Follow This Advice to Advance Your Legal Technology Career

Career advice for legal professionals
If you’re a legal information technologist or e-Discovery professional looking to succeed in your current role, to get a promotion or pay raise, or to find a job with more opportunity, read on for our team of experts’ best advice for legal technology professionals:

1. Think Beyond Salary & Ask for What You Want: 

You might be considering making a career move based on salary alone, or there may be other factors that would improve your work life, including potential training, skills growth, benefits, commute, and employer flexibility. While salary is obviously a top consideration, these other factors can have just as much of an impact on your career happiness. As you consider whether you want to look for a new legal technology job, be open with your supervisor about things you’d like to change. Don’t be afraid to ask for more responsibility, variety, mentoring, and money. Talk about your accomplishments and ask for a raise or promotion. Suggest a project that might grow your skills or give you more visibility within the law firm. Your current employer will respect you for it and be excited to have someone on their team who is seeking professional growth within the law firm. As a bonus, you’ll be improving your career now and building your resume for the future. There are many opportunities for legal technology employees to help law firms innovate and implement new technologies, which could lead to further career advancement for you down the road. Perhaps you’ll find these at your current firm, or perhaps you’ll look elsewhere for those opportunities, but either way, remember that pay isn’t the only thing to consider when looking to take the next career step.

2. Request Flexibility, but Be Flexible Too:

After a year of working from home more job seekers than ever before rank remote work and a flexible schedule as top priorities. While remote work is a huge benefit in today’s world it doesn’t have to be a deal-breaker when making a career choice. Assess where you stand as far the necessity of remote work—is it an essential safety concern, a preference, a matter of convenience, or the most effective work environment for you—before communicating what you require. Many law firms hesitant to maintain a formal remote work policy tend to show flexibility for employees who have proven themselves or for the right candidate. Before you decide to leave a great job in order to work from home, ask your employer if they can accommodate your desire to work remotely one or two days a week. Be proactive by providing them with a means to measure your productivity from home or speak specifically about how you’ve been effective and productive as a remote worker in the past.

3. Leverage LinkedIn

They might already have your resume in hand, but most managers will still look at your LinkedIn profile to get insight into your background and interests. LinkedIn is also a great way to be found by recruiters at companies like ESP Legal. There are a few ways to show you’re “available for work” or looking for a new role—both incognito and publicly. Take some time to ensure your LinkedIn profile is not only current but also highlights your skills and industry knowledge. Take some time to review job descriptions and then add skills and keywords to your LinkedIn profile to match your experience and what you’re looking for in your next role.  Like or share thought leadership articles to add depth to your profile and help you stand out.

4. Be Authentic and Honest:

Whether you’re networking, representing yourself on a resume or LinkedIn, or sharing about your background with a recruiter or in a job interview, honesty really is the best policy. While you definitely want to market your skills and experience, it doesn’t mean you need to claim to know or be able to do everything. You’ll find the best way to build relationships and be successful at a law firm long term, is by being yourself.

5. Avoid Generic Phrases and Clichéd Statements:

Have you ever been guilty of telling a job interviewer that your biggest weakness is that you work too much or that you’d always dreamed of working at their law firm (even though you hadn’t heard about it until the week before)? You may think those answers paint you as the perfect candidate, but your interviewer has heard that all before and those statements are unlikely to help your chances of landing the job. Instead of relying on the banal, try personalizing each answer with key points from both your experience and personality.

6. Think Creatively about Medical Coverage:

With rising costs, medical coverage has been a top consideration for many of our candidates. These benefits can vary significantly from law firm to law firm and there are also independent coverage plans that could better cover the needs of your family at a lower cost than your new employer’s plan. Be flexible and consider all your options before accepting or turning down an offer. With this creative approach, you may be able to save some money and still get that perfect job for your legal technology career.

7. Prepare for Interviews:

We know this seems basic, but preparation really is the key to success. Fortunately for candidates, hiring managers often ask the same questions. What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? Where do you see yourself in five years? Why should we hire you? Take the opportunity to prepare some excellent responses, using specifics to provide the kind of information your interviewers are really looking for, and practice keeping your interview responses short and to the point.

8. Don’t Worry So Much About Golden Handcuffs:

We see a lot of job seekers pass on great opportunities because they’re waiting to receive their year-end bonus in the mid-Spring of the new year. While for some this might be worth it, if you’re ready to move on from your current role, we encourage you to hear about opportunities and consider making that move before your bonus comes through. There are vast opportunities out there that could not only lead to a significant increase in your compensation, but also greater job satisfaction.

This might be your year to get a promotion, develop new skills, make a career change, or join a different law firm, and if so, we hope this advice will serve you well. We truly believe every individual’s needs and career search are unique which is why our recruiters would love to offer you more personalized advice to grow in your legal technology career.

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7 Tips To Make The Most of Your Video Interview

During the COVID-19 pandemic, video interviewing has become the standard for law firms and companies alike when it comes to their hiring process. With working from home as the new norm, online interviewing appears to be here to stay. For legal technology professionals interviewing via video poses a few unique challenges and extra preparation.

Here are seven easy tips to prepare you for your next video interview:

1. Check Your Technology
You want to make sure your computer is fully charged and plugged in and that all aspects of your video platform are working, especially the audio and microphone functions. Get familiar with the video platform you are using for your interview, whether it’s Zoom, Microsoft Teams, BlueJeans or GoToMeeting, make sure you have downloaded any necessary applications and updated permissions on your device so you don’t run into any last-minute technical issues. Lastly, don’t forget to ensure your wi-fi connection is strong, or if possible, use an Ethernet cable to ensure your connection doesn’t break during the interview.

