We interviewed Shauna C. Bryce about her job as a career coach and resume editor. We also asked her about her new book, How to Get a Legal Job: A Guide for New Attorneys and Law School Students, and got some tips for our readers about standing out in a sea of resumes!
1) What are you doing with your juris doctor now?
I use my JD everyday.
I do a lot of coaching and resume writing work with law students and junior attorneys. But many of my clients are seasoned lawyers—attorneys with 25 or 30 years of experience in general legal practice but also in highly technical areas like patent filing and enforcement, federal procurement, SEC enforcement and litigation, municipal bonds and other financial products, mass tort litigation, mergers & acquisitions, corporate investigations, and more. They work in all areas, not just big law firms. They also work in federal and state government, nonprofits, corporations of all sizes, and academia.
One of the challenges I love most about what I do is handling all these areas of law. And it’s one of the reasons clients are referred to me. When they talk to me about jury questionnaires for state criminal trials or correcting title deficiencies in the sale of mineral-rich land or supervising multi-jurisdictional litigation or representing clients before city planning boards, I know what they’re talking about. I don’t have to stop and ask them questions about the legal system or various processes. I don’t have to ask them what they mean by “e-discovery” or “bench trial” or “regulatory compliance.” I don’t have to ask them the difference between labor and employment law; and I don’t have to ask them the difference between working in a plaintiffs’ firm compared to a defense firm, a boutique compared to Biglaw, and a nonprofit compared to a corporation!
But I also understand how to tailor their experience and credentials toward their target employers and area of law. What about their experience in a small plaintiffs’ law firm is most appealing to an employer hiring for an in-house position? Or, for example, how do we position a law student with very little substantive experience so that his resume interests a mission-driven nonprofit? That’s part of my focus as a resume writer and a coach.
Knowing how these employers work helps me help law students and junior attorneys get their foot in the door.
But it’s my law degree and experience in both law practice and legal hiring that enable me to do all that.