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Video, social media aid law job searches

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Mauri Miller was at a networking conference this summer when something unusual happened: A recruiter approached him.

“He said, ‘Do you have a ViewYou profile,’” said Miller, a 3L at Notre Dame Law School. “He recognized me.

viewyou  A student prepares to film a video with ViewYou in Indianapolis. (IL Photo/ Perry Reichanadter)

“It just put a face to a name and that’s really been helpful,” Miller said of his online video interview and profile. “When I first go in to employers, they know who I am.”

Miller is among the anxious ranks of law school students and recent graduates for whom getting face time with recruiters might take more than remarkable resumes and relationships. For Miller, the job hunt strategy includes his presence on viewyou.com, an Indianapolis startup that focuses its services on law students nationwide, and his use of social media such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Miller said he uses those networks to post career and academic developments as well as links to articles of interest, and when he makes contacts with potential recruiters, he forwards his ViewYou video profile.

And he hopes for the best.

“I don’t think you’re going to find a law student in the country that doesn’t have a worry or isn’t worried about post-graduation employment,” said Miller, who hopes to become a corporate transaction attorney and is interning this summer at Faegre Baker Daniels LLP in Indianapolis.

Miller is keenly aware of the tough market: According to the American Bar Association, 62.1 percent of 2011 Notre Dame law grads were employed in full-time, long-term jobs requiring a law degree. That’s better than the national average of about 55 percent. The rate for Indiana University Maurer School of Law grads was 63.6 percent, 54 percent at Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law and 41.9 percent at Valparaiso University Law School.

But Miller quoted a statistic that he said motivates him more – that two-thirds of law school grads who get jobs don’t get them through their university career development departments. “I’ve taken that statistic and ran with it,” he said, building his network by clerking for an Indianapolis environmental judge and working in a San Diego domestic violence clinic in summers prior to his work at Faegre Baker Daniels.

Those traditional career routes alone might not be all he needs to get his foot in the door, though. He said law students more than ever need to ask themselves, “How will you take control of your career?”

Best face forward

Entrepreneur Jason Randolph and some of his friends shared a similar experience: When they applied for jobs online, they usually got nowhere. When they got interviews, they usually got the job.

A founder of ViewYou, Randolph said the idea of brief student videos that accentuate student resumes and references is ideal for law students, particularly 1Ls and 2Ls, to get their faces in front of potential recruiters.

“You really can pick up a lot about a person’s character and their demeanor in a 90-second to 2-minute video,” Randolph said. That can be a key factor for firms deciding whom to interview, often for summer programs that can lead to future opportunities. “Competition for those – that is a fierce, fierce scenario.”

Randolph said ViewYou gives employers an opportunity to screen potential candidates en masse. “A lot of firms are getting away from on-campus interviews because of the time and expense,” he said.

It’s unlikely someone will be hired based on the strength of a ViewYou presentation, Randolph said, likening it to a latter-day elevator pitch. “What we do know is it gets (recruiters) to a ‘Yes, I’m interested in this candidate,’ or it gets them to a ‘no,’” he said, “thus saving the firm and the candidate time and anxiety.”

Debbie Snyder joined ViewYou in June after serving as manager of recruiting and diversity for Barnes & Thornburg LLP. She said she’s been able to translate what firms are looking for to help students tailor their videos.

“The students have been extremely receptive to the concept because they feel like it’s a great chance to get their personality across to the employers, and sometimes it’s going to be a matter of what’s going to be a good fit for the employers,” Snyder said. She said the company has built a database of about 1,000 law student profiles.

Working with schools and outside sponsors, the company is often able to offer students professional video profiles for as little as $29.

Miller used his video to highlight, among other things, his international undergraduate studies in Spain and the Dominican Republic. In his video, he uses a flourish of Spanish to demonstrate his command of the language.


 

Recruiting in tough times

Maggie Gloyeske is in charge of recruiting at Faegre Baker Daniels and said that while the firm hasn’t received video resumes, it’s likely to become more popular.

“A video clip, particularly if it’s short and unrehearsed, can help demonstrate how a candidate thinks on their feet, reacts to unexpected questions, and is able to formulate their thoughts quickly and cohesively,” Gloyeske said. “A video clip can also help us get a sense of the presentation skills and style of a candidate.”

Rafael Sanchez, a partner at Bingham Greenebaum Doll LLP in charge of recruiting for Indiana offices, said job prospects are such that many people have expressed a willingness to work in summer programs for free. Since recruiters historically have looked for potential associates two to three years out, he said the situation isn’t likely to improve anytime soon.

