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There is a temptation to think of a r�sum� as purely a tool for gaining employment that becomes largely irrelevant once a job has been found. For most junior lawyers, moreover, the experience of preparing a r�sum� during the course of law school is a painstaking process, the repetition of which should be avoided at all costs. Once you have a job, in short, it seems pointless and burdensome to spend time on your r�sum� (unless and until it comes time to answer the headhunters’ siren calls). Yet your r�sum� can be an extremely valuable business tool, for many purposes, beyond simply finding a job. Here are some of the other functions that your r�sum� can serve; remember, there is value in maintaining a current, complete r�sum� (and in many cases, several). R�SUM� AS ADVERTISEMENT The most basic function of a r�sum� is advertisement. In seeking employment, you structure your r�sum� with an eye toward attracting the attention of potential employers, and in hopes that the education background and experiences you list will persuade an employer to hire you (or at least interview you for a position). That same advertisement function applies after you are hired at a law firm. Consider client “beauty contests.” They are a regular part of the experience of most lawyers (at least in larger law firms) that clients will entertain proposals from one or more law firms for a particular piece of business. Typically, as part of such a beauty contest, a team of lawyers from a firm will be assembled and “pitched” to the client. Most often, a book of r�sum�s is provided to the client representatives, indicating who the members of the team are likely to be. The quality of your r�sum� may be judged, in this context, both by the client and by the senior members of the firm’s practice team who are deciding which junior lawyers to include as part of the team for the client pitch. In addition, many lawyers participate in CLE seminars and other public speaking activities, where at least a part of the purpose of the program is to demonstrate the talents of the lawyers involved in the programs. In that vein, often, r�sum�s or biographies of speakers are provided to the audience. Again, in this instance, your r�sum� may be used as an advertising tool. R�sum�s may also be of use for internal marketing. In a larger law firm (especially one with several offices), there are often occasions when lawyers in one practice area need to draw on the talents of other lawyers within the firm. Your r�sum� (or shorter firm