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by Carole Yeatts
Director, Career Development Office

When my dad attended this law school in the late 1960s, Dean William Muse embodied the career placement office. (Check out his name over the door of the Richmond Law library.) If a law firm wanted to hire a recent graduate, the hiring process consisted of a phone call to Dean Muse.

Now students need to exercise multiple strategies to find employment – participating in formal recruitment programs, engaging in proactive networking and direct applications, and submitting applications to job postings when an employer is hiring. This week’s blog post focuses on the third prong of the search strategy – Job Postings.

Applying to a job posting is reaching for low-hanging fruit. A legal employer who is advertising a job opening already has completed several steps in the hiring decision process. They already have decided they would like to bring a new person to their team, that they have enough work to keep an intern or new associate busy, the physical space and supervisory capacity to accommodate an extra person, and if the position is in the private sector, the money to pay an hourly rate or salary. By the time you see a job posted, the employer already has created the position, developed a job description, decided on their hiring timeline and criteria, and now are waiting for candidates to apply.

I wish we had a magic drawer of jobs to hand out whenever a student comes in for an advising appointment. However, if an employer indicates to the CDO through our employer outreach efforts that they are looking to hire a law student or law graduate, we post those opportunities in Symplicity for everyone to view. We also search advertised openings for legal internships and post-graduate positions and post those in Symplicity.

Therefore, it is imperative that students seeking employment check Symplicity on a regular basis to view job postings. Only the positions for which your class is eligible to apply will be visible to you in Symplicity, so you don’t have to wade through job postings for a 3L when you’re a 1L and vice versa. You should incorporate the process of reviewing job postings – in conjunction with the other two prongs of your search strategy – into your daily or weekly schedule, just like your reading and laundry. I recommend that students take 10 minutes between classes or over your first cup of coffee every day to review the latest job postings in Symplicity, and then set aside time to prepare tailored application materials at least once a week. Best practice is not to filter job postings for keywords or even location because you are likely to miss attractive positions that don’t use the precise search term in the job description (e.g., transactional or corporate or business).

The CDO posts new jobs every day in Symplicity. As of today, there are 63 jobs posted for 3Ls, 103 for 2Ls, and 31 for 1Ls. Certain times of the year are busier than others, so if you wait too long to review postings, the list could be overwhelming and you may miss opportunities as positions expire or are filled before you even submit an application.

We post summer internships for 1Ls and 2Ls and post-graduate positions for 3Ls and alumni. We also post part-time internships during the school year for 2Ls and 3Ls where those positions are remote or located in the metro Richmond area.

So how do jobs get into Symplicity? Unfortunately, it is a manual process and does not involve magic or internet bots.

  1. Employers recruiting from Richmond Law. Most alumni and many legal employers prefer to recruit from Richmond Law and report a good experience with previous hires from our law school. They may contact the CDO to post a law student internship or post-graduate position, but the CDO also regularly and proactively reaches out to prior and potential employers to inquire about their hiring needs and offer to facilitate recruiting. When an employer is ready and willing to hire, we post that position in Symplicity and do not charge a fee.
  2. Employers recruiting from all law schools. A very small number of employers recruit nationwide and pay Symplicity a fee to post a job to all law schools.
  3. Third-party sources. CDO advisors spend time every day mining third-party websites such as Indeed and LinkedIn and reviewing e-alerts from aggregating and subscription-based websites such as Attorney Jobs in USA. When we find advertised openings for which our students and recent graduates are eligible, the CDO manually adds those postings to Symplicity. There will be a note at the bottom of those postings that the position was identified from a third-party source and therefore the employer is not recruiting directly from the law school and did not agree to the University’s non-discrimination policy. Most of the Symplicity postings from third-party sources will point you to the employer’s own website for you to apply directly.

A note about timing: When the CDO has direct contact with an employer, we work with them to determine their hiring timeline and will add an application deadline to the posting. When the posting is from an external source and does not have a stated deadline, the CDO will mark it to expire 3 weeks after posting. That 3-week deadline is intended to encourage students to apply as quickly as possible. In all cases, including where the employer is specifically recruiting Richmond Law students, assume that applications to positions posted in Symplicity are considered on a rolling basis. Do not wait until the advertised deadline because it is likely that employers are reviewing applications as they are submitted, interviewing candidates that look favorable, and may complete the hiring process before the deadline.

Finally, there is one caveat to checking Symplicity: We expect students are reviewing job postings in the Government Honors & Internship Handbook (aka the Arizona Handbook) separately. The law school pays for all students to have access to that online subscription which lists all federal and many state and local government legal internships, plus policy positions with think tanks, public interest organizations, associations, etc. Because the postings in the Arizona Handbook are expansive and relatively well organized, we do not manually transfer those opportunities into Symplicity, so please take the time to review that list as well.

Make sure to check the CDO bulletin board, blog and newsletter for featured job postings and keep your career advisor informed about your search.

Do you have a question for the CDO? Please email carole.yeatts@richmond.edu.

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