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‘On the Docket with Dori’ explores how the pandemic has impacted the legal industry job market

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On the Docket With Dori

A few law firms are beginning to hire again, but South Florida lawyer and legal recruiter Joe Ankus said the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the dynamic of job interviews.

Ankus discussed the legal job market and health and wellness with Florida Bar President Dori Foster-Morales in her latest podcast, “On the Docket With Dori.”

Law firms imposed hiring freezes in March when the economic fallout from the health crisis was less clear, Ankus says. Some are beginning to hire again, but not enough of them to suggest a full recovery.

“I won’t say it’s completely normal, but I will say that firms now are hiring, especially in litigation and bankruptcy,” he said. “You can do what you can do within reason, but you can’t treat this as a traditional job search.”

Networking remains key to finding the next job, Ankus said, and virtual platforms have overtaken social gatherings as the primary venue.

“I have found that sources like LinkedIn and virtual bar association meetings actually give people a chance to more meaningfully connect,” he said.

Job interviews are routinely conducted via Zoom, but that doesn’t mean they are any less formal, Ankus warns.

“Just because it’s on Zoom doesn’t mean you can show up in your bathrobe,” he said.

Ankus recommends courtroom attire, from head to toe. Choose an appropriate background for the videoconference and find a quiet place free of distractions, he said.

“Give these interviews the dignity that they deserve,” he said.

Foster-Morales asked Ankus, who teaches mental health first aid, to discuss one of her favorite topics.

“You know that health and wellness of all Florida Bar members is so important to me,” she said. “Can you give listeners your top tip?”

Lawyers who find themselves in the job market shouldn’t be too hard on themselves, Ankus said.

“The first thing I would say is take care of yourself, you can be of no use or help to people around you if you yourself are completely run down,” he said. “As simplistic as it sounds, if you need that break, take it. Be kind to yourself.”

The “On the Docket with Dori” series is posted on The Florida Bar’s website and featured on the Bar’s social media platforms.

“My hope is that the series will help keep members informed and updated during an important time when we can’t physically be together,” Foster-Morales said.

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