How can young lawyers come to the attention of the leaders of the legal market?
Nowadays, for success in any field it is not enough just to be a professional and to carry out your work efficiently. Lawyers need to be able to demonstrate their expertise and achievements to colleagues and clients, and students to classmates, teachers and potential employers. Speaking more scientifically, it is necessary to consistently and thoroughly build a personal brand.
This important topic is not studied in Ukrainian universities, but in vain. Young lawyers, who have been consistently working on the development of a personal brand since junior courses, even before they graduate, fall on the radars of HR specialists from leading law firms. They are much more likely to beat competitors for the vacant positions of top employers. What are the basic principles for building a personal brand?
No. 1. Visible Expertise
In the West, a popular term in the marketing of professional services is the “visible expert”. Effective positioning involves two components – the actual expertise in a particular area and “visibility” (visibility, publicity).
For law students, the main component of positioning is real knowledge and experience (for example, mandatory excellent knowledge of English to join the team of any leading law firm in Ukraine). It is necessary as soon as possible to determine the area of jurisprudence that is of interest to you and to focus in this area specifically: write articles, term papers and dissertations, participate in additional curricula, student competitions and olympiads.
Now in Ukraine there are many opportunities to “light up” for both students of Kiev universities and regional ones. For example, at Asters, we provide partner and expert support for the Philip Jessop International Law Competition, the International Commercial Arbitration Writing Contest, KNEU Summer School, the Student School on Intellectual Property Law, the teams that participate in international competitions, and many other educational projects .
Participation in these initiatives provides an opportunity in practice to test the theoretical knowledge acquired at the university, personally meet with experts in a particular industry, add valuable lines to the usually half-empty summary of an average Ukrainian student. A big plus is active social work (for example, in the Student League of the Ukrainian Bar Association or the European Law Students Association (ELSA Ukraine)).
No. 2. A page in social networks is both a business card and a resume
The proactiveness of offline learning and social life can and should be covered online. For modern lawyers, LinkedIn and Facebook are important positioning and networking tools.
It is necessary to perceive the profile in social networks as your own business card, because professional HR-specialists always look for candidates and look at candidates’ accounts before the interview in order to supplement their impressions of their CV. Therefore, the obvious recommendation for young lawyers is to have a personal page on Facebook, and if you want to work with international clients in a leading law firm, then on a professional social network LinkedIn (preferably English). It is crucial that you follow the basic rules of etiquette for online communications. In particular, the account should indicate the real name and surname and place the appropriate photo (not from a party with a glass of beer or a vacation on the beach last summer).
Number 3. Network of contacts and knowledge of the legal market
Beginning lawyers should try to build their own network of useful contacts as early as possible. For example, after participating in a legal conference, competition or debate, add other participants, organizers, jury members (possibly your future employers) to your friends on social networks. Post potentially interesting posts on their page, comment on their news and achievements.
To keep abreast of the latest trends in the legal market and not to miss opportunities for internships and employment, it’s definitely worth subscribing to the Facebook pages of leading law firms (for example, Asters), professional and student associations (APU, Student League, ELSA Ukraine), specialized media (“Legal newspaper” and others.).
Number 4. To avoid common mistakes
With students and graduates who are just starting to look for work in the legal market, incidents happen at the stage of submitting a resume. First, pay attention to the e-mail from which you are going to send your CV. It’s best if it’s an address like ім’я.прзизще@gmail.com. Do not be lazy to write at least a short but polite motivational letter. Place a high-quality portrait photo in a business style in the resume, and if this is not the case, it is better not to put a picture at all. Check your resume text for typos with the built-in Word tool. It would seem elementary rules, but you won’t believe how many dozens of resumes with such errors we regularly receive in Asters. Obviously, candidates with such CVs are less likely to get an interview.