Researching Employers

We strongly encourage you to research employers prior to completing your preferences on Symplicity and before you attend any interviews. In addition, once you have received your interview schedule you likely will have the name(s) of the attorney(s) who will interview you. Keeping in mind that interviewers can change at the last minute, it is still important to gather information on the interviewer as well as the firm. Below are some resources you can use to gather information on both the employers and interviewers:

I) National Association for Law Placement (NALP) Directory of Legal Employers

NALP conducts annual surveys of member firms and governmental organizations and publishes that information on-line at www.nalpdirectory.com. The NALP surveys give an overview of the practice areas, hiring history, salary information for summer associates and entry level associates, billable hour requirements of the firm, number of attorneys per practice area, the names of other law schools at which they interview, and other relevant information about a given legal employer.

II) Firm Websites

The firms' own websites are likely to include a firm profile, a list of practice areas, a list of branch offices, attorney biographies, and a listing of internal firm publications for which the interviewing attorney has written. Many firms also include extensive descriptions of their summer associate programs. For Direct Contact firms it is especially important to check the Careers section of the website to see if the firm has stated preferences regarding what materials to send and to whom.

III) Martindale Directory

This directory gives basic information about the practice areas of a firm as well as biographical information about its attorneys. Martindale is a division of Lexis, but you do not need to log in to Lexis to use it. It is free and available to the public. You can do searches in Martindale by law firm or attorney, geography, practice area, and law school attended.

IV) Lexis and Westlaw

Search the Lexis or Westlaw databases to find the most recent cases in which the employer has been involved. We recommend using this research technique particularly in preparation for call-back interviews. You should also check the news service for both Lexis and Westlaw, which enables you to search various legal and local publications for information about the employer and about the person who will be interviewing for the employer. You can find interview prep tips and learn how to use Lexis Advance platforms to research law firms, attorneys, and alumni here. This research will provide you with insight into the issues the firm is currently facing and the professional background of a particular interviewer. These issues may have an impact on the outcome of your interview.

V) Alumni

Chicago-Kent has alumni at both the associate and partner levels at most large firms in Chicago, and many outside of Chicago. To find them and contact them:

  • Search the lists of professionals on firms' websites; many firms have functions to search by law school attended;
  • Run a Martindale.com search, specifying the name of the firm and "Chicago-Kent College of Law" as the law school attended;
  • Check on LinkedIn.com, running a search with employer name and "Chicago-Kent";
  • Ask your Career Services Advisor if they know of any alumni at the firm or agency

You can ask alumni about their experiences working at the firm, whether they worked as a summer associate themselves, what interview advice they might have, etc. Offer to meet them for coffee or lunch, or arrange a time for a phone call if that is more convenient for them.

VI) Internet Searches

Simple as it sounds, run a Google or other search engine search on both the firm and the interviewers to see what might come up.

VII) Word of mouth

In the words of Professor Spak, "be chatty."  Find out about organizational culture, division of labor, and other issues from people who have worked with the employer with whom you will be interviewing. First-hand experience is an invaluable resource for the type of information you want to know and will never find in directories or firm resumes. Remember to talk to a variety of people before drawing conclusions about an employer. Sources of this type of information may include professors and current students who worked for the employer during the summer or school year.