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Top Mistakes Holding Attorneys Back from Jobs at Top Law Firms
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resume mistakes

Summary: Too many attorneys have resumes littered with mistakes that prevent them being hired at large law firms. Don’t let yourself be one of them.

Read 21 Reasons You Will Never Get a Job with a Major Law Firm Now (or Ever Again) to learn more.


The number of positives that come from working in a large law firm far outweigh any negatives. This is why attorneys are willing to put up with the long hours, hard work, and unrealistic expectations. In order to capitalize on the benefits of working at a large law firm, attorneys must maintain a flawless resume. There are a number of mistakes that attorneys make that they don’t even realize are mistakes that are damaging their resumes and chances of getting jobs with top law firms.

There are 21 reasons that attorneys are not getting the job that you can learn from. Here are the first ten reasons:

  1. Attending a lower ranked law school and then not even doing well there is a no brainer. There may be an exception to this if an attorney has a highly desired and rare skill such as a PhD in electrical engineering. Your best chances will also be to attend a higher ranked law school and to do well at it.
  2. Not attending a top 10 law school and not being at the top of your class will ruin your chances. Being at the bottom of your class will tell potential employers that you are not willing to put forth the effort to be better.
  3. Not securing a summer associate job at a large law firm is a big red flag for law firms looking to hire an attorney. No matter what law school you attend, not obtaining a summer associate job with a large law firm will diminish any chance you have of getting a job with a large law firm after law school.
  4. Not receiving an offer as a summer associate job is bad but not quite as bad as not ever receiving a summer associate position. Law firms will most likely check to see if you received an offer.
  5. You can’t necessarily help it but graduating from law school at the wrong time will hurt your chances.
  6. Not serving your summer associate job at a major law firm and then not having your first job out of law school be with a major law firm or as a federal clerkship looks bad. Even in-house, government, and positions with public interest organizations will not help your likelihood of getting a position with a large law firm.
  7. Being a “jack of all trades” will not let you stand out at a law firm. Having a specialty that allows you to excel will increase the chances of a law firm to hire you.
  8. After ten years of experience, you must have portable business if you wish to find a job at a large law firm.
  9. Being too diverse shows the law firm that you will make an issue of diversity. Law firms want diversity but they also want attorneys that will fit in.
  10. Once you go in-house, it is hard to go back to a law firm. You will be considered a flight risk by law firms.


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