In the current market many US based recruiters are ambivalent about LLM students. Listed below are recruiters known to be open to approaches from LLM students. However, please bear in mind that if you do not have any previous US law firm experience, either in your home country or in the US, it is going to be likely to be harder for a recruiter to place you. Using recruiters is always a double edged sword. If they like you and are influential in their area, they may well get you in where networking and applying directly will not. Recruiters also give firms and companies an element of externalising decision making, which is still a high risk activity post crash. However, depending on the market, they're going to make you somewhere between 10-40% more expensive, because your firm or company will pay the recruiter 10-40% of your salary for the first year as their fee.
The Dubin Group
One of the premier attorney search firms in the country, The Dubin Group specializes in the recruitment of attorneys for law firms and corporate legal departments nationwide, with a particular emphasis on the recruitment of attorneys for technology companies.
Members of the LLM Network have worked with:
Scott M. Dubin, Principal
Scott M. Dubin received his BA from Stanford University in 1985 and his law degree from The University of Chicago Law School in 1988. He practiced law for six years, the first four with Brobeck Phleger & Harrison in San Francisco, and the last two with a small firm in Washington, D.C. Scott has been a legal recruiter since 1995 and formed The Dubin Group LLC in July 1999. Scott has worked on a number of high-level searches for technology companies, including several general counsel searches, and has placed attorneys throughout San Francisco and the Silicon Valley.
Telephone: (415) 945-1849 | fax: (415) 927-9306 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Laurence Simons International
Laurence Simons International is a specialist legal and compliance recruitment agency. Our clearly stated vision is: 'To be the world's leading company in legal recruitment by quality of service, market reputation, calibre of employees and global coverage'. Our network of offices is unique in the field of legal recruitment and we have been pioneering in serving new markets in particular across Europe and Latin America, the Middle East, Russia and most recently India. We have recruited effectively in over 65 countries as a result of our consultants working together as a matter of course – providing a seamless service across countries and continents. We cover the whole spectrum of legal jobs in both the Law Firm and In-house markets from junior level Associates to Partner and General Counsel level roles. Please visit our website for in-house and private practice opportunities across the world. http://www.laurencesimons.com/
Members of the LLM Network have worked with:
Michelle Bigler is a Senior Consultant with Laurence Simons and offers over 15 years of attorney recruitment experience as both as an Am Law 200 law firm insider and as a search firm consultant. Her extensive legal hiring and retention consultant experience brings valuable insight to the industry. Michelle’s professional knowledge and solid nationwide network is proven to be an invaluable asset in assisting attorneys in making fulfilling career moves. Michelle's primary focus in law firm recruitment in the Midwest and Rocky Mountain region; however if that is not your focus, she will put you in touch with a consultant with expertise in the area you are looking for.
Major, Lindsey & Africa
No other legal recruiting firm can equal the shared amount of experience and resources that are leveraged by MLA legal recruiters every day. The robust legal network and relationships that each legal recruiter has built over the past 30 years has created an unparalleled database of knowledge and expertise that are unmatched in the industry.
Major, Lindsey & Africa excels in creating matches with specific firms and companies where the outstanding lawyers we place will grow and thrive, adding tremendous value to both their careers and the organizations that profit from their strengths.
Beyond matching the best candidates with the right opportunities, legal recruiters at Major, Lindsey & Africa bring a wealth of resources, knowledge, experience, understanding, insight, judgment and advice to the search process. This unique mix of qualities – and the fact that most of our legal recruiters are lawyers themselves – is why MLA has remained the acknowledged leader in legal recruiting since 1982.
Members of the LLM Network have worked with:
Nicole Lipman is a Partner in the In-House Practice of Major, Lindsey & Africa, based in the San Francisco office. Nicole has over twelve years of search experience. She enjoys working as a trusted advisor to her clients, gaining a deep understanding of their business needs and assisting in building highly effective legal teams. She has worked with clients on searches for General Counsel and other senior in-house lawyer positions within Fortune 500 and private venture-backed companies, as well as private equity and venture capital firms.Nicole received her undergraduate degree from Pomona College, graduating cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. After college she worked as a management consultant with Bain & Company. She then earned her law degree from the Harvard Law School. Nicole was a summer associate at Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe in San Francisco and Skadden Arps in New York, and joined Orrick’s San Francisco office as a corporate associate after graduation. She spent her breaks leading hiking and biking tours in Provence and Bordeaux for Butterfield & Robinson. Nicole has been with Major, Lindsey & Africa since 2000.
