Monday, February 19, 2018
We have posted many times on this blog about the wonderful studies done by Professor Neil Hamilton on professional identity and what employers want from their new attorneys. Professor Hamilton has collected this material and added much more into a guide for law students on how to obtain meaningful employment.
Roadmap: The Law Student’s Guide to Preparing and Implementing a Successful Plan for Meaningful Employment by Neil W. Hamilton (2nd ed. 2018).
Abstract: "Roadmap is a guide to sharpen your awareness of the characteristics most valued in the workplace—whether it is in a law firm, a company, or a government entity. The map encourages you to use your time in law school to develop the competencies important to your future. The book helps the reader form a conscious plan to demonstrate these self-development experiences. It's a great resource to be prepared to enter the search for employment."
More: "What do you say when a potential employer asks, “Tell me about a project that you have managed and what you learned from that experience; tell me specifically about how you handled a difficult team member in implementing the project?” If you are like most law students, the slightest mention of “project management” or “difficult team member” makes you cringe, evoking painful memories of free-riding classmates. Once your discomfort passes, you either struggle to come up with a meaningful answer or fail to think of an experience demonstrating your project management and teamwork competencies. Would it surprise you to know that was supposed to be an easy question? What happens when you get a tricky question, such as, “What value do you bring beyond just technical legal skills to help our clients be successful?”
The Roadmap process transforms this type of challenging question into an opportunity to differentiate yourself from other students. You will not need to wait for a specific question about the value you bring beyond technical legal skills to help legal employers and clients. Instead, you will understand what skills legal employers and clients need and will be able to explain how your strongest skills can help them succeed. You will be prepared with your best stories to demonstrate persuasive evidence of your strongest skills."
The above is not just hyperbole by Professor Hamilton's editors; this book is truly a comprehensive guide on how to obtain a job in today's legal world. It also contains a multitude of information on professional identity and what it is like to be a lawyer. I recommend that all career services departments buy several copies. A smart student will buy one for him- or herself.