Below please find the transcript from a recent interview regarding hiring with attorney Aaron Hall.
Question: What are the best things a law student can do (outside of grades) to appeal to prospective employers?
Answer: Demonstrate a track record of interest in a particular area with the selection of course work, activities, and other opportunities that show an interest in a particular niche.
Question: Just how valuable do you view judicial externships?
Answer: They are very valuable for a litigation practice. For a transactional practice, they may provide some general legal knowledge but they don’t differentiate you much in a transactional practice.
Question: Is there anything you didn’t do in law school that you now wish you had?
Question: What are some other good venues for networking?
Answer: The bar association sections for a particular practice area are a great place to network with leaders in a practice area.
Question: How often do you recommend following up with those you have networked with?
Answer: Once every 1-3 months.
Question: What are good things to talk about with someone at a second or third networking meeting?
Answer: I would ask them about the challenges of their position and what is required to take their career to the next level. Each person will have different suggestions.
Question: Any other important pieces of networking advice?
Answer: I would not focus on networking during law school. Also, come prepared with questions that are open ended and talk about their goals and challenges in moving their careers.
Question: What was your first job out of law school?
Answer: I was an associate at Morrison Sund in Minnetonka earning a $45,000 salary.
Question: When you are interviewing a job candidate, what sort of things are you looking for them to say? How can an interviewee stick out, in both good and bad ways?
Answer: I am trying to find out their true passion because I want to know they will endure over time. The academic and work products are core functions, which are essential, but I focus on passions and interests to differentiate candidates who are otherwise equal.
Question: What things do you like to hear someone say in a cover letter?
Answer: I would be looking for a deep interest in a particular area relevant to the job opening. In our firm, this involves an entrepreneurial passion to grow companies.
Question: Other than Symplicity, what are other valuable job search venues?
Answer: Bench & Bar is the main place I know of where people post jobs. There is also the unadvertised market of jobs, which you can tap into by contacting firms directly to find out if they have any present or upcoming openings.
Question: What is the single best piece of advice you could give to a soon-to-be graduate about to hit the job market?
Answer: Apply to every job opening for which you qualify with a general resume and have a resume tailored specifically to the ideal position that you seek, spending substantial time seeking that particular position. For example, if you wanted to work in a firm with a particular practice area, working with a certain type of client, identify your top firms for that type of position and contact them about doing coffee to learn more about the position. There may not be an opening but you will get to know the people and they will know who you are when a position opens. This is a longer-term strategy.
Question: Is there anyone else you could refer me to who works in a setting similar to Thompson Hall?
Answer: I do not know any similar firms. Most are very traditional.