Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Targeted mailing

As suggested by my recruiter, I've started sending my snazzy new resume to several small to medium sized firms in the Chicago area.

Using the language of my law school career counselor, I've opted for a "targeted mailing" rather than a "mass mailing."  The difference being, rather than simply sending my resume everywhere, I have selected firms in specific practice areas.  

There are three main areas of law which I have "targeted" for the purpose of this mailing: Real Estate, Healthcare and Medical Malpractice.  If you actually want to know my rationale, feel free to send me an email.

This narrowed my list down to about 200 firms.  It's not as bad as it sounds, since most of them have email addresses.  But, and here's the tricky part, my home computer is pretty fucked up and doesn't have Word.  So, I'm doing all of this at work.  So far, I've sent out about forty resumes and have done absolutely nothing work related today.

Once I finish, I guess I'll just sit around waiting for my phone to start ringing off the hook.  I'm pretty sure that's how this is supposed to work.


  1. You could use Open Office, actually. It's a pretty good replacement for Word. What I do is create an Open Office document and then use the button on the toolbar to turn it into a PDF.

    I'd provide you a link. But, then, you're not a geriatric, which means you already know that you can find it on the Google.

  2. Hey, thanks for the tip; I'll look into that. I currently use Google Docs for everything while I'm at home, but I couldn't figure out how to turn that into an acceptable email attachment.

    Random update: It's been less than ten hours and I'm already getting rejections. Not quite the positive response I was hoping for...

  3. D:
    1. For jobs you should do a "targetted mass mailing".
    a. Get a Sullivan's directory and input every lawyer, and small firm, in Northern Illinois. It will also say the practice areas that they practice. Put the info in an Excell or Word document. Have a column for family law, criminal, real estate, wills, PI(med mal), insurance defense, immigration, bankruptcy and business litigation. Find a subtle way to mention that your parents are doctors in the PI(med mal) letters.
    b. Figure out how to do a Word mail merge and mass thousands of near custom letters to these firms/solos. Send to only one lawyer per firm. Also include your resume with each letter. Every solo and small firm in Chicago should have your letter.

    2. Pick a practice area and figure out a marketing plan for so that you can market directly to CLIENTS. Research the ethics rules first.

    You will spend a few thousand dollars on stamps and paper. This can not fail. You will either get a job, get clients, or get a job to which you will be bringing your clients.

    When a solo or small firm needs help they're not going to advertise the job or schedule an on campus interview. They will "ask around" to see if anyone knows a young attorney. If your letter comes at the right time, why wouldn't they call you?

    Real estate is presently dead. Real estate lawyers are forced to stumble into other practice areas. I don't know what health care law is. Med Mal may be out of your league at this point in time as you have little litigation experience. If you get into a firm that does PI (or to a lesser extent criminal) you will get litigation experience and may apply to a med mal firm in 2 years when the economy improves. Med mal is high end PI.

    Good luck!


  4. Also, since you have an interest in languages, learn Spanish. The Latinos are a huge unserved market.

  5. Don"t send email. It will be treated as spam. Mail an actual letter.


  6. I second what Gus said about sending a letter as opposed to an email.

    Your email may got filtered into a spam folder. And even if it reaches an inbox, clicking "delete" takes all of .5 seconds. At least with a letter, the reader is more likely to skim it and peak at your resume. Stated differently, discarding a letter takes about 5 seconds as opposed to .5, but it does make a difference.

  7. Gus, as usual, thanks for the helpful comments. Since there's a lot going on in the comments, here is a list of responses that should touch on most issues:

    - I'm using the "4 or more" list, provided by my recruiter, to pick out firms. It's basically a pre-made list similar to what Gus suggested I make.

    - As for marketing directly to clients, that's going to take some research. I'll get back to you if I go anywhere with that one.

    - The fact that my parents are doctors is definitely on my cover letter for those positions.

    - I'm tempted to agree about sending actual letters. I'm really just sending emails b/c there's an email contact listed for most of the firms on the list. Also, I'm hesitant to spend that much money on postage for something that, in all likelihood, won't get me a job. I'll see what the recruiter thinks about this.

