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One of the key skills I mentioned in my previous post is that the ability of knowing yourself can be foundational to researching law firms more effectively. The advantage of this is that it allows you to focus your research and go beyond average in your applications.
Armed with a better idea of some of your own personal goals, areas of interests and strengths, I believe that the search for the right firm for you becomes easier. It is good to note here that bearing in mind your goals and strengths, you are trying to find out if this is a firm where you’d like to work and would fit in.
A question I often get is, apart from going to open days/evenings, how else can you get to know a firm as part of this research? This is totally understandable as not everyone can always attend or have access to such events.
Compared to when I first started there are now more ways than ever to do a deep dive into what a law firm is all about and help you in your decision making. In this post I discuss some of my sources and ways of going beyond average.
The Power of Professional Social Media
I would advise any aspiring young lawyers and professionals to not underestimate the value of a good LinkedIn presence. You never know who is looking/will come across your profile. For example, my first job weeks after graduation came because my then manager found me on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is also a good virtual store for business card connections during networking events. It provides you with a neat way (and excuse) to continue the conversation after these events. Thereby helping to keep you on the radar of whoever you’ve connected with. That being said, please don’t just hoard connections for the sake of it, do your research and cultivate relationships.
In terms of searching for a law firm, LinkedIn can also be a great place to find out about the thought leadership of the firm. Often lawyers will post articles on their areas of expertise. Reading such blogs can be a great way to signal that you’ve gone deeper. And if you’ve got a genuine interest and question, it might provide a conversation starter to message that particular author and ask them more about their views etc.
You can also use it as a way to find out who the recent trainees and offer holders are. Where possible reach out to them with well researched and targeted questions. Bear in mind people are often stretched for time, so don’t be disheartened if you get no response or someone can’t help at that time, there are plenty of opportunities to find that right person. Ideally find someone you might have something in common with e.g. went to the same university and use that as an in.