Sunday, October 24, 2010

Advice to Law Student Applicants: Do Not Use a Service to Send a Mass Mailing to Law Firms

Last week, an experienced, highly regarded legal recruitment professional working in a major U.S. law firm forwarded me an email by a law student.  The email had a resume attached and asked for more information about the firm's summer associate program.  My colleague thought the email was curious and asked me:
"Do you think this is a professional resume writer sending out resumes on this candidate's behalf?"
What do you think?  Why was the email unusual?  First, the name of the resume attached did not identify the student.  Instead, it contained the name of resume company then the words, "LAW SCHOOL_ SUMMER ASSOCIATE SEND OUT."   Not a good idea.  My advice to you is to place your name on the document that contains your resume. 

Second, the email said this:
"Hello Ms. [name of recruiter], my name is [name of applicant]. I am a 2L at the University of [name of school but not the correct name because it didn't say law school] and would like more information about applying to [name of law firm]'s Summer Associate program. I have attached a copy of my resume and appreciate any information."

As you can see, the email itself contained errors and showed a lack of knowledge of the summer associate application process.  The greeting wasn't separate from the email (something a law student should know would be unwise); the email asked for more information about applying to the summer program (when law students should know that significant information about summer programs in major law firms, including how to apply for the summer program, is contained in each law firm's website); and, the last sentence was grammatically incorrect. 

This is an example of how to get your resume in the NO PILE.  An experienced legal recruitment professional would be able to determine from the substance of the email, the tile of the attached resume, and the resume itself, that the applicant had no idea why he applied to this firm in that particular city. 

In this economy, you would be better served to ask your career counseling office for advice, particularly about how to target your search.  Find a way to get an informational interview with as many law firms as possible and put on your best show.  Even if the firms are not hiring now, if they find you particularly impressive, the interviewers may remember you when an position becomes available.  

Summer Associate position mass mailings, particularly when you are not choosing the law firms or the cities to which they will be sent, are a waste of time and money.  That's just my opinion.

If you ever have a question about transmittal emails to law firms, feel free to email me your question at   Randi Lewis, Founder of Resume Boutique LLC.

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