Entry-Level Legal Job Search Tips

So you're looking for a legal job! The legal profession is a fascinating one and offers a lot of opportunity, but you're probably wondering how you can get in on the ground floor in this exciting field. Many legal job seekers are looking to become paralegals. To be a true paralegal often requires a degree in legal studies, which means a considerable investment in time and money. If you find that a daunting prospect, there are other law office jobs that do not require such commitment. Here are some positions you might consider:

  • Legal courier or messenger. It is the duty of these employees to make sure all legal documents are filed with the courts in a timely manner.
  • File clerks and mail room workers. These individuals help law offices deal with the immense amount of paperwork that the legal profession generates.
  • Document coders. These workers convert written legal information into digital form so attorneys can more easily access the information. The document coding job can often be done from home as telecommuting work. This fast-growing job is part of the rapidly expanding litigation support field and is an excellent way to "get your foot in the door" at a law firm.

If the entry-level legal jobs mentioned above sound appealing, then it's time to seek them out. Before even applying for the positions, make sure you have an excellent resume to make the best impression. If you've had any law-related education, make sure that is emphasized. Any experience in managing documents, either paper or digital, is a plus. As many law offices are converting from paper media to digital, it's an advantage to know some office software programs like Word, Wordperfect, Excel and Quickbooks. Also prepare a good cover letter to use for finding legal work. The letter should expand on the qualities and experiences mentioned in the resume. Keep both resume and cover letter concise and examine them carefully for any spelling or punctuation mistakes.

 If you're willing to do some footwork, talk to local law firms. Even if they don't have a job opening for you, they can be valuable sources of advice and may be able to point you in the direction of somebody who can use your services. Attorneys are some of the best networkers around, so it's a great idea to make a connection with one. Most counties and large cities have a local bar association, which is a terrific place to get information and leave your resume.

Local colleges can also help with an entry-level job search, especially if you're a recent graduate. Even if you're not, some of them will still provide assistance. You can also make use of the numerous job search websites. If you are specific with the terms you use, general job search websites can find entry-level legal jobs. You may also want to look for job sites that are specifically tailored to the legal profession. Also, state and local governments at all levels have legal departments, and those are definitely worth a look.

Once you get your start, there's plenty of growth potential in the legal field!