a research badass, if you want to be the juggernaut in the resume pile, get under the hood and master the sophisticated features. Start with Lexis Advance® Support, which has all the tips, videos and guides you need to elevate your legal research skills.

Legal Writing

If you’re not reading about writing, then your legal peers are outdistancing you. Need proof? Writing, legal and general, is a top 5 topic with our social media audience. Writing is so important to our Twitter / LinkedIn audiences that we’ve dedicated Wednesdays to writing-related content. You can track our writing content via LexTalk or via Twitter using the hashtag #writinglegally.

Here are our Top 10 writing posts (+2 blogging posts) from the 1st half of 2015:

  1. Writing for the law: 6 words/phrases you should avoid
  2. Writing an intro to your legal brief: 5 rules to adhere to
  3. Think your legal writing's good? Imagine it being better - 12 worthless words to drop
  4. Font styles dissected from the viewpoint of a legal writer
  5. Writing legally but clearly: 6 Orwellian rules for legal writers
  6. Destroy your credibility with this punctuation habit [infographic]
  7. 10 tips that'll polish your professional writing
  8. Top 5 tools to be a more productive legal drafter in Lexis® for Microsoft Office
  9. 5 rotten writing habits to scrap right now
  10. 20 botched words that'll weaken your legal briefs


  1. 14 law blog boosts when you're facing writer's block
  2. 23 lawyers (in their own words) explain why blogging's important

Legal Blogging

 Here’s the hard truth on becoming a better legal writer:

If you want to be a writer, you must do two things [emphasis added] above all others: read a lot and write a lot. There's no way around these two things …. ― Stephen King  

So two things: reading and writing, significant to both novelists and lawyers. So where’s a good place to start writing? Your legal blog.

As noted by Kevin O'Keefe, CEO & Publisher, LexBlog, Inc., you might get a job by blogging. And what should you blog about? O'Keefe says:

There are a ton niches not covered in legal blogging. Law students can report on these niches and tie threads together across statutes, case law, news stories, and blog posts.

You can start blogging from a non-legal platform, or you can optimize LexTalk. LexTalk is tailored to lawyers and law students. Plus, some LexTalk blogs receive promotion on our Twitter and LinkedIn channels.  And as an added bonus: you could be awarded 500 Law School points for your blog contribution.  Check out potential LexTalk topics >>


Posted on : 16 Jun 2015 7:58 PM

I am puzzled and somewhat offended by the partner questions because the tone and nature of these inquiries condescend the law school graduate by a presumption that the graduate was passed through classes by instructors that cared little about an inferior product consequence.  Succeeding in law classes is a tremendous feat that our colleagues should not take for granted.  Allowing for nominal mistakes until seasoned experience is acquired is part of the developing phases in a successful law career.  Abraham Lincoln enjoyed a sharp advantage as an attorney in that Mr. Lincoln never was graded on his briefs or pleadings, nor examined by his peers, but Lincoln was fully accepted as the legal professional he studied to be.  If one has dedicated hundreds of hours to professional research and concentrated study of the law, certainly this counts for something, even the passing up on condescending questions which should never be asked.

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