job search

Government Hiring is Down, But There is a Glimmer of Hope

This recent post from the PSLawNet blog discusses the most recent hiring statistics from federal government honors programs.  While the numbers are troubling, it’s important to focus on the good news – there are federal agencies with new or reinstated honors programs:

  • The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is a new federal agency devoted to safeguarding the economic strength and vitality of America’s families.  The Louis D. Brandeis Attorney Honors program is a two-year fellowship that gives graduates an opportunity to participate in enforcement actions under consumer financial and fair-lending laws, participate in court proceedings defending Bureau rules and regulations, provide analysis for fair-lending compliance examinations, and develop policy.  The application deadline for the 2012 program was October 5, 2011, and will probably be in early October 2012 for the 2013 program.
  • The new Department of Energy Honors Program is a 6-12 month rotation during which graduates are assigned to individual Assistant General Counsel offices.  The offices offer a wide variety of legal practice areas including environmental law, legislation and regulation, litigation and enforcement, international law, procurement, intellectual property and others.  Honors Attorneys may be eligible to compete for permanent positions in DOE after passing the bar exam.  The deadline for the 2013 program will likely be late September 2012.
  • The Federal Communications Commission’s Attorney Honors Program is a two-year program during which attorneys participate in various aspects of federal administrative practice as they relate to the FCC’s oversight of television, radio, cable, wireless, wireline, satellite, and other communications services and facilities. Attorneys at the FCC draft decisions in adjudicatory and rulemaking matters, work with internal and external constituencies to resolve complex policy issues before the agency, participate in international negotiations, represent the FCC in dealings with other government agencies, Congress and the private sector, and defend FCC decisions in the federal courts.  All Honors Program participants will work at the FCC’s headquarters in Washington, DC and will be assigned to one of the agency’s bureaus. At the end of the two-year program, Honors Program attorneys will be eligible for consideration for continued employment at the FCC. The deadline for the 2013 program will likely be late September 2012.

The PSLawNet blog post also offers some valuable advice on making yourself competitive for these government positions – tips include showing a commitment to public service, enthusiasm, and a demonstrated interest in the agency’s area of law. Foreign language skills and experience in the agency’s area of law (including internships) are also a plus.

How do you show these things?  By doing volunteer work, participating in community service activities, and taking part in events that demonstrate your commitment to a particular issue or cause.  In addition, attend conferences and take classes in the particular area of law that interests you.  If you are interested in working for the government, there is still a lot you can do to make yourself a competitive candidate, and it starts with being aware of what that agency is looking for.

September 30, 2011 Student Newsletters

This week’s 2L and 3L Career Updates are now available. Don’t miss the latest career advice, job postings, and other important information!

3L Newsletter – 9/30/11

2L Newsletter – 9/30/11

**NOTE** will be unavailable from Oct. 6-12, 2011

The online job application system for federal government jobs and internships,, will be unavailable due to system maintenance from October 6-12, 2011. During this time you will be unable to conduct job searches, apply for jobs, or receive application status updates.

If you are applying for any of the following positions you should strongly consider completing your application before October 6 to ensure that your submission is on time.  At this time, there is no indication that these government agencies intend to extend application deadlines.

For 1Ls:

Department of the Interior, Office of the Solicitor – October 29, 2011 deadline

U.S. State Department Student Internship Program – November 1, 2011 deadline

For 2Ls:

EEOC Office of Legal Counsel – October 14, 2011 deadline

SEC Summer Honors Law Program – October 14, 2011 deadline

DOE Law Student Intern Program – October 15, 2011 deadline

Department of the Interior, Office of the Solicitor – October 29, 2011 deadline

For 3Ls:

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Honors Program – October 15, 2011 deadline

NLRB Honors Program – October 15, 2011 deadline

Department of Labor Honors Program – October 21, 2011 deadline

HUD Office of General Counsel – October 28, 2011 deadline




2L Job Search Myths

MYTH: All my friends have jobs already.

TRUTH: Very few students have summer jobs lined up this early in the year. Many 3Ls will tell you that at spring finals, they still did not have a job for the summer.  The summer job search can be a long process for many reasons: smaller firms and businesses may not know their hiring needs yet; organizations may not be able to predict future demand for services; some nonprofits may be waiting for funding.  The key is to be patient and methodical. Keep checking in with your contacts. Don’t give up!

MYTH: I want to work out of state but can’t get anything without connections.

TRUTH: There is a big difference between “connections” and “contacts.” Yes, it’s nice when a parent or family friend can put you directly into a job, but this is unusual.  You are far more likely to succeed by making contacts in the legal community in which you want to work.  Join the local bar association. Call local alumni and ask their advice.  Attend a career fair in that state.

MYTH: I want to stay in NC but I’m not from here so no one will hire me.

TRUTH: You’re already in school in North Carolina—this means something! Employers want to see that you are committed to the state, so give them reason to believe this. Emphasize your involvement in the community, your knowledge of current local and state events, your interest in remaining here.  You are not the first Wake Forest student who has come to NC and decided to stay.

MYTH: I didn’t get an offer through OCI so I’m out of options.

