How do I get my first legal job in Chicago?

How do I get my first legal job in Chicago?

I'-m a recent law grad who has already passed IL the bar. I am looking for my first legal position and I have been unsuccessful for the past year. My specialty is environmental law, but I am looking for anything to replace my current full time retail job. How can I find that first job? I have applied for over 100 positions and only had 3 interviews.


When I graduated from a Chicago law school in 1993 I sent out 685 resumes and got 3 interviews. One of the interviewers came to reception area looked me up and down and said 'you won't fit in here', so I guess I only got 2 interview. Chicago is a tough area because we have so many law schools. What I did was to create a brochure offering myself as a contract attorney working on a per month or per case basis just to get experience. I carried my own insurance and the law firm paid me per hour.I see that you already want to concentrate on a particular area of law (remember in Illinois we do not specialize) that can really narrow your options. I assume that you have already contacted Chicago, Cook County, Du Page County, Will County, and Lake County law firms that concentrate on environmental law, sent them a very sincere letter maybe even mentioning some environmental case that they handled along with your resume. I assume you have become active in Bar Associations, especially those who have an environmental group, I believe ABA and ISBA and CBA.While your desire is to work for a firm that handles environmental law, being that you have no experience in that field as a licensed attorney, you may need to alter your goal. Remember that Illinois is swamped with attorneys, I understand that for every one opening there are at least 6 qualified applicants. Last figures from the Dept of Labor are that attorneys have a 29% unemployment rate. You may want to look at a job with the EPA or other government facility, which may lead you to Washington DC. You may want to consider a firm that does auto personal injury -- while not the most interesting you would get immediate experience in litigation and arbitration. If you are sure it is environmental law, you may want to contact one of the firms that concentrates on that and offer your services for free just to get the experience.When I sent out brochures I offered to do any task in a law firm just to get experience. I sat at reception desks, answered phones, files cases with the courts, served notices, did motion calls, anything just to learn the system. In 1993 law firms welcomed someone who would do any task and I could have worked 24/7. As I learned more I got better assignements and moved around to many law firms in Chicago and the other counties. After several years I opened my own firm doing employment law, not the concentration I had planned, but the one that reached out and grabbed me. I wish the same success for you.Source(s):Illinois employment attorney



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