Monday, April 28, 2014

End of Semester Advice

By: Kandice Thorn

It has been a few weeks since I've posted - apologies for the absence - and I cannot believe the end of the semester is already here.  We survived the extra long (and extra chilly) winter and it looks like our much-needed spring might actually make an appearance after all.  But before you all disperse to the ends of the earth for the summer or for the foreseeable future, I'd like to take this opportunity to offer a few words of wisdom to close out the semester.

For those of you who will sit for the New York bar exam in July: 
Go all in!!  You are putting a lot of time and money into this exam and it's not a test you can pass if you only put in half the effort.  Expect to study 8-10 hours per day, and schedule a nice vacation for yourself for when it's over so you'll have something to look forward to.  It's hard work, but hang in there and it will be over soon!

For those of you who will return in the fall:
Make the most of your summer.  Set goals now for what you want to accomplish and create a timeline to help keep you on track.  And don't forget to schedule a bit of time to enjoy yourself!

For those of you who will be moving far away:
Keep in touch!  Get involved with your local Fordham Law Alumni Association chapter, which at this point exist all over the world.

For those of you who will be graduating, but sticking around:
Keep in touch!  And if you are looking for a job in the U.S., remember that GPDP services and resources are available to you as an alum.

Thank you all for a wonderful semester!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Acquiring the Skills for Your Dream Job

By: Kandice Thorn

It's the classic job seeker's paradox: you can't get a job without experience; you can't get experience without a job.  This is not just a problem for students or recent graduates who are looking for their first "real" jobs; it can also be an issue for anyone seeking to change practice area or jurisdiction.  It can seem like the cards are stacked against you right from the start, so what is a job seeker to do?

Monday, March 31, 2014

CLEs as a Networking Venue

By: Kandice Thorn

I frequently mention that one of the best ways to network is to go where the lawyers go.  Since all practicing lawyers are required to complete a certain number of CLE credits every two years, lawyers can always be found congregating at Continuing Legal Education (CLE) courses.

You do not need to feel like you have to "work the room" in order to make CLE attendance worth your while.  If you get only 2-3 contacts to follow up on (including, even, the names of presenters), you will be in a good position.  You can then follow up with requests for informational interviews or other questions relating to the presentation.

While many CLE courses are expensive, you should not hesitate to reach out to the organizers to ask if they award scholarships or fee waivers for students.  Many organizations will happily do this.  Check bar association websites for their CLE offerings, as well as private companies such as PLI (Practising Law Institute).

Don't forget to dress professionally when you attend a CLE.  Also be sure to show up on time and look engaged with the presentation in order to put your best foot forward.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Bookmark This (LLM-UNITED)

By: Kandice Thorn

My Monday schedule has just been completely thrown off. Why? Because I just spent the past hour immersed in the wonderful articles on the LLM-UNITED website. I hadn't been on there for a while, so I wasn't aware of the latest updates, and I must say, if you are not checking this website regularly, you should be. LLM-UNITED is a network of LL.M. students and alumni, and features straightforward advice from someone who has walked in your shoes.

To get you started, here are links to three of my favorite articles on the website:

Your To Do List for Finding a Job in the U.S. With Your LL.M. Degree

Networking Advice: The Power of Names

Networking: How to Write a Forceful Email

Monday, March 10, 2014

Preparation is Key for Interviewing (So Start Now!)

By: Kandice Thorn

Imagine the following scenario: You are sitting at home one day studying, when your phone rings. You don't recognize the number, but you pick it up and on the other end is a recruiter from a law firm to whom you had sent your resume. "We liked your resume and we would like to bring you in for an interview. How about Thursday?" the voice on the other end asks. "Of course, Thursday is great!" you reply enthusiastically. You work out the details and you hang up. At first you are elated, but after a moment the panic sets in. You realize you only have two days to prepare for the interview and you have no clue what you're doing.

Over the next two days, you scramble to pull together the right outfit, figure out how to respond to common interview questions, research the firm, etc. You go into the interview a bit frazzled, and the interview goes okay, but you know you could have done much better if you had more time to prepare. Still, they only gave you two days notice for the interview - there's nothing you could have done, right? Wrong! Below are a few concrete steps you can take now so you will be prepared when you get that call.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Practical Tips for a Successful Skype Interview

By: Kandice Thorn

"Can you hear me now?"
When I was a kid, my dad had a car phone. Not a cell phone, a car phone with the handset attached to the fixed base with a long spiral cord. To eight-year-old me, it was incredible. This was before even cordless phones had become commonplace, and now I could call my best friend from my dad's truck. The only catch was that it frequently took 3-4 tries for the call to be connected, and once connected, I couldn't actually hear the person on the other end (or they could not hear me). Never mind that - to me it was the coolest thing ever.

Fast forward a few decades. The iPhone is a vast improvement over my dad's old car phone, and the latest technology today is video calling with programs like Facetime and Skype. Yet frequently when I use these programs I feel like I am back in my dad's truck in 1987. The call quality can be atrocious, calls are often dropped, and I sometimes find myself shouting "Can you hear me?" at my computer monitor.

Nevertheless, employers have embraced this new technology as a way of screening potential candidates without paying for costly plane tickets. This means that job seekers, particularly those who are looking for jobs remotely, must embrace this technology in the job-search realm too. The following tips will help make your Skype interviews as successful and glitch-free as possible and will make your interview feel less like 1987 and more like 2025.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Best Way to Jump Start Your Networking

By: Kandice Thorn

If you are looking for a good way to jump start your networking, in my opinion there is no better place to start than with membership in a local bar association. Most bar associations offer student memberships at a steeply discounted rate. Some of the benefits of bar association membership include:

  • Opportunities to work alongside prominent practitioners in a variety of areas through committee membership
  • Career-related programming
  • Programs and conferences in substantive areas
  • Social events
  • Pro bono opportunities
Bar memberships simply give you a lot of bang for your networking buck, giving you access to tons of practitioners with whom you can interact in a variety of settings. Joining is easy and can be done online. There are many bar associations out there, but we recommend two that are local and are particularly active: the New York City Bar Association and the New York County Lawyers' Association. Make it a goal to join one of these organizations by the end of the month and you'll be surprised by the number of opportunities that come your way.