Law school is a great time to begin a Career File if you do not have one already.  A Career File is an organized approach to keeping and maintaining all your records that might be needed for updating a resume, filling out a long application (particularly government ones), or writing a bio for your law firm’s website.

What should be included in your file?  Your file eventually will contain all your important professional records.  As law students, your file will be a work in progress, but even an incomplete one can be helpful.

Include:

  • College and law school transcripts
  • College and law school scholarships  – Include the official name of the scholarship, the sponsoring organization, the year(s) you received it, as well as the amount of the scholarship
  • A list of college and law schools activities that you update on a regular basis; include offices held and major contributions
  • Copies of major memos or papers done in law school
  • Results of any assessments you might have taken
  • Copy of Rule 13 certification (if applicable)
  • Copy of bar application and results (eventually)
  • Any certifications or other licenses
  • Dates of employment for every employer since high school or at least in the last 15 years if you are a non-traditional student; include job title, job duties,  major accomplishments, and why you left; for legal positions, include major cases and assignments
  • Writing samples of representative work at each employer (with permission and protecting confidentiality)
  • Names and contact information of all supervisors, noting those who would give good recommendations
  • Intern and employee evaluations, as well as self-evaluations
  • Letter of recommendations
  • Awards/Honors including the title, date received, and reason for the award/honor
  • Grants/Fellowships including the title, date received, dollar amount
  • Copies of publications you contributed to, edited, or wrote
  • Certificates from any CLEs you attended
  • Programs from any conferences you attended
  • List of organizations you belong to
  • List of pro bono and community involvement, including dates and number of hours you volunteered
  • Skills including languages and computer skills
  • Old resumes, as you update your resume and delete older information, do keep a copy of the older resume for your file

This file will not only help you throughout your career as you update your resume, but it will assist you as you prepare for interviews.  Starting a file now, or building on one you began earlier will save you a lot of work in the future.  Even after landing your first position out of law school, do continue to add to your file.  At some point in the distant future you may want to begin a new job search and you will have all the information you need to move forward.  A Career File will serve you well!

For more information, check out Shauna C. Bryce’s book in the Career Development Center, “How to get a Legal Job – A Guide for New Attorneys and Law School Students”.