Contact anyone and everyone and find out who knows lawyers and business people in the city. Let people on your social networks know you are looking for a job. Don’t be ashamed to admit you don’t have a job, a lot of people don’t have jobs right now.
Get on the web and search for firms in the city in which you desire to practice. Expand your search to whatever physical distance is reasonable to you. Look on LinkedIn and see if you are connected with or able to connect to people at those firms. Perform as much research as you can. Identify the firms that interest you.
Write up an email that focuses on the particular needs of the firm. Explain how you can help the firm. Don’t just explain your background, be specific about what you can add.
If you have a contact at the firm, no matter how tenuous, try to use that contact to connect to the firm. Let the person you contact know who sent you. If you don’t have a contact, then send the email to the person in charge of the department you desire to work in, or the hiring attorney.
In either case, ask if you can take the person out to lunch, or coffee, or whatever. After you send the email, wait a few days and then call to follow up.
If the response is, we don’t have anything, then say that is ok, but you would appreciate the opportunity to pick their brains for advice on starting out your career. If they will meet with you great, if not, see what information you can get over the phone. Don’t forget to follow up with a thank you. Don’t be afraid to ask if they can send you to another firm that might be looking.
Don’t just paper the city with resumes and emails and wait for a response, make a proactive effort to focus in on the firms that are a good match for you and pursue the work by engaging the people and networking your way to a position. That is the best way to find a job in a good economy, and close to the only way to find a job in a bad one.
Make sure you have a business card you can hand out, and an online resume to which you can send people. Put that on your card. Your online resume can be on Google docs with a tinyurl link. Vista Print offers cards for cheap. Or even better, set up a free blog on, and show your knowledge by writing blog posts. Showing marketing prowess (as well as social media knowledge) is an excellent way to attract law firms that are just starting to struggle with this kind of online presence.
Bar association meetings and events are an excellent way to make contacts. Some bar associations allow first year attorneys to join for free. Take advantage of any such opportunities.