Find a Job
The Center for Professional Development offers a variety of resources to help facilitate your job search.
During an interview you must convince an employer that you are the best candidate for the job. It is a two-way dialogue: the interviewer is learning about you, and you are gathering information to help you make an informed career decision. This means researching the employer and thinking of how to present your qualifications in the best light possible. Make sure you fully understand the potential employer's focus areas and prepare to explain why you want to work specifically for that firm or organization. Be sure to arrive at your interview with at least 4-6 intelligent questions ready for your interviewer(s).
Preparing for your interview
Schedule a mock interview with a CPD counselor, or participate in an alumni mock interview program. We can help you practice, anticipate questions, and feel confident and prepared!
Draft a thank you email within 24 hours of your interview. Send it to each person with whom you interviewed and personalize each one. 'Thank You' email examples.
Contact CPD if you have follow up questions.
Alumni Mock Interview Program
The key to getting any job is establishing a rapport and intelligently explaining your credentials in an interview. Fortunately, this is a learned skill. Take advantage of CPD’s Mock Interview Program, where we pair you with Seattle University School of Law alumni attorneys in order to practice your interviewing skills, gain valuable feedback, and make connections with established local practitioners.
The Alumni Mock Interview Program typically takes place in August, prior to Fall. On-Campus Interviews, and March, prior to Spring On-Campus Interviews. The Washington State Bar Association Diversity Committee also sponsors a 1L Diversity Mock Interview event in February, where students are paired with local attorneys and judges to participate in mock interviews on campus.
Submitting a professional and error-free application, including resume, cover letter, and all other materials, is the first step to securing your ideal job. Your resume must succinctly and cogently explain your skills, experience, and education in a manner that will appeal to legal employers. Your cover letter must be specifically tailored to each employer. CPD can help, so make sure you send us your documents for review!
Legal Resume Tips
- Put your education section first, then list your work experience in reverse chronological order.
- Do NOT use personal pronouns.
- Be specific and provide concrete examples of your work experience (avoid vague descriptions and conclusory statements) .
- Resume Samples: 1L | 2L | 3L-4L | Grad
Cover letter Tips
- Use the same font and header for your resume, cover letter, and writing sample cover page.
- Explain why you want to work for this specific employer - do your research.
- Expand on your work experience, include information not contained on your resume, and illustrate your experience with specific examples.
- Read more about preparing a cover letter.
Writing Sample Cover Page
- Include a writing sample cover page with your writing sample that provides context for your writing sample and briefly explains the issue(s) you analyzed.
- Use a reference sheet with the same header as your other documents.
- Include 3 or 4 references who can speak to your skills and abilities. If possible, include one former employer and one or more law school professors
'Thank You' Emails
- Send 'thank you' emails within 24 hours of a job or informational interview to each person who interviewed you. You can find email addresses for most attorneys in the Washington State Bar Association's Lawyer Directory.
- Your emails should be free of grammatical errors and typos. Maintain a professional tone and refer to the interviewers by their last name, i.e. Mr./ Ms. Smith.
- Finally, 'thank you' emails should be brief and not take longer than a minute for the interviewer to read. However, the strongest thank you notes are personalized and refer to something specific about your interview.
- Sample 'Thank You' Emails
Professional Relationship Building
Networking is the process of developing and maintaining professional contacts. Networking is NOT "schmoozing" or asking directly for a job. Your goal is to build mutually beneficial relationships, as well as to discuss shared goals and professional interests, with members of the legal profession. Please click Read more about networking (PDF) for more information.
Places to Network:
- Washington State Bar Association Events
- King County Bar Association Events
- Minority Bar Association Events
- Seattle University School of Law Presentations and Events
Participating in Pro Bono activities is also a great way to network while enhancing your legal skills. You will develop meaningful relationships with practicing attorneys who will recognize your commitment to the community and to the legal profession. There are a multitude of opportunities to volunteer your time, please visit the ATJI Pro Bono Portal and the KCBA Neighborhood Legal Clinic webpage for some initial ideas.
Informational interviewing does two things: first, it allows you to gather information regarding potential areas of practice. Second, it helps you develop and maintain professional relationships you will use throughout your career.
To identify legal professionals who are working in the field in which you are interested, use:
- Alumni Office
- Undergraduate contacts
- Volunteer contacts
- Former colleagues
- Family connections
Send a short email to your contact requesting a 15-30 minute meeting to discuss his or her area of practice and career path.
Follow up with a thank you email within 24 hours of the meeting.
Do not use an informational interview to ask directly for a job. Your purpose is to establish a professional relationship and to gather information about the individual's practice area, as well as to glean information as to how they obtained their position.
Getting to know potential employers is an important part of your job search. Not only will it help to ensure that you are a good fit, but it is necessary to craft tailored application materials and to prepare for an interview. Employers want to know why you want to work for them.
Begin by reviewing the employer's website. Look for a mission statement, primary focus areas and projects, and staff biographies. Do not stop at the employer's website.
Other places to research:
- Martindale.com - Search law firm employers by practice area, firm size, and city
- National Association for Law Placement - Find basic information, including the number of attorneys, practice areas, clients, governance structure, firm philosophy, and billable hour requirements
- LinkedIn - View profiles of and connect with potential employers
- Lexis and Westlaw - Read high profile cases handled by potential employers
- Washington State Attorney General
- Washington state agencies and commissions
- Links to federal agencies
- Seattle's 100 Best Companies to Work For
- Puget Sound Business Journal