Wednesday, April 11, 2007
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Reader Questions...

If you have been following this blog for some time now, you'll notice I just make a casual reply to comments left in my blog. But this particular entry in my other blog has been flooded by questions/comments. Since the questions there are private in nature I tried to leave these people email answers, unless the question will benefit the general public.

But then, an anonymous person asked a lot of career questions last night. Since he (or she) did not leave a forwarding email address and I guess everyone (particularly new lawyers) will benefit from the answers, I'll post them in this separate entry.

So here goes:

1. Would you recommend working with the PAO?

For those who don't know, PAO stands for the Public Attorney's Office. It's the government agency tasked to represent criminals (or other destitute litigants depending on their criteria) in court.

For a new lawyer who does not have any responsibilities, who wants to crunch about three years of practice in 6 months, the PAO is an excellent place to hone your skills. And it's a perfect career move if you want a career in the judiciary.

The work is sheer murder, though. So I don't recommend it for lawyers with family responsibilities and any similar limitations on work.

2. As for law firms, how will I know if they are in need of associates?

Law firms are always in the lookout for associates. For the big ones, there will never be a shortage of work, hence the need for new guys is constant.

But they only accept associates from three schools, unless they are desperate.

And there's nothing wrong in applying anywhere. There's nothing to loose but maybe everything to gain, as the saying goes.

3. How do I send in my resume? Should it be by personal service, mail or email?

Tradition says you should personally deliver you resume. But for me, this only works for small firms. For the big firms, you only get to meet their receiving clerk so there's really no point in wasting precious time delivering your resume personally.

For the small firms, personal delivery may pay off because you may get an instant interview if you meet a partner (or any boss) while you are there.

As for email, I guess you can send your resume through the partner's personal email. The firm's email passes through the same receiving clerk. If you can get the boss' personal email that would show resourcefulness and may get you an interview for it.

(Actually, I won't even bother to send my resume to these big firms, if I were you. If they did not invite you to apply when you were just taking the bar, they won't bother with you when you already passed. They already did their recruiting way before the graduating batch took the bar exams.)

4. Do I have to submit my transcript together with the resume? What other documents do I have to submit together with the resume?

Normally, the standard resume will do but it wouldn't hurt to include your transcript (especially if you can be proud of that transcript).

But make sure you have a good resume. And I don't mean this only as regards its contents (because there's really no remedy for this at this point in time). I mean, just make sure there are not typos, capitalization or gramatical errors in it because you know where that piece of paper will go.

Personally, if I'm hiring (but I'm not so don't bother), I'm looking for two things: writing ability and/or resourcefulness. I don't have the time to spoonfeed or hold a newbie's hand as he/she first experiences the rigors of practice. I'm looking for a lawyer who already knows how to swim when I throw them off the deep end of the pool. I'm going to look for a new guy requiring minimal supervision (be it in writing, litigating, or both). If I can find an associate possessing both of these traits, then I found a gem. And mind you, a bar topnotcher does not necessarily possess any or all of these qualities.

5. What questions are usually asked in interviews? Does the interview go like a revalida where anything and everything under a particular subject could be asked? Are there hypothetical questions given? Will it be by a panel?

To these questions, just try to approach it from the other point of view. What is the point of an interview (or any interview)?

It's simply to try to get to know you given a limited time. So everything, every question, will supposedly lead to this purpose. So I guess you have to be prepared for everything, from family background to writing style, even to sleeping preferences (as even this has a bearing on your potential job performance).

Panels are rare as lawyers have limited time for small and medium scale firms.

Usually, in big firms, you start with a one person interview and end up with a panel (as the partners, assuming they're equal, would want a say in who to hire).

If you are applying as a lawyer in a corporation (or in government), the standard job hunting tips apply.

So there. I hope this helps.

And thank you, whoever you are for giving me something to write about today.

1 Objection(s):

At 6:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

thank you so much, atty. punzi, for lending us, new lawyers, some of your precious time.

i am sorry for some typo errors made in my post. those could have been the basis of some comments.

i really find your post regarding this matter very helpful.

i am really at a loss at this time. after all the revelry for passing the bar exams, i am now in a maze where the goal is deeply hidden. my inexperience must be the culprit for this cold feet that i'm having.

wish us luck. thank you for your selfless sharing of your time, knowledge and experience. we salute you.


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