Telephone: 415-646-0349 | Fax: 415-398-2425 | email@example.com
Solutus Legal Search is a full service legal search firm dedicated exclusively to the placement of lawyers in law firms and corporations. The firm was founded on the bedrock principles of quality, integrity, and hard work. Client service is a concept that is easy to invoke, but hard to execute. At Solutus, it is a concrete reality. The Solutus team of recruiters is comprised entirely of former lawyers who practiced at the top of the profession and bring with them the most sophisticated market knowledge in the business.
We place junior and senior associates, law firm partners, general counsel, and in-house lawyers across a wide spectrum of industries and experience levels. In each case our goal is the same: to establish long term relationships with clients and candidates by providing the highest quality service throughout the search process, from candidate sourcing and pre-screening through offer and acceptance. We're after a good fit for client and candidate alike.
Members of the LLM Network have worked with:
James M. Smith, Director of Recruiting
Jim is a Director of Recruiting at Solutus. Although Jim is resident in Solutus’ Silicon Valley office, he works with candidates and clients throughout the US and overseas. Jim’s search practice includes the representation of law firm partners, associates and in house counsel at all levels seeking a strategic career change. He also represents the world’s finest law firms and corporations in finding talented attorneys to help their businesses prosper. Jim brings 20 years of experience in the practice of law, including over 13 years as a partner in regional and international law firms. In his legal practice, Jim focused on litigation and counseling, with a special expertise handling intellectual property matters. Jim received his A.B. with High Distinction and his J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley (Boalt Hall). Jim is a member of Phi Beta Kappa.
Sharon Gerber Attorney Search, Inc. - Est. 2005
Sharon Gerber Attorney Search, Inc. specializes in the permanent placement of attorneys in-house at all levels at corporate legal departments nationally and internationally.
Members of the LLM Network have worked with:
Sharon E. Gerber, Esq.
Sharon Gerber has been in the legal search industry since 1994. Sharon Gerber's in-house counsel placements are extensive due to her own in-house role as well as her experience as a law firm litigator and as a manager of the legal staffing department of an international company. Sharon Gerber's success in the legal recruiting industry is due to her high standard of ethics, loyal client base, long term candidate relationships, attention to detail, and commitment to excellence. Sharon Gerber has served as a speaker or moderator for the Los Angeles County Bar Association, Black Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles, UCLA School of Law, University of Michigan Law School, and for NALSC. Sharon Gerber was the recipient of the 2011 Shropshire Group Humanitarian Award for her efforts in promoting diversity in the legal profession. Sharon Gerber received her JD from the University of Houston College of Law where she served on the Houston Journal of International Law. She earned her BS in Business Administration with Honors from the University of Texas at Austin.
YER is an international recruitment agency with focus on Professionals and Executives.
- Privately owned company with 450 employees, 400 of whom are Consultants
- Founded in 1987
- Market leader in the Netherlands since 1999
- Focus on two target groups: Professionals and Executives
Members of the LLM Network have worked with:
Michael Whitehead, Director, Legal recruiting
"I am a dual UK/US citizen with over a decade of experience placing legal professionals throughout the US and overseas. I am well qualified to provide guidance to attorneys seeking national or international positions. I have enjoyed recruiting success in many major US cities and in such far flung locations as Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Kiev and London. My placement record includes entire practice groups, law firm acquisitions, individual lateral partners, law firm associates at all levels and General Counsel with a stable of corporate clients ranging from small start-ups to large public companies. In addition to my legal recruiting experience, I offer significant experience placing senior level finance and accounting professionals with a diverse client base, across industries."
Office +1 404 567 5605 Cell +1 404 909 5220 firstname.lastname@example.org
The best starting place is a wide variety of web resources that are out there, each with an individual niche or selling point. A few are listed below, but if there are any not listed that you find particularly useful, please do let me know. A lot of these are focussed on in-house roles however.