“Much like other firms, we’ve essentially cut summer programs at least in half,” Sanchez said. At its peak, Bingham Greenebaum Doll brought in about 11 summer interns across all the firm’s offices, he said. “As a result, competition for the few positions available has become stronger. It is a buyer’s market right now.”

Candidates also are taking some old-fashioned advice, Sanchez observed. “I am noticing a much more deliberate effort to at least make it look on the cover letter as though that person has really researched and thought about the firm,” he said. “That’s always pleasing to see, and that’s just people putting in more effort because more effort is required.”

The firm hasn’t used ViewYou yet, Sanchez said, and the value of social networking is still questionable. “Getting face time and interacting with folks and sort of showcasing yourself at any bar function or networking event is critically important,” he said.

Still, Sanchez said law firm recruiters will embrace services that can provide a cost benefit. “This ViewYou concept is relatively new, and I don’t know I can say it’s caught on yet,” he said. “But I think it’s clearly born out of necessity because clearly the economy is tough. In a competitive job market we’re currently in, with fewer positions available, anything anyone can do to separate themselves is going to be useful.”

Gloyeske said social media, especially professional networking sites such as LinkedIn, are changing how students market themselves. “Law students are familiar with the upside and downside of social media and most are using it to their advantage.”

While methods of getting a recruiter’s attention evolve, Gloyeske said a strong resume and cover letter and expressed interest in the firm remain important.

“Although video and social media can enhance a candidate’s presence during the recruiting process, experience, intelligence, work ethic, ambition, leadership and various other characteristics which indicate the probability of success at a law firm continue to be the most critical factors in evaluating talent,” she said.•
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  1. Where may I find an attorney working Pro Bono? Many issues with divorce, my Disability, distribution of IRA's, property, money's and pressured into agreement by my attorney. Leaving me far less than 5% of all after 15 years of marriage. No money to appeal, disabled living on disability income. Attorney's decision brought forward to judge, no evidence ever to finalize divorce. Just 2 weeks ago. Please help.

  2. For the record no one could answer the equal protection / substantive due process challenge I issued in the first post below. The lawless and accountable only to power bureaucrats never did either. All who interface with the Indiana law examiners or JLAP be warned.

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  4. Yes diversity is so very important. With justice Rucker off ... the court is too white. Still too male. No Hispanic justice. No LGBT justice. And there are other checkboxes missing as well. This will not do. I say hold the seat until a physically handicapped Black Lesbian of Hispanic heritage and eastern religious creed with bipolar issues can be located. Perhaps an international search, with a preference for third world candidates, is indicated. A non English speaker would surely increase our diversity quotient!!!

  5. First, I want to thank Justice Rucker for his many years of public service, not just at the appellate court level for over 25 years, but also when he served the people of Lake County as a Deputy Prosecutor, City Attorney for Gary, IN, and in private practice in a smaller, highly diverse community with a history of serious economic challenges, ethnic tensions, and recently publicized but apparently long-standing environmental health risks to some of its poorest residents. Congratulations for having the dedication & courage to practice law in areas many in our state might have considered too dangerous or too poor at different points in time. It was also courageous to step into a prominent and highly visible position of public service & respect in the early 1990's, remaining in a position that left you open to state-wide public scrutiny (without any glitches) for over 25 years. Yes, Hoosiers of all backgrounds can take pride in your many years of public service. But people of color who watched your ascent to the highest levels of state government no doubt felt even more as you transcended some real & perhaps some perceived social, economic, academic and professional barriers. You were living proof that, with hard work, dedication & a spirit of public service, a person who shared their same skin tone or came from the same county they grew up in could achieve great success. At the same time, perhaps unknowingly, you helped fellow members of the judiciary, court staff, litigants and the public better understand that differences that are only skin-deep neither define nor limit a person's character, abilities or prospects in life. You also helped others appreciate that people of different races & backgrounds can live and work together peacefully & productively for the greater good of all. Those are truths that didn't have to be written down in court opinions. Anyone paying attention could see that truth lived out every day you devoted to public service. I believe you have been a "trailblazer" in Indiana's legal community and its judiciary. I also embrace your belief that society's needs can be better served when people in positions of governmental power reflect the many complexions of the population that they serve. Whether through greater understanding across the existing racial spectrum or through the removal of some real and some perceived color-based, hope-crushing barriers to life opportunities & success, movement toward a more reflective representation of the population being governed will lead to greater and uninterrupted respect for laws designed to protect all peoples' rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Thanks again for a job well-done & for the inevitable positive impact your service has had - and will continue to have - on countless Hoosiers of all backgrounds & colors.

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