Keeping At It

It's virtually impossible to look for work all day every day. It's emotionally draining to wake up and not know what to do with your time. One trick to winning in the job hunt is to be optimistic about positive outcomes from the contacts you make. The job you are looking for may be right around the corner. At the same time, it is also important to think long-term. This is a phase of life that does not have an end date. Taking a part-time job can be an important way of keeping yourself active and reducing financial pressure. 

While any legal job may sound attractive when you are unemployed, you are likely to return to square one if your new job is not a good fit for your abilities. Jeff Minzel advises unemployed lawyers to get that non-legal part-time job until they find the right job. That way you are not stuck with a résumé with serial one- to two-year jobs. It's better to have one gap before landing the right job that you would be happy to stay with. 

The best way to feel like a lawyer, meet other lawyers, cover gaps in your résumé and learn new practice areas while unemployed is to take on pro bono work. Try to find pro bono work that offers training and support so that you are learning and networking throughout the process. In our Weekly Job Seekers Group, the attorneys who have signed up for pro bono work generally have more optimism and more leads. You can participate in pro bono opportunities across a variety of practice areas across Washington or in WSBA's Home Foreclosure Legal Aid Project which provides ample training and support to help Washington residents through this housing crisis. The WSBA's Moderate Means Program is a great way to learn new skills and expand your practice by accessing free or low-cost online trainings.

Some lawyers also have had good experiences doing contract law or document review work to make money and use their legal minds while looking for a full-time job. Here are some leads in the contract law realm submitted by a fellow job seeker.

Informational Interviewing and Networking

Business Cards, Cover Letters, Résumé

Finding the Ideal Career

Using Social Media

The Emotional Challenge of Unemployment