All current listings for jobs, internships, and fellowships which the law school receives are maintained on an online database, Symplicity, accessible through the above link for SLS students. Similar databases are available for most major US law schools, and it is always worth keeping an eye. Often companies list on Symplicity before publicly advertizing if they're interested in grads from a particular school. For SLS you can enter the site using your 8-digit Stanford ID number as your username, and the unique random password that was e-mailed to you at the beginning of the year. Alumni's can use the database as well but will need to check with Careers for new log on details.
More details can be found on the SLS website here.
This is a new portal that sweeps a number of online sources as well as has jobs posted to the website. It's mainly focussed on in-house roles, although there is a Big Law tab. It is probably currently the leading website for in-house roles, but you will need to check a few others, including in particular acc.com (below) because there is no guarantee with any of these sites that they have complete coverage.
Probably one of the most comprehensive websites, there's often things posted here that are not posted elsewhere. It's searchable by experience, area and salary, which is also rather useful.
The Association of Corporate Counsel website maintains a busy job board, but only for in-house opportunities. It has useful job agent and application tracking facilities and is a great resource. It is probably the most significant resource along with goinhouse.com.
Admittedly, yes, this website may not apply to you, but someone is very carefully curating the list of jobs on here. Worth a look in addition to the above two.
Linkedin is increasingly becoming an important resource to search and apply for both private sector and in-house employment opportunities. Maintaining a good Linkedin profile is of course important to your likely success using this resource.
Job listings for attorneys covering legal and law-related opportunities in the private sector, public interest
and government. Also, has a great section on alternative legal careers.
Job listings including roles for attorneys in the banking, finance and funds sector with good global coverage.
The Minority Corporate Counsel Association website also has a job board similar to the acc.com, but there is some degree of jobs that will appear on one but not the other.
Specialized Attorney Network
Specialized Attorney Network is a boutique legal job board matching employers with a highly specialized candidate base of attorneys, paralegals and legal assistants. Qualified candidates are welcome to browse our jobs, post resumes and even apply online.
To qualify, attorney candidates must possess one or more of the following: (1) State bar specialty certification or board certification; (2) ABA accredited certification; or (3) Advanced graduate degree in addition to Juris Doctorate.
Non-Traditional Legal Careers Report
Published twice a month, this report is filled with nearly 100 pages of non-traditional legal positions for
students and graduates. Contact OCS for login information.
Vault offers several guides to legal practice areas. SLS students have free access to the PDF versions, but
only through the above link. Examples:
• Corporate Law Careers
• Litigation Law Careers
• Bankruptcy Law Careers
• Labor and Employment Law Careers
• Tax Law Careers
You can also find general career advice on their main website at www.vault.com.
WetFeet’s Careers for Lawyers section includes articles and advice on researching firms, alternative legal careers, and attorney profiles.
So, myself and a number of others often attend careers events at SLS and we're often asked how we made our career moves. Our answer, particularly for those who joined start-ups, is always networking and flexibility. I suspect for many LLMs, especially for those of you who are not on the West Coast and therefore may not have the networking bug baked into your school experience, networking is probably going to feel pretty alien. By networking we mean always carry business cards with you, not only attend lots of events going on in your area, be they lectures, conferences, social events or formal "networking events", but be aware when you're sat in a coffee shop. Always be willing to chat, hold out your hand, say hi with a short introduction about yourself (a sentence max) and hand over a card. Networking also means taking advice from everyone who will give it; some of it will be nonsense, some of it will be gold nuggets and a lot of it will be also ran stuff you've heard before. But keep a note book, keep thinking and joining up those nuggets of information.
In the case of when you're actually trying to get interviews, networking can mean writing unsolicited emails to alums of your school, but the most important thing to remember is that you never, ever ask for an interview or send your CV. Send an informal email asking for time over a coffee for a chat about that person's experience, leverage any connection you can find, country, continent, school, etc. Maybe send your linkedin and explain you're job hunting. I think the hardest thing for LLMs is to understand this piece of it. You will find people are enormously willing to give up of their time, and it may well lead to an interview but you must never formally ask or make it appear as anything other than social interest in the experiences of the person you've contacted.
