Steps to Take Before and During the Recruiting Season

Review Your Materials and Be Prepared
Apply Broadly and Strategically
Use the Jobs tab on Symplicity

Review Your Materials and Be Prepared.

  1. Prepare quality, error-free application materials.  Meet with a Career and Professional Development advisor to refine your application materials and have an objective third-party review your materials for mistakes.  Career and Professional Development is open throughout the summer to assist you. 
  2. Order several official copies of your law and undergraduate transcript to provide employers who request your grades.  It may take several weeks for schools to send official transcripts, so be sure to order them early in the summer. 
  3. Research employers.  You will prepare better application materials and have a better interview if you research an employer in advance.  Do a Google search to find out if the employer has a website and run a search for the employer in the news and legal newsletter databases on Westlaw or Lexis.  Use your professional LinkedIn profile to research and connect with employers and employees at the organizations you are interested in. Additional information may also be found in the NALP Directory of Legal Employers or in the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory
  4. Prepare thoroughly for each interview.  Interviewing is a skill you can master with practice.  Review the Career and Professional Development interviewing guide (available on Symplicity under the Resources tab), attend the Career and Professional Development interview strategy program (which will be held in August), and schedule a mock interview.

Apply Broadly and Strategically.

  You should note that the following types of employers typically recruit outside of structured on-campus recruiting programs:
  1. Small Firms.  Small firms (2-10 attorneys) comprise the majority of the San Diego legal market.  These firms tend to hire on an as-needed basis and are more likely to be found on the Symplicity Jobs tab and through networking throughout the year.
  2. Federal Agencies.  These prestigious and highly-regarded positions are posted during the fall recruiting season in the “Government Handbook”, which is on the first page of Symplicity and further described in Section III (B) below.  Many federal positions are in Washington, D.C., a great place to start a legal career.  If you pass any state bar you can waive into the D.C. bar.  You may also be able to apply directly to agency field offices throughout the country.  Contact information for these organizations can be found in the government yellow books in Career Services.
  3. Employers in Outlying Geographic Areas.  San Diego is a small legal market compared to Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York or Washington D.C.  To Illustrate, the largest firm in San Diego employs approximately 115 local attorneys while the largest Los Angeles firm has 295 attorneys and the largest D.C. firm employs 430+ attorneys.  Similarly, approximately 20 San Diego firms have summer associate programs as compared with approximately 90 Los Angeles firms and 150 D.C. firms.  Consider all markets that interest you and apply to a mix of large, growing and secondary markets to maximize your odds of getting a great job.  Many students return to San Diego after a summer or first post-graduate position elsewhere, and market their experience to local employers.  There are resources to help you sublet your apartment and find summer housing if you accept a position outside of the area (e.g., the NALP online apartment exchange, Washington Intern Student Housing (WISH), and graduate housing through local universities).
  4. Specialized Practice Area positions. The composition of legal work is strongly influenced by local industry.  Accordingly, geographies linked to your desired practice areas will have a disproportionately higher percentage of jobs that interest you (e.g., Los Angeles/New York for entertainment law, New York/Washington D.C. for international law, Houston for energy law).

In order to effectively apply to these employers, you must submit your applications materials before the on-campus recruiting season begins, preferably by the beginning of August.  Career and Professional Development can help you identify target employers.

Use the Jobs tab on Symplicity.

Symplicity’s Jobs tab provides job postings on an ongoing basis.  In addition to applying for positions through the Fall Recruiting Program, you should review the Jobs tab frequently.  Law clerk or discrete legal project experience can build your resume, skill set, and legal network.  To review student job postings:
  1. Log on to Symplicity.
  2. Click on the “Jobs” tab at the top of the screen.  All current job postings will be displayed in reverse chronological order.
  3. For more information about the job, click on the job title or the “Apply” Button.  This will provide position descriptions, hiring criteria, application instructions and other information.

    Please note: You must follow the application instructions in the job listing.  Most Jobs tab listings will direct you to submit application materials directly to the employer via fax, email or postal mail.  Occasionally an employer will instruct you to upload application materials directly through Symplicity or to submit applications to Career Services for a collection.

  4. At the top of this list are drop down menus that allow you to refine your search.  We do not recommend you limit your search as you may filter out great job opportunities.  Jobs will be removed upon expiration or notification that the position has been filled. 
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Career and Professional Development
Warren Hall, Room 113
Phone: (619) 260-4529
Fax: (619) 260-6828


Monday-Thursday 8:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m.
Friday 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Evening appointments available upon request.

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