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Gain Legal Experience Through Volunteer Work

By July 16, 2009

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If you are an unemployed lawyer or recent law grad looking for employment, volunteer work can provide a temporary answer. While you won’t reap an income, volunteering may help keep your skills fresh as well as broaden your knowledge and your networking base.

The economic recession has forced more legal employers to fill staffing shortages through volunteers. The New Jersey attorney general, for example, has announced a new program where lawyers and law school graduates would volunteer at the state Division of Law for at least 20 hours a week and a minimum of three months.

"This is a great opportunity for qualified candidates to learn how state government works, to gain experience in areas of the law that may be unfamiliar to them, and to make a genuine difference by working on legal matters that impact on New Jersey citizens," the Attorney General told the Star-Ledger. Volunteers will conduct depositions, write briefs and perform research, among other tasks. Lawyers already admitted to the bar could also handle trial work.

Maryland and New York City have similar volunteer programs. These types of programs can provide law graduates and new lawyers with a competitive advantage in a market where employers seek candidates who can hit the ground running.

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