Once you are in an interview process, then it means reaching out to anyone you know who are connected to the firm or company you're interviewing at. Asking their views on the firm/company, and asking if they'll give you a personal recommendation if that's reasonable in terms of how well they know you. A lot of companies now have internal referral systems, so check this one out also before you apply.
Finally, the flexibility piece. People often consider certain career choices "backward steps", but as Tina Seelig talks about, great careers are like a string of beads, and some beads are big and shiny, and some are pretty small and ugly, but they join up to form that great career. So some of us who've managed to stay in the US started working part time, some of us accepted going back to being a first year from a tenth, some took a non-legal role in an in-house legal department, some took that one year placement in New York and then moved firms out of the AM 100 to stay (if you're going to try this last gambit be aware you're going to have to have your new job by March so that your H1B application goes in on April 1). The important thing is that each of these roles had the potential to be a stepping stone to something more, and we managed to make it be that stepping stone. So be prepared to have to hang around after graduation, find volunteer work to keep your OPT visa going (always understand the visa rules and be smart about them, we're lawyers afterall), keep your mind open and be willing to take on roles that may well do some damage to the ego but will ultimately get you where you want to go.
So, in the spirit of sharing one’s experience regarding finding a job in the US after an LLM, here is the highlight of how it went for me. Hopefully there are a few lessons hidden in there that will be useful for you.
I am a French arbitration lawyer by trade, and did my LLM at Stanford Law School in 2010-2011. I was initially planning to work in New York for a while after my LLM, because the East coast is much more arbitration friendly than the West coast. I registered for the NY state bar, and went to the NY Job Fair in January. I only had 4 interviews, none of which for NY positions. Law firms did not seem really interested in a French attorney for foreign associate positions, or at least were not interested in my profile. I got an offer for Luxembourg that I later decided to turn down, and had follow-up discussions and interviews with a Paris firm for a few weeks, but that fell through, so I would not have high expectations with job fairs. I also had an offer to go back to the ICC in Paris, where I used to work prior to leaving for my LLM, and an offer for an arbitration institution in Qatar. I turned these down as I realized I would rather stay in the US for a little bit longer, even if it meant starting with a job that was not exactly aligned with my carrier path so far.
During my LLM year, I had organized several events (lunches and conference with international speakers) designed to increase the visibility of arbitration as a discipline. It worked. J.D. students asked for more classes on the matter, secured funding to take part in the famous Vis Moot in Vienna, and professors decided to create a new arbitration class. I was able to leverage this momentum and my experience in this field in order to get a job at the Law School: I became the Gould Center Research Fellow, and created the syllabus of a class on International Investment law (where international arbitration is a main topic), and worked with several of SLS professors on articles, books, etc. Even though the salary was about a half of what an associate would get in the US, it was plenty enough to get by, and to keep looking. This position also allowed to write and submit papers on arbitration related topics, and most importantly to network during the many events we organized or attended. During that year, I also worked with one of the Gould Center’s fellows, Colin Rule, and attended meetings of the UNCITRAL Online Dispute Resolution working group. I also kept looking for other job opportunities. When March came around (about 6 months before my OPT would expire), I had three offers: one from the ICC, one from an arbitration institution based in Dubai, and one from Modria, the company founded by Colin Rule. I decided to accept the offer from Modria, and we started the H1-B paperwork right away, which proved essential given how fast the quota was reached that year. My application was accepted the day before the cut off. I have been working there for the past two years now.
All in all, I am pretty sure that my experience is pretty standard. The one lesson or conclusion I would draw from the above is that you should start networking the day you start your LLM and should never stop, even when you are working.
First things first, I'm probably representative of about 20% of LLMs but no more and as I have with significant US experience my job hunt has probably been easier than most. If there are lessons learnt from my last two job hunts in the US then the top 4 would be:
- Volume of applications is your friend (each time around I've made 50+ applications with about a 1 in 5 interview rate).
