Well, I can't claim to know it all, but here are some thoughts that might help find a job in a tough economy...
* Network, network, network! Go to events, join organizations, shake hands & hand out business cards. As a student, membership in most professional organizations is much less expensive. For instance, the Massachusetts Bar Association has student memberships at $35 per year. And they have a joint membership deal with the ABA that covers multiple years. Besides offering a slew of discount deals from Lexis and LimoLiner to Hertz and the Celtics and SportsClubs L.A, your Mass Bar membership also entitles you to a mentor program, an online forum (like a listserve) and free membership in one section or practice group. These sections or practice groups are the key part of the membership if you want to network and build relations among the practitioners in your topic area.
One of the cleverest ways I've seen a law student look for a job was just this. She was a stay-at-home mom, who had not had the chance for clinic, internships or summer jobs. She joined the Mass Bar in her last year of evening division, and chose the section in her interest area, Elder Law. She volunteered to register the folks attending a CLE for the Section and talked to them as they registered. She made some connections and a good impression, and voila -- job offer! You do not know when a job opening will appear -- but if you have made some connections and left a good impression, people may think to call you and tell you to send in your resume before the job gets posted. Therefore: NETWORK!!
* On a similar theme, exploit your existing connections. If you are a member of a community, a church/temple/synagogue group, an ethnic group, any interest group of some kind, that group may well pay off for you in terms of networking. Let people know you are looking for work and what kind of job you hope to find. Again, have those business cards ready. You can get them printed at a Kinko's, but our BLSA offers the service each year, to fellow students -- it's a great fund raiser and a good service.
* Look for opportunities for training. You may think this sounds strange in law school, but law school really doesn't get you ready for law practice. Suffolk includes an office called Advanced Legal Studies, which produces continuing legal education programs. This office has won national awards for the quality of its programming, that the programs are FREE to current students. Our students can locate the current and upcoming programs on the Suffolk website here. Outside of Suffolk, there are CLE programs advertised at bar associations. If your school has an internship program, like Suffolk has, here, or clinical programs, like here, those are also good opportunities for real-life training. There are a very few law firms that also offer internships and mentoring outside of law schools. I only know of one, but I hope the idea spreads -- it's desperately needed in the tough job market!
The amazing cover of the book Get Tough is apparently at a dead web page. Thank you, Major W.E. Fairbairn, as the author of the book, and whoever posted the image to the web, at http://aycu36.webshots.com