Jonathan Bunge – Getting Your First Job as a Lawyer

Jonathan Bunge – Getting Your First Job as a Lawyer

As experienced litigators like Jonathan Bunge can tell you, there will always be a demand for skilled legal talent, especially in markets like Chicago where there is a lot of competition between the top firms.  This is good news for new law school graduates looking for their first position with a firm.  Here are some tips to help guide your search.


Be open to the possibility that you may need to move

One of the biggest challenges in finding any new job can be a reluctance to move to another city.  For many job-seekers this can be quite complicated because they may need to consider the needs of a spouse who may find it difficult to relocate because of his or her own work obligations.  It can also be difficult if you have aging parents who need support, young children who need care, or if you have purchased a home that you will not easily be able to sell.  There will sometimes be circumstances that simply make it impossible for you to move, but otherwise, be prepared to consider other cities.  At the very least, you should apply for all relevant jobs no matter where they are – if you get an interview, you will at the very least have an opportunity to hone your interview skills.  You many even discover that you can imagine yourself living and working in the city.  Try to keep some perspective – your first job will likely not be your last, and in your first few years as a litigator, you will be focused primarily on building your skill set and reputation, rather than spending much time out of the office.


Be willing to work up to your dream job

However skilled you are, and no matter how glowing your references, the chances are strong that you will not be offered your dream job fresh out of the gate.  This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t go after your perfect job – in fact, applying for all relevant jobs is very important because as noted above, you will certainly benefit from practicing your interview skills.  You can also use the process to gauge the strength of your cv and profile.  If you are not getting interviews for jobs that you felt well-qualified for, this can tell you that you are potentially over-reaching, or perhaps that there is some problem with your cv or references.  If you are offered a position that isn’t quite what you hoped for, then take the opportunity to strengthen your skills so that you are able to move up the ladder on your next job.  But don’t forget, you may find unexpectedly that what you thought wasn’t right for you turns out to be a perfect fit.


Above all, try not to be discouraged if it takes you a bit of time to find the right position for you as you enter the market.  The reality is that there is more than enough legal work to go around, and with perseverance and an open mind you will be sure to find the right job for you.


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