- Have patience and confidence the right thing will come along in a 6-12 month time frame.
- There's not a whole lot different between firm life and in-house at a busy company, and I think a lot is made of very little on the differences other than one thing, pay serious serious attention to who you will directly report to. In-house you have much less room to just go work for the people you currently get along well with.
- Finally, in terms of the first job hunt after your LLM, be prepared that it might take until Christmas to finally land your job.
In terms of my first job hunt straight after my LLM, I didn't start applying until April, the market is, was, and always seems to be pretty depressed, and all the jobs that were there expected you to start in a couple of weeks after an offer was made (this is one thing that has eased up). I was in final round interviews (ie you've gone through four rounds and it's down to you and one or two other candidates) for six months. I was applying for firm roles as well as in-house. My nod to the US standard was to have a one page "CV" and then a three page "deal sheet". I got an offer from one of the bigger McDonalds type AM 100 firms to do international structuring in San Fran a month before the CA Bar. That offer then got pulled a couple of weeks after the CA Bar (client drop off, can you hang on to see where we're set in October blah blah blah). So back to the drawing board. My Stanford accommodation was up at the end of August, and I did a last blast of applications and went back to the UK, applying to the US and Europe from the UK. As is always is apparently the case I ended up in a huge crunch between three very active processes, one in the US, one in the UK and one in Switzerland - I went with a Big Law firm in the US because it was a promise of an H1B, a chance to fill some biggish holes in my skill set at the time and above all, a chance to stay in the US. I was hired through a recruiter in this case, I think that's still probably the best route if you're applying to firms and I've at least spoken to all the recruiters on our site http://llmnetwork.org/Jobsservices.html. I ended up with five offers, two generated by pulling out of processes, but it was a fairly simple decision and by the New Year I was back in California.
Second job hunt was a bit more complicated - I started in no particular hurry, but it was time to move and conveniently I was head hunted (through a recruiter I won't recommend) for a job heading up international M&A for a large listed company. Which left me not a whole lot to do bar turn up for interviews (which I was fronting the travel costs for) and otherwise get very annoyed. The process was insane and gut wrenching, with month or more between interviews and it end up in June with the recruiter not paid and no one hired. I kicked off making applications probably about four months into the process when things were beginning to look dubious and again was rapidly in final round interviews, which came in fits and starts but always in clusters. Most of my travel for these other processes was paid for - flights up front and everything else reimbursed. I was almost exclusively looking in-house and companies appear to still be very nervous about hiring - there were another couple of processes that collapsed with no one hired. Yet again I ended in a crunch, with three offers on the same day about 10 months after starting interviewing. Again I should have been more relaxed that the right thing would eventually come along instead of tearing myself into pieces. But the lesson learnt this time is to be very very careful in-house of who might be able to claim reporting ownership of you, and to always go with your gut about people, even if it isn't the answer you want.
The Columbia Overseas-Trained LLM Job Fair takes place in NY at the end of January each year, and is one of the biggest recruiting events for LLMs, particularly for those looking for a 6 month placement in NY and/or returning to their country of qualification. We've found it very hit and miss. Year on year people are getting more roles through the Columbia Job Fair, but these are often only one year placements. That's not the end of the world but it will involve a job move if you want to stay.
To quote Columbia's website:Columbia, in cooperation with Harvard, Stanford, University of Chicago, University of Michigan, University of Virginia, and Yale, has initiated an Annual Overseas-Trained LL.M. Student Interview Program. Employers from around the world are invited to come to the Doubletree Guest Suites Hotel in late January to interview students from the seven law schools for foreign associates and/or six to eighteen month internship positions. More than 170 Columbia international students from more than 50 countries will be studying for their LL.M. degree this year. This seven school program included more than 300 of the nation's most highly selected LL.M. candidates as well as over 180 legal employers from around the world. For further information or registration please contact Career Services at (212) 854-2700.
LL.M. Resume Book: To facilitate internships and hiring of international LL.M. students, Columbia publishes a resume book of those enrolled in our LL.M. program each fall. The resume book will assist with identifying LL.M.s with prior U.S. or overseas training, who are seeking an opportunity upon graduation.