TRUTH: Only a small percentage of students get summer jobs through OCI, because only a small percentage of employers participate in OCI.  There are numerous other avenues to pursue.  This is where networking is key—contact firms and alumni who practice the type of law you are interested in. Consider seeking out judicial externships, government internships, volunteer work with nonprofit organizations.  OCPD updates Symplicity regularly with job postings.  Your OCPD career advisor can help you identify resources to find options in your area of interest.

MYTH: There are no advertised jobs that interest me.

TRUTH: Don’t limit yourself to posted job listings. Plenty of firms and organizations do not advertise positions. Networking is essential.  Talk to lawyers, alumni, anyone you know. Let them know you are looking and what you’re interested in.  Some firms have work to be done, and would be happy to have a competent student available.  Your willingness to work is a foot in the door, and your quality of work may mean a future job.

MYTH: Networking is useless. People won’t respond if I just call them up out of the blue.

TRUTH: There is one universal truth in networking: people love to talk about themselves.  Success is all in the approach. Be polite. Ask if this is a good time.  Offer to take them out for lunch or coffee.  Have a list in mind of what you want to learn from them.  Show your appreciation with a written note.  Follow up if you can—mention a CLE or recent article that relates to something you discussed.

MYTH: I’m just going to wait tables and enjoy one last summer of freedom.

TRUTH: Your 2L summer is an important opportunity to get valuable work experience.  Not only are you building professional skills for your resume, but you also have an opportunity to “test the waters” in different practice areas, types of work, and even locations.  Use this opportunity, it will benefit you in long-term career planning

U.S. Department of State 2012 Summer Internships

The U.S. Department of State is now accepting applications for its Summer 2012 Student Internship Program.

Click here to read more about the Student Internship Program, and to start the Gateway to State online application process. The deadline to submit completed applications is November 01, 2011.

To be eligible for this program, you must:

  • Be a U.S. citizen
  • Be a full- or part-time continuing college or university junior, or graduate student (including graduating seniors intending to go on to graduate school).
  • Have good academic standing
  • Successfully complete a background investigation
  • Be able to receive either a Secret or Top Secret clearance.


Conducting a 2L Job Search

This Tuesday 9/13 at noon in Room 1312:

While your second year of law school is in full swing, you are also right in the midst of your second summer job search. Are you wondering what happens after OCI?  Are you interested in finding out what other opportunities may be out there?  Are you questioning whether or not you are on the right track?

Come hear the advice and perspectives from four upperclassmen as well as a recent graduate on how they successfully conducted their 2L job search.

Guest panelists include:

Aaron Garnett (’12)

Legal Intern for the Economic Crimes Division

Attorney General’s Office for the State of Florida, Orlando, FL


Jessica Kimble (’12)

Summer Intern

Pendergrass Law Firm, PLLC, Raleigh, NC

Matthew Hayes (’12)

Summer Intern

Alaska Public Defender’s Office, Palmer, AK


Paul DerOhannesian (’12)

Summer Intern

International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, The Hague, Holland


Robert Zawrotny (’11)

Associate Attorney

Novant Health, Legal Department, Winston-Salem, NC

**Remember to RSVP in Symplicity to reserve your lunch**

NCBA 2011 Environmental Law Fellowships

The Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Law Section of the North Carolina Bar Association announces its 2011 Law Student Fellowship Program.  The fellowship is open to all 1Ls and 2Ls from underprivileged and disadvantaged backgrounds, including minorities and students from households with limited resources.  The application deadline is February 11, 2011.  Details are available online.

Summer Housing: NALP’s 2011 Online Apartment Exchange

Law students seeking summer housing and students with housing available for the summer are invited to participate in NALP’s free online 2011 Apartment Exchange.  The Apartment Exchange will be available from January 15 until May 15, 2011.

NC Law School Interview Program- March 12 & 19, 2011

Wake Forest University School of Law will co-host the North Carolina Law School Interview Program, which includes, two job fairs and a resume collect only opportunity for NC legal employers.  The Eastern NC Job Fair will take place on Saturday, March 19, 2011 at the NC Bar Center in Cary, NC and the Western NC Job Fair will take place on Saturday, March 12, 2011 at Charlotte School of Law in Charlotte, NC. (Note: The Western NC Job Fair falls on the weekend of your spring break. Please make sure you are able to attend BEFORE bidding.) Wake law students interested in participating should go to Symplicity and filter for the Sessions entitled “Spring ’11 – Job Fair – Eastern NC Job Fair”, “Spring ’11 – Job Fair – Western NC Job Fair”, and if interested in bidding to NC employers who are only collecting resumes, filter for “Spring ’11 NC Job Fair Resume Collect Only”.

The deadline to submit your bids to all three opportunities is Friday, February 4, 2011 at 12NOON EST. Please do not wait until the last minute to place your bids as the system may experience slowdowns with heavy traffic close to the deadline.

State of the Legal Market

Tuesday, August 24 from 12:00-12:50 pm
Room 1312 (Courtroom)

Start your job search with invaluable knowledge on recent trends, hot topics and thriving practice areas. Join us to hear two guest speakers discuss the current state of the legal market. Bob Graff of Major, Lindsay & Africa will discuss the private sector and Andrea Gevas of the Department of Justice will represent the public sector. Find out what’s happening now in the legal job market!

Pizza will be provided for students who RSVP in Symplicity by 3:00 pm on Monday. Please bring your own drink.