You’re in the midst of completing your CLP (or the Bar), and the pressure to start applying for a pupilage position has increased ten-fold.
But where do you even begin? There are hundreds of law firms throughout Malaysia and you need to figure out which of these are best suited to your interests.
This can be incredibly overwhelming, but perhaps a good way to start is by reading about how to choose a law firm. This isn’t a particular science, and methods to go about a job hunt vary from person to person. But this guide may help you narrow down a trajectory.
So come along with us as we explore a few ways to choosing potential law firms for your pupilage.
1. Understand your interests
The first step is always to understand yourself and your interests. There are various fields of law you could dabble in but only a few will be of interest to you. Here is where your recall the modules you took in your three years of law school and identify which you enjoyed the most.
You could go a step further and research areas you were not acquainted with during law school. If your interests lie with Intellectual Property or Media Law, then look for firms that have these departments.
Bear in mind that you may not get to choose exactly which department you work in but it helps that this option might be available to you. If not now, then maybe in the future.
2. Utilise job search portals
These portals can be your secret ticket to finding the perfect law firm. One such specialised portal is JustLaw.asia. It is a free law jobs portal dedicated to matching prospective employees with opportunities in the legal industry.
It goes further by ensuring that you and your talents are connected to employees who are seeking similar talents to grow their firms. This portal does not just cater to lawyers, it generates its services for all stakeholders in the industry – paralegals, legal secretaries, legal journalists and so on.
Once you understand your interests, all you have to do is register with JustLaw.asia and get connected to an array of suitable prospective employees who are looking for someone exactly like you!
This aspect is something most law students are very familiar with. Researching the right firms is fundamental to your job search. Although portals such as JustLaw.asia are available to make this process easier, it is still vital for you to carry out your own informed research.
A quick Google search can lead you directly to a list of law firms, their sizes, areas of practice and partners. All of which are important aspects in your decision-making process. Many lawyers are also encouraging young graduates and students to not just research firms, but their people too.
It is vital to read up on your potential bosses and pupillage masters who have the power to decide the trajectory of your career. By ensuring that your boss is someone who shares your attributes and work ethic, you are, in turn, ensuring a more conducive learning experience at the firm.
During this new norm, LinkedIn is your best pal in this quest for the most suitable law firm. It can help you connect with peers, experienced lawyers and anyone in the legal field who can lend you a helping hand.
By engaging with these communities of people, you are making yourself known to the legal fraternity. It is always advantageous to be recognisable. Don’t be afraid to drop messages and comments, asking questions about the person and their field of work.
Although interactive events are not possible, attend as many webinars and online talks as you can to gauge law firms and their employees in order to make an informed decision in your job hunt.
5. Consider your work-life balance
Finally, in deciding which firms are most suitable to your personality and interests, consider if it will also guarantee a work-life balance.
Although the first few years of practice are always the most strenuous, it will help if your firm is a little more understanding of your personal time. Firm cultures should be an important deciding factor. So make sure to make enquiries with peers or seniors who already work at some of these law firms.
A healthy work-life balance will improve your quality of work and ensure that stress does not affect your well-being. You will be working at this firm for at least a year, so it is important that you choose correctly.
And there you have it! These 5 tips may not perfectly direct you to the right firm, but they sure are iron-clad ways for you to choose wisely. Some methods may work better than others, so don’t worry about having to tick off all 5 – do what is best for you!
The most important aspect of this search is to ensure you always remain calm and avoid letting the stress of a job hunt get to you. In these strange times, it is very important to be kind to ourselves and not add on unnecessary pressure.
Always remember that no job is perfect, but perhaps, these methods may help you come close to finding the best firm for you.