Out-of-Town Job Search

Getting Started

Before you start looking ask yourself why you are looking out of town.

Right Reasons:

  • Family & Friends
  • Weather
  • Connection to Area
  • Affinity for the geography or culture
  • Legal opportunities match your career interests

Wrong Reasons:

  • I hear it’s a Hot Market.  Even if the job market is hot, plenty of other people will be looking there. Employers will still want a genuine interest and connection to the area.
  • No Jobs here. The job market here is competitive, but it is competitive in many locations. 
    Caveat for public interest & federal agencies: For some federal agencies and public interest jobs you may need to start out elsewhere.

Job Search Techniques

Most jobs are found through relationships.  Most positions are never posted. Further, the least effective search techniques regardless of where you are job hunting are cold calling and mass mailing.  Unfortunately, if you have no connections to the area, these methods may be all you have.  So, here are some tips to help make them more effective, such as researching employers and area (i.e., becoming a native) and making networking trips.

Become a native

Learn as much as you can about the city/state and the job market

What to know: Economy, politics, major employers, other considerations such as geography of a particular city.

How to find it: City specific web resources, local newspapers, business journals, local bar associations, networking.

Invest in several trips

If you are a native of your targeted area, take advantage of home visits and connections as soon as you can, even if you don’t plan to move until after graduation. If you plan to be in area, line up informational interviews before you arrive. If you have no plans to be in area, you might want to make plans just wait to buy your plane ticket after you’ve lined up a few meetings)

Essential pieces of informational interview:

  • Show up on time
  • Dress professionally
  • Research employer beforehand
  • Have elevator speech ready
  • Have educated questions to ask
  • Ask for additional people you can talk to
  • Essential steps after an informational interview:
    • Send thank you note
    • Follow up with person you met (find reason to circle back e.g., I met with Mr. so&so, thanks for referring him on to me.
    • Track your communications

Click here for more information on Networking.

Job Fishing Trips Fishing for interviews

Send letters or email telling employers specific dates you will be in the city, follow up with phone call to confirm meeting and THEN buy plane ticket AFTER you have lined up a few for time period. 

Include the following in all letters to potential out of town employers (failing to include any one of these can result in getting your letter and resume thrown in the garbage):

  • That you are planning to move to area
  • Why you are planning to move to the area
  • Any ties you have to the area
  • Why you are interested in this firm/org/agency/etc.
  • When you are planning to visit next
  • You should also include your current (MN) and your local (dream city) address on your resume for potential out of town employers.

Resources for Networking

Consider joining the American Bar Association (ABA) or state bar association Young Lawyers section in your dream city.  This is a great way to establishing a networking base in another city while job hunting or studying for the bar. Some states, such as Wisconsin, allow you to join the state bar as a student for FREE if you plan to move there after graduation.

Other networking resources include:

  • Friends & Family
  • Alumni from law school
  • Alumni from undergrad
  • Fellow students, faculty and staff of law school
  • Members of national student organizations to which you belong
  • Bar Associations
  • CLE speakers, experts

Additional Options

If you want to move, these options can help but they can’t be your only job search method.

  • Consider a judicial clerkship.  It is a good way to get exposed to the local bar in a new legal market.  Learn more at the Vermont Law School Judicial Clerkship and Internship Resources.  To access their guide email lawcareers@stthomas.edu for a password.  Learn more about judicial clerkships.
  • Consider working for a government agency as a method for getting your start in the legal market.  Check out the Government Honors and Internships handbook for job opportunities with federal and state employers in many cities across the country.www.law.arizona.edu/career/honorshandbook.cfm.  Email lawcareers@stthomas.edu for a password.
  • Look at public interest opportunities on PSLawnet (a cool website describing public interest opportunities and employers in many cities across the country): www.pslawnet.org.  
  • Attend Job Fairs in other cities or regions.  Listings can be found on the NALP website.www.nalp.org. Watch CPD Fast Fact’s as well.
  • Check into law school reciprocity.  Some law schools will grant students from other locations limited access to their resources.  This may or may not include job postings.  Identify a school in city that interests you and contact CPD so that we can submit a formal request on your behalf.  Read about UST's Reciprocity Policy.
  • Some small and large employers provide information about their firm and hiring practices on  thewww.nalp.org employer directory.  Pay close attention to the qualifications these employers are looking for.  Many are selective.
  • Frequently check the job postings on Symplicity, BYU intercollegiate job bank, state bar association website, and Westlaw (attorneyjobs online).
  • Consider working with a temp agency.  It may not be ideal because they generally can provide substantive jobs only to attorneys with more experience.  However, if you need a short term job doing document review, they may be able to help. 

Don't forget!  You will need to check to find out the bar exam requirements for other states at:  http://www.ncbex.org/