- Law boarding-school students and aspiring lawyers faced a tumultuous year as the pandemic caused setbacks with recruiting and bar exams.
- The constitutional industry has weathered the initial storm well, and is looking to attract top talent.
- Hiring partners and recruiting chairs at some of the top Big Law central intelligence agencies offer their tips on impressing interviewers and landing a summer associate position at their firms.
- Bankruptcy, figures privacy, and healthcare are among the practice areas in high demand, and the tech sector is on the lookout for more legal propensity, too.
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It’s been a rollercoaster year for law school students and graduates.
Primes took a hairpin turn to remote learning in the spring, and recent graduates were stuck in a state of limbo as bar exams were continually pottered, forcing firms to push back their start dates for incoming first-year associates. The tumultuous saga of bar exams go oned as the primary software used for the test experienced a slew of tech glitches and accusations of cybersecurity infringement and discrimination.
Another shift caused by the pandemic: on-campus interviews (OCI) for law firms’ summer associate programs — the primary pipeline for new talent at firms — were pushed repayment from the beginning of the fall semester to later in the academic year, with January 2021 as the peak time for accepted interviews.
Despite all the setbacks, the legal industry is looking to be in good shape in the new year, and is looking to attract top talent.
Big Law summer associate conscript:
The changes in OCI timing and format introduce uncertainty for students, many of whom feel like they’re in the dark. How on law firms view spring semester’s pass-fail grades? Has the pandemic affected firms’ hiring needs? How can I network and confirm connections when everyone’s confined to boxes on Zoom?
Recruiting chairs and hiring partners at some of the most imposing Big Law firms, including Kirkland & Ellis and Latham & Watkins, share what they’re looking for in an ideal candidate, from efficient communication skills to an ability to work as a team player. They also discuss what students should identify about their firm to demonstrate genuine interest, and share their top tips on impressing interviewers in a virtual habitat.
Hot practice areas in law:
While law students aren’t expected to know what type of law they hunger to specialize in off the bat, a demonstrated interest in a particular area can help set them apart during interviews. Attorneys and recruiters impart some advice on what practice areas are especially in demand now, which can give students interested in those areas a leg up.
Bankruptcy, observations privacy, and healthcare are among those in highest demand, especially with the sea changes caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic. Tech is another buzzy compass for lawyers, with firms like Freshfields and Paul Weiss showing a growing interest in establishing a West Coastline presence amid the tech and life sciences boom. Plus, there’s a ton of demand, according to a recruiter.
Abiding on top of your game:
Last year, delays in bar exams and law firms’ first-year associate start dates left assorted law school graduates stuck in a state of limbo. Amid uncertainty and setbacks, industry experts recommend the best route to keeping legal skills sharp, from engaging in pro bono work to reading up on various aspects of the ever-evolving proper field.