There are a number of fresh law graduates who could not find jobs as they were fresh out of law school, as a result they try their skills in different fields and then continued either because of their limited options or family situations or they do not want too many entries in their resume in short span of time. So when these candidates approach law firms for the position as an attorney, should these law firms hire them?
Law schools can be criticised for not designing their course structure in such a manner that has the capacity to produce so-called practice-ready graduates. These schools are famous for teaching students “how to think”. But they do not put emphasis on real-life practical challenges outside the law school like actually teaching them what lawyers do, eg, to find clients, run conflict check, service those clients operating billing system, track time, negotiate, obtain financing, hire and train personnel, make payrolls etc.
No doubt that the legal education system has been amended with more law schools offering skills-based educational opportunities such as legal societies, legal clinics, legal writing programs, moot courts. But still, before they are ready to be a well-functioning lawyer there is a need for them to undergo plenty of on the job training in order to compete and excel.
It’s an initiation that is not without its discomforts, both for the fresh law graduates and for his superiors who get to dedicate plenty of hours helping someone figure how to do legal work and run a law practice.
Any law firm hiring fresh graduates who are just a month away from taking the bar exam, tends to know what he is getting for bargain and that is a tractile novice who can be molded in whichever way the firm or lawyer wants that is a fresher can be trained and taught the job the way particular law firm sees fit. And this is a process which is benefiting the both side as a law firm gets the relatively inexpensive labor to be performed by someone grateful and the other party that is fresher learns the whole setup. As on the hiring part, you know what they don’t know. So those first-year associates have a clean slate you can write all over. And the hiring company knows they can’t rely on these freshers and have to invest a number of hours to write on their tabula rasa because these newly minted lawyers can’t work that efficiently and effectively, no matter how happy they are to be the part of a law firm.
Long-out-of-law-school candidates who never practiced law may present a bit more of a tight corner. The question is, of course, what have they been doing and why haven’t they been practicing law?
There are many fresh law graduates who go for alternative legal careers like working in regulatory affairs of government or any government organization or some related industry such as legal publishing, writers, law teachers etc or if in any law firm they might work in non-lawyer capacities such as paralegal or marketing or IT department. And there are many cases where freshers have graduated from average law schools with average grades or marks and they have opted for something which is totally unrelated to what they have studied and trained for years in law school. Or they have opted for their passion or some startup . or maybe they have been waiting for an opportunity or maybe failing the bar exam one after another or maybe preparing for other competitive exams.
Is it worth law firms to consider such candidate? Why bother to consider hiring someone who has never practiced law?
Because you never know, you must be getting any hidden gem, who might be grateful for the opportunity and loyal to the firm, which nowadays seen less. Because instead of being loyal to any particular firm people prioritize the salary part. Such candidate might have the better interpersonal skills that far exceed the regular peer who has been practicing all this time., strengths you were not anticipating. Because you may be getting someone who knows how to hustle for business and get the maximum out of any task.
It is evident that any law firm which is considering any passel of prospective hire will opt for someone who is profitable in terms of bringing in services, in dealing with clients. Every law firm is going to talk and inquire into depth with the bound of legal constrictions, like while interviewing any non-traditional candidate they can ask why they want to practice law, the strength and the skills they have, how much amount of supervision will they need etc, they can grill them about their interpersonal skills like till what extent they can hustle, about their go get it attitude, teamwork, and leadership.
There is always a chance to get the best and totally unexpected out of some law graduate who has pursued a less conventional career trajectory may be more than worth the effort that will be necessary to train him.
There are sufficient amount of people who have been working in law firms are always looking for a change. No matter who the candidate is and what their experiences are, they are always looking for a new job or some change because they want different opportunity than they currently have.
Law graduates who have spent a number of years doing non-traditional work or something other than law field might be the strong candidates for any law firm. Because pursuing the other interest for a period of time takes a lot of dedication and hard work and courage to do something out of the box. And as I said everyone looking for some change, if they what to pursue the mainstream career in law they might be the best fit for the job as Law practice requires creativity, compelling and authoritative speaking skills, managerial duties, which they have learned while doing non-traditional work.
To experiment the new ideas law firm can hire the candidate for a while on a freelance basis, and overflow work can be assigned to them and they can test for themselves whether the candidate is eligible to be hired and have the experience, knowledge, and skills that the firm actually needs.