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Employer Research

How to research employers whether for EIP, judicial clerkships or any other job search.

Get Started

Getting Started

Harvard Law School has resources to help you learn about legal careers, prepare for interviews or apply for judicial clerkships. The sources below are a great place to start.

Judicial Clerkships

Judicial Clerkships

While applying for a judicial clerkship has some similarities to applying for a law firm jobs, in many ways it is very different. The application process for many clerkships is quite rigid. It is important to start your research early so you don't miss any important deadlines. These steps will help you start the research component of any clerkship search.

Before Applying

Familiarize Yourself with the Process

Research Specific Judges

Researching individual judges is important to decide which clerkships to apply for. Early research will also help you to speak confidently in interviews. The library has many judicial directories in print and online that provide information about judges:

You can also try searching in the library catalog:

Additional resources for researching judges have been compiled in:

Before Interviewing

Learn About the Judge

You can use analytical tools to learn about the types of cases a judge hears. These tools might also help you to get a sense of patterns in their decision-making.

Judges may want to discuss their opinions during your interview. This lets them examine your thoughts and to listen to your analysis of legal arguments. You can find representative opinions for almost any judge in Westlaw or Lexis. Select the case database, and use 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 will also want to see that you understand their place within the court structure. Check the court's webpage for information about court structure, contact information, and recent cases:

Reviewing recent cases from the same court is also a good strategy. Notable decisions of other judges in the same court system may also come up in conversation. Understanding recent cases can be useful.

Law Firms

Lawyer and Law Firm Data

Preparing for a law firm interview requires research. This will help you decide where to interview and prepare you to ask good questions. The steps below will guide you through the research process. Being prepared can make the interview process more comfortable.

Firm Research

Get an Overview of Relevant Law Firms

For a general over view of the key statistics for each law firm, start with:

Focus on Your Practice Area (if known)

If you want to work in a specialized field, investigate firms doing that work. Additional resources may include 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. Look for recent transactions and representative clients for the firms 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:

For rankings and reviews of law firms, try OCS's page on:

Using the Advanced Search feature in Hollis you can get more information about law firms.  After selecting Advanced Search, replace Keyword Anywhere with Subject in the drop down menu and then search for Law offices -- United States -- Directories.

Check Out Past EIP Statistics

Harvard conducts an Early Interview Program.

Information on past hiring practices at EIP are available here:

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:

To find lawyers by region, law schools, and other criteria, visit:

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. Once you narrow deals by region, the specific deals give information on firms and lawyers. Select Advanced Search (from the left navigation), and use the template to customize 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:

For up-to-date contact and biographical information on legislators and their staff members visit:

Before Applying

Knowing that you'd like to work for a legislator is a good start. With 500+ members of Congress, you'll need to narrow 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 can limit your search using many factors including location and party affiliation:

Areas of Interest

You can leverage your experience by focusing on legislators working within your areas of expertise. To determine a legislator’s interests, consider 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 Key Policy Area
  • In LegiStorm you can either locate a committee name under Member Committee or select a caucus under Member Caucus.

Before Interviewing

Education, Organizations, and More...

Diligent research can help you connect with your interviewer, make conversation, and 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. Then enter Harvard Law in the search and select the suggestion from the drop down menu.
  • Use Legistorm Advanced Search to find legislative staff by educational institution or military background.

Current Issues

News

It is useful to be aware of the issues relevant to the jurisdiction and legislator you would like to work with.

You can learn more about finding current awareness sources using:

Social Media Accounts

LegiStorm offers verified links to staffer social media accounts, including Linkedin, Facebook, & Twitter. On each staffer's biographical page, 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 spreadsheets of employers based on different 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.