Four Tips to Find the Right Legal Job in the Right Location

I’d like to move out of state, but how do I go about finding the right legal job in a faraway location? Since I can’t afford to quit my current job to move to the new area without one, I’ll have to conduct my search from here — not an easy task.

A: You’re right — a job search is hard enough in your own city; add distance to that, and the challenge becomes even greater. Your professional network may be fewer and weaker the further you go, and you may not be very familiar with the legal jobs market in other geographical locations. But just because it’s harder doesn’t mean it’s not worth doing. Below you’ll find some tips for how to find just the right job in a new location.

  1. Look Within
    It’s much easier to find another job with the same company than to start anew. If you work for a firm with a national or international presence, check out the opportunities available in those locations. Talk to your human resources group about your interest in a transfer, and reach out to colleagues at that office to get the scoop.

  2. Work with a Recruiter
    Specialized legal staffing firms know of top nationwide and even international legal jobs. They allow you to search for openings by ZIP code, and recruiters can reach out to their vast network to help you find a position that aligns with your skill set, experience and ideal location. A staffing specialist can also personally make your case to potential employers and help you get your foot in the door, even one that’s many miles away.

  3. Maximize your Network
    Let youronline network help you find legal jobs. Ping colleagues, contacts and former law professors via email or LinkedIn to see if they know of any openings in their firms and in your target cities. LinkedIn also allows you to see postings in the organizations your connections are affiliated with.

    LinkedIn is not the only social network you should put to good use. Put the word out on Facebook that you’re looking for a job. Since some of the best job leads come from friends and family, take advantage of this vast virtual network. You can also research potential employers and make virtual introductions via specialized legal social networks likeMartindale or the new legal site Foxwordy.

  4. Make Interviewing Convenient
    Phone screening interviews aren’t a problem for out-of-towners. If hiring managers want a video interview, make sure you have a Skype account set up and ready to go. If necessary, be prepared to travel to the interviewer’s location and to pay for your own expenses. If you’re serious about relocating, it’s worth your time and money to go in person and check out the city while you’re there. Many of the costs associated with job searches and relocating are tax deductible.

For many legal professionals, moving out of state is not a trivial matter. Besides the logistics of applying for long-distance legal jobs, there are also professional issues such as licensure, certifications, registrations, and minimum CLE (continuing legal education) requirements. But with enough determination and drive, you can find yourself right where you want to be — professionally and geographically.