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Employer Research

Find all the resources you will need to research employers whether for EIP, judicial clerkships or any other job search.

Get Started

Getting Started

If you are looking for information on legal careers, preparing for an interview or applying for judicial clerkships, there are a number of sources provided by the Harvard Law School that can help.

Judicial Clerkships

Judicial Clerkships

While applying for a judicial clerkship has some similiarities to applying for a law firm job, in many ways it is very different. Moreover, the application process for many clerkships is quite rigid, making it important to start your research early so you don't miss any important deadlines. The steps below will help you to get started with the research component of any clerkship search.

Before Applying

Familiarize Yourself with the Process

Visit the Harvard Law Office of Career Services  Judicial Clerkships page to learn about the interview process. Here you will find, an overview of the clerkship application process and resources to help you decide whether clerking is right for you.

Research Specific Judges

Researching individual judges is important both as a way to decide which clerkships to apply for and so that you can be an confident and impressive interviewee. The library has many judicial directories in print and online that provide information about judges:

You can also try searching HOLLIS for "Judges--United States--Directories" to find additional directories, or for the Judge's name if you are interested in finding any books they may have written. Additional resources for researching judges have been compiled in this helpful guide from the University of Cincinnati Law School.

Before Interviewing

Learn About the Judge

With analytical tools you can learn more about the types of cases each judge hears and their decision-making.

Judges will frequently want to discuss their opinions during your interview to get your thoughts on the rulings and to listen to your analysis of legal arguments. You can easily find representative opinions for almost any judge by going to Westlaw or Lexis, selecting the case database, and using the following searches:

  • Westlaw: JU(lastname) or JU(firstname /3 lastname)
  • Lexis: JUDGES(lastname) or JUDGES(firstname w/3 lastname)   

Learn About the Court

Judges may also want to make sure that you understand their court and their place within the court structure. Make sure to check the court's web page for this additional information about the court structure, contact information and the most recent cases:

Even if the judge your plan to interview with was not involved in all of the recent cases, it may make sense to review them, so that you can discuss them if they come up in conversation and to get a sense of the types of cases the court has been hearing recently.

Law Firms

Lawyer and Law Firm Data

Preparing for a law firm interview requires research, both to decide which firms to interview with and to prepare to ask intelligent questions during the interview. The steps below will help you through the research process and ensure that you feel comfortable by the time you start your interview.

Firm Research

Get an Overview of Relevant Law Firms

The Harvard Law Office of Career Services offers a number of resources on their Researching Employers page. For a general over view of the key statistics for each law firm, start with:

Focus on Your Practice Area (if known)

If you are planning to work in a more narrow field, be sure to check out the additional resources on law firms in specific fields and markets, such as corporate law, intellectual property and finance to name just a few:

Research Interviewers and Current Firm Cases, Clients & Rankings 

Lexis and Westlaw are also rich sources for lawyer and law firm research. Directory information on law firms and individual attorneys can also be found in:

You may also want to search legal news and case databases to identify recent transactions and representative clients for the firms with which you will be meeting. For rankings and reviews of law firms, try Law Firm Rankings and Guides page from OCS which includes law firm guides such as:

You can also search HOLLIS for the subject "Law offices -- United States -- Directories".

 

Check Out Past EIP Statistics

Finally, if you are interested in seeing information about this firm's hiring practices at EIP in past years, you should refer to:

Litigation

Litigation by Practice

To search potential employers by organization type, such as Law & Lobbying Firms, Government (Federal, State or Local), Associations, Nonprofits, among others visit:

Create customized lists of law firms or individuals. For some ideas on how to find lawyers by region, law schools, and other criteria, check out:

Transactional Law

Firms Advising on SEC Transactions, includes: M&A and Financing

You may start by consulting other research guides on corporate governance and securities regulation:

SEC filings, often contracts, provide precedential language for deals and other transactions, including for M&A, equity issuances, and governance issues (e.g., corporate proxies).  Bloomberg Law contains a well curated list of SEC filings (EDGAR):

Firms Advising in Private Equity, Venture Capital & Hedge Funds

You may start by consulting other research guides on venture capital, private equity and hedge funds:

Prequin provides tools for searching on financing (stage, region, etc.), but not specifically by role (such as by law firm advisors). However, once you narrow the deals by stage and region, the specific deals give information on the firms and lawyers. Get to the Advanced Search (from the left navigation), and then use the template to set up customized searches.

Legislative

Legislative Employers

Resources to help you learn more about Congress are available in a number of forms.

Government websites, such as the following provide congressional contact information:

The following databases available to HLS students, provide up to date contact and biographical information for both legislators and their staff members:

Before Applying

Knowing that you'd like to work for a legislator is a good start, but with over 500 members of Congress you'll need to narrow down your options to be most effective.  A few ways to narrow your search include: Location, Party Affiliation, and Area of Interest.  

Location & Party Affiliation

You have the ability to limit your search by a number of factors including location and party affiliation from the following locations:

Areas of Interest

Focusing on legislators working within your own areas of expertise allows you to find legislators you might most enjoy working with, and leverage your experience most effectively.  There are several methods to determine a legislator or staff member's interests such as: the committees they serve on, the caucuses they are a part of, or their listed interests in services that compile this information.

  • In Leadership Connect under Build a List you can limit based on Area of Expertise.  Within the Advanced Search you can limit your search by "Expertise/Legislative Area." 
  • In LegiStorm  you can either input a committee name in the "Members, Committees, Organizations," field under "Advanced Staff Search" or you can select "Committees and Caucuses" option under the "People" Tab.

Before Interviewing

Education, Organizations, and More...

With diligent research you may find areas that help you connect with your interviewer, make conversation or ask insightful questions.  Consider researching some biographical information on your interviewer or potential employer.  

  • In Leadership Connect you can search by school.  From the link above, select "Education" enter Harvard Law in the search and select the suggestion from the drop down menu. 
  • Use the Legistorm Advanced Staff Search above to find legislative staff by educational institution or military background.

Current Issues

News

Being aware of the issues relevant to the jurisdiction and legislator you are interested in will be useful throughout the process.  You can learn more about finding current awareness sources using our Prepare to Practice Research Guide.

Social Media Accounts

LegiStorm offers verified links to thousands of staffer social media accounts, including Linkedin, Facebook, & Twitter.  Once you find a staffer's biographical information page there is a section for social media information that LegiStorm compiled:

Town Hall Meetings

Town Hall meetings are a unique way to learn more about what a legislator's constituents care about.  For more information about town hall meetings, see the following resources:

Business & Non-Profit

Business

Creating Customized Firm List for any Industry

Using Nexis Uni you can create customized Excel spreadsheets of employers based on a wide variety of criteria, including:

  • Type (private, public, subsidiary, etc.)
  • Size (based on revenue or sales)
  • Number of Employees
  • Industry (description or SIC & NAIC)
  • Geographic scope (country, state, city, zip code, etc.)

General Company Research

You might also consult the following guides for additional research tips:

Non-Profit

The Encyclopedia of Associations provides industry specific information on organizations and their missions.

Many organizations support a trade publication. Likely you will find out what publications are available by visiting specific websites. For specific publications, search by title name in Hollis, the Harvard Library catalog.

You might also consider exploring the following guides:

Getting Help

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CC License

CC License

Creative Commons License

This guide is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

You may reproduce any part of it for noncommercial purposes as long as credit is included and it is shared in the same manner.