    - While real estate may be dead, it's technically what my current firm does, so it would be stupid not to include it in my list.

    - I'm taking French, rather than Spanish, b/c I took a lot of French way back when. I want to get it down first before doing another language. I fully intend to learn Spanish one of these days.

  8. My recruiter just said that the preferred method for receiving resumes is via email. That way they can be easily saved and/or forwarded on to other people.

    I'm sure there are pros and cons to each, but this guy is actually the president of one of a well known legal recruiting firm in town, so I'm going with his suggestion.

  9. D:

    I just had an idea for you. Since you do collections, why don't you get a list of small businesses; you can do this from Hoover's and Manta. Pick a field, like for example, Dentists.

    Send an letter to dentists saying that you will do collections for them on a contingency fee basis. (Subtly mention that your parents are doctors) Make sure that they pay the costs.

    Put all of your collections cases on the same day in court. You'll only have to go to court a few times a month. The rest of the time, you squeeze people on the phone. You can later expand to other businesess, like small firm doctors. You already have friends who are collections lawyers so you have someone to give you advice, and if necessary take a cut.

    Once you have a group of small business people who think of you as "their lawyer", they'll call you for other things as well.

    It's easy, malpractice proof, relatively risk free and, as little as you know, you know more than your unrepresented pro se opponents. Over time, you'll also pick up the fundamentals of civil litigation. You've just got to stay on top of the accounting and the phone calls.

    Before you look down on collections, let me tell you a story. My law school friend was law review and went on to a Wall Street firm. He hated big law and then to a Chicago midsize business litigation boutique. He left after 5 years to start his own firm. He buys debt directly from credit card companies and collects it himself. Before the great recession, he got 100% return on the debt purchased. He also does other litigation as well. He reports to no one and has little stress.

    People tell young lawyers to hang a shingle but no one seriously discusses marketing with them; as though you're going to get clients wearing a T shirt that say's "I'm a lawyer" and taking everything that comes in the door. LOL

    Young lawyers need to think up things like this.


  10. Gus -

    I think that is a great suggestion. My one concern would (if I can speak on the author's behalf) is that there are a lot of federal and state laws that cover collection work, like the FDCPA. I have never done collections -- so take this for what it's worth -- but it could be fairly simple to violate one of these statutes if you don't know what you are doing, which would lead to a major headache.

    Of course, attending a CLE in collection work would probably be enough to ensure a young attorney has at least a basic understanding of these laws and stay out of trouble.

    Just thinking out load. Best of luck to the author.

  11. Thanks for the input, guys. I'm pretty sure I could handle collections on my own with a little practice. What I do now is solely collections based on unpaid rent, but I'm assuming other forms of collections are similar (I could be WAY off on that assumption). If I ever do head out on my own, I'd definitely have to start out with collections stuff.

  12. From your last comment, I just figured out what your "boss" does. It sounds like an alright business. He gets the judgments on forcible entry and detainer (evictions) and collects them; while probably doing a bunch of evictions himself. I never knew there was a service like this.

    Here's how I'd break into this:

    1. Run through the eviciton files at the clerk's office. Many small landords evict pro se and are happy to get possession, they have no real expectation of collecting the deficiency jugment. It will have the landlord's address on either the complaint or the lease. Send a letter offering to collect on contingency as well as advertising that you'll do evictions cheap.
    2. Befriend real estate agents. Many people buy a 4 flat for investment every 5 years or so and aren't big corporate landlords. They may call their realtor when they have problems with a tenant.
    3. Find real estate ownership information from the Recorder of Deeds. If it's not in trust, it will have the owner's name and address. Send out solicitations.
    4. Solicit the big corporate landlords as well.

    Who cares if your "boss" didn't give you a job. Eat his lunch!


  13. Gus,

    Um...close enough. Yeah, I could probably handle what you're talking about. If you really want to know what I do, send me an email.