When I graduated from law school in 2013, I didn’t have a job lined up. That was not at all uncommon at the time. Jobs were in short supply, as new legal graduates continued to oversaturate the market. Most people who graduated with jobs in my class were those who secured summer internships with a post-employment track. I had received glowing praises and recommendations from all the internships I held during law school. However, they were all temporary in nature. I worked for a federal judge, interned as a law clerk to a trial attorney at the EEOC, did an employment law internship with a local hospital, and held other positions that interested me. But none of them promised post-graduation employment.
I spent the summer after graduation studying for the bar exam. Thereafter, I continued my job hunt. I interviewed for several positions that proved not to be a match. Then, six months after graduation, I found myself at a crossroads in my job search. I had landed an interview the traditional way with a local firm that focused its practice on Social Security Disability Law. The experience I gained during my judicial internship in law school made me a strong candidate; so strong, in fact, that I was the firm's number one choice for the position. They called to offer me the job just days after the interview.
I ended up declining that offer in favor of a position with another firm whose focus was labor and employment (specifically employment discrimination). I had learned of the firm during law school after seeing the firm's founding attorney, Lindy Korn, visit the law school. I remember being so intrigued by Lindy's energy and the work her firm did. For that reason, Lindy came to mind in the midst of my job search. I regularly visited the firm’s website, but found no information on whether the firm was actively seeking new attorneys. I had no reason to believe the firm was hiring.
Still, I felt a pull to reach out. So, one day, I did by sending her a cold email.
This is the actual email I sent:
Dear Ms. Korn,
I am a recent graduate of SUNY Buffalo Law School, and I am writing to introduce myself and inquire about potential openings for associate attorneys or law clerks in your practice. I sat for and passed the July 2013 NY Bar Exam, and my character and fitness application is currently pending before the Fourth Department. I expect to be admitted as an attorney in NY in January.
I am reaching out to you because I am familiar with your work, and I have an interest and experience in employment discrimination law. During law school, I held several labor and employment internships, including a six-month law internship with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. I also assisted with drafting judicial decisions in employment discrimination cases for a federal judge in the Western District of New York.
I became familiar with you from your ongoing work with the law school, including your participation in the ABA Advocacy in Mediation competition. My team placed in the top 5 in last year's competition, and I really enjoyed learning more about the mediation process.
I have attached my resume to this e-mail and would be extremely grateful for any additional discussion concerning current or future openings in your law practice. I thank you for your time, and I hope to speak with you soon.
I heard back from Lindy that same night. She responded letting me know that she was not currently hiring, but that she wanted to have lunch with me. She gave me the name of her assistant, and asked me to call to schedule a meeting. Two weeks later, we had lunch. And one week after that, I had a job offer from Lindy in hand.
Over five years later, I still work for Lindy, and I am so grateful for the impact she’s had on my life and my career. While it can be scary to take risks and put yourself out there, I encourage everyone to take those leaps of faith and see where they land.
After all, you’ll never know if you never try.
Candace is a practicing attorney, working parents advocate, freelance writer, and proud mom. Her legal practice focuses on workers’ rights. She can be found writing about law, motherhood, and more on her blog as The Mom at Law.