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What do lawyers do? What do lawyers make and how can you become a lawyer? Here’s the lowdown on a career as a lawyer.

Legal Careers Spotlight10

Greetings from NALP 2014!

Friday April 11, 2014

In the world of legal careers, there's no organization more wide-reaching than NALP, the National Association of Legal Professionals. I'm here at the NALP Annual Education conference in Seattle, with thousands of legal recruiters, law school career services folks, law firm recruiting and associate development coordinators, and a variety of vendors offering everything from moving services to residency-style matching for law firms and law students. To call it overwhelming is an understatement!

If you'd like to follow along, you can follow the #NALP14 hashtag on Twitter. There's lots of great info there, and you'll encounter many fantastic people you might want to follow going forward.

For fun, here's a photo of me and my business partner, just before our presentation on Mentoring and Empowering Law Student Entrepreneurs.

Alison Monahan and Lee Burgess presenting at NALP 2014.

We were excited to see so many innovative law school representatives in the room! Stay tuned for profiles of some interesting programs that are starting around the country to help law students launch their legal careers in an entrepreneurial manner. From startup incubators to social enterprise, there's a ton of cool stuff going on in law schools today, all of which is direly needed.

Have you heard about innovative law school programs? Drop a note in the comments!

3 Law School Trends That May Surprise You

Wednesday June 12, 2013

A steady drop in law school applications indicates that many would-be law students are choosing to forgo an expensive legal education in favor of another career path.

As law schools adapt to a changing market, they are devising new and innovative approaches to legal education in an attempt to recruit students and stay on top of the wave of reform sweeping the nation's law schools.  Some of these changes may surprise you.

Below are a few recent trends in law school education:

1. Sample Classes - Not sure if law school is right for you? William & Mary has announced a new program in which non-lawyers can get a taste of law school life through online learning and a three-day on-campus program. This innovative "try before you buy" program is designed to help students decide if they want to attend law school before they commit to incurring large student loan debt.

2. Shortened Programs - Accelerated law school programs have been around a few years but more law schools are joining the ranks of legal institutions offering an alternative to the traditional three-year curriculum. Most recently, Cooley Law School announced a new "three-year plus" program that will shorten the path to a law degree by allowing students to take law school courses in their final year of college. According to the school, "Participating students will save a full year of tuition, room, board and books, and this will make law school more accessible and more affordable." Stetson University College of Law recently unveiled a similar program.

3. Tuition Freezes - Sharp declines in law school enrollment have prompted some law schools to freeze tuition in order to make law school more affordable. The University of Akron Law School, Barry University Law School and UMass School of Law are three schools that have announced tuition freezes for the upcoming school year.

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5 Cover Letter Secrets

Tuesday June 11, 2013

Cover letters are a crucial job search tool. They can help you stand out from the crowd and secure an interview.

Many cover letters could stand improvement. Common issues are cover letters that do not target the specific job, simply rehash the resume, ramble on too long or are clearly cut-and-paste masterpieces. Below are five golden rules to help you craft an effective cover letter:

1. Be specific - Your cover letter should target the job you are seeking and include specific experience and accomplishments that tie into the job ad.

2. Be proactive - It is wise to include a call to action at the end of your letter and follow up.

3. Be original - Your cover letter should not be dull or formulaic. Let your unique personality shine through.

4. Be compelling - Most busy employers skim cover letters. Start your letter with a strong, compelling lead that will hook the reader and encourage them to read the entire letter.

5. Be succinct - Your cover letter should be brief, concise, compelling and to the point. It should never exceed one page.

For more information on writing a great cover letter, review the resources below.

Cover Letter Resources:

Law School Applications Hit All-Time Low

Monday June 10, 2013

For the third consecutive year, the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC) has reported a double digit dip in the percentage of individuals applying to law school in the U.S., prompting some schools to cut the size of their entering classes.

The drop in applications follows one of the nation's most difficult job markets for attorneys. The economic crisis, which began in 2008 (also known as the "Great Recession"), prompted layoffs, hiring freezes and curtailed recruitment in law firms of all sizes. At the same time, law school enrollment steadily increased. Enrollment hit "a 10-year high of 52,500 in fall 2010 -- leading to the lowest levels of employment for new graduates since 1996, a growing proportion of them carrying loans of $120,000 or more, " according to the Washington Post.

Experts speculate that the decrease in law school applications is a natural market adjustment to the glut of attorneys in the marketplace. A shrinking number of jobs, growing law school debt and other factors have encouraged many would-be lawyers to pursue other career avenues.

If you are considering law school, now is a good time to apply - the applicant pool is at an all-time low, creating less competition for those who do apply.

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