2. Get Your Lighting Right
One of the more unique challenges of video interviews is your lighting. You want to be easy to see, not shadowed. Take advantage of natural light by setting yourself up near a window, ideally facing the window, or to the left or right of it. Use any lamps you have in the room to your benefit as well; use a softer light aimed toward your face, a backlight to add dimension to your space, and fill lights to balance the light on either side of your body. 

3. Clean Your Space
It’s also very important that your interview space is tidy and distraction-free. Look for clutter and any other potential distractions for your interviewer, including possibly offensive décor, and remove it. That way the interviewer will be focused on your answers rather than your space.

4. Eliminate Technology Distractions
You don’t want to overload your computer or get distracted by an email popping up. Close all programs on your computer except for the video platform you’re using. Print a copy of your resume, as you would for an in-person interview. Turn off your other devices or put them in a different room, you shouldn’t need them during your interview, and a buzz could keep you from hearing a question or answering well.

5. Dress to Impress
As with any interview, dressing professionally is very important. But when it comes to video interviewing, you should also consider what looks best on screen: avoid patterns and wear neutral colors. Don’t only consider your torso-make sure all of you is dressed to impress so if you need to stand up for some reason, you’re not embarrassed by your sweat pants.

6. Chat Professionally
Your user name on the video platform also creates an impression so you may want to create a new one just for interviewing. Upgrade your user name to something professional and make sure to use a professional-looking picture as well.

7. Consider Your Nonverbals
Before you start your call, test your distance from the camera, making sure your head and shoulders are visible and that your occasional hand gestures could be seen. Imagine you’re sitting across from your interviewer and gauge the appropriate distance accordingly. You should also practice greeting your interviewer with a confident and friendly smile for a great start to your video interview.

Preparation is key to interview success, and it’s no different when it comes to video interviews. By making sure both your space and your own appearance are optimized for video interviewing, you increase your chances of getting a second interview and landing a great legal tech opportunity.

Our IT recruiters would love to be your career advisor. For personalized interviewing advice and resume recommendations:

Contact Us 

Note: This blog was originally published in 2017 and has been updated to reflect current trends and practices. 

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Our Top 7 Recommendations To Help You Hire And Retain Legal Professionals

Tips for hiring and retaining legal pros in 2018As you plan for the year ahead you might be aiming to make your hiring process more efficient, hoping to implement new employee retention initiatives, or analyzing your upcoming projects to identify your hiring needs. Whatever particular challenges you might be facing, 2018 is brimming with opportunities, and our team of experts at ESP Legal has put together these recommendations so you’ll be primed to take advantage of them.

Our Best Advice for Law Firm Hiring Managers in 2018:

1. Make or Promote A Remote Work Policy:

To recruit and maintain the best possible legal talent, make 2018 the year you evaluate your remote work policies. One of the major factors considered by candidates looking to make a career change is their ability to do their work remotely, either regularly or occasionally. If you already have a flexible policy, promote it with prospective hires. If you don’t, consider offering it as a perk to your new hires after they’ve proven themselves and as a reward to employees you are looking to retain. While not all positions allow for frequent remote work, with a structure in place to measure performance, many roles can be successfully executed through telecommuting.

2. Know the Legal Hiring Market:

It’s tight. Unemployment for educated legal professionals and technologists with legal experience is exceptionally low. If you’re looking to hire in the new year, it’s essential that you make yourself aware of what’s realistic to expect from both a skill set and compensation standpoint and draw up your job requirements accordingly.

3. Give Feedback:

If you’re working with a staffing firm, providing feedback in a timely manner is essential. It will help you get the best fit possible by helping your recruiter address concerns, adjust search efforts, and keep your favorite candidate warm while you work through your process. If you’re not working with a firm, feedback is just as important. Acknowledging a thank you note or informing a candidate of your next steps can keep them from losing interest or developing negative feelings about you or your firm.

4. Research Compensation:

The Association of Legal Administrators and the International Legal Technology Association (ILTA) are great resources for detailed compensation guidelines, and ESP Legal also publishes a free annual salary guide for technology, litigation support, and attorney compensation trends. If you are not able to offer a competitive salary as compared to your peers, think strategically about how you can offset this with better benefits, opportunity to grow and learn, and some flexibility in work schedule, and be prepared to sell these advantages to prospective hires.

5. Share Medical Benefits During the Process:

The cost of medical coverage can vary drastically from one firm to the next and can be a big factor for job seekers. If you’re working with a recruitment firm, share medical cost information with your recruiters. We have seen far too many candidates turn down an offer at the last minute because they’ve realized their out of pocket medical expense combined with the salary offered resulted in a decrease in their total compensation. By providing these medical costs in advance, or at least during negotiations, you’ll save yourself time and get the candidate you want.

6. Outsource your Hiring:

We know this may sound self-serving, but many of our clients historically hadn’t used recruiters before 2017 or tried to fill a position without help before sending it to us first, and after working with us have shared their regrets over the time they wasted. By engaging a trusted recruitment firm immediately when a need arises, you’ll get a great candidate on board fast, and minimize effort on your part.

7. Interview Efficiently:

In every area of legal hiring, candidates are in high demand and usually have several irons in the fire. When there are delays in the process, your internal hiring team can become forgetful or distracted and worse, your top candidate may lose interest in you or accept another opportunity before you’ve even prepared to make an offer. Line up all your qualified candidates and interview them in blocks of time over a few days or a week vs. one by one over several weeks. Then schedule internal debriefs with your team so you can compare candidates and make an offer to your top choice as soon as possible. Streamlining and expediting your interview process in these ways can help you make the best hire.

If you’re a hiring manager or department head at a law firm, we hope these recommendations have given you some good ideas and will help make 2018 your most successful year yet. If you’re looking for more personalized advice, our account managers would be thrilled to discuss your unique challenges and help you find the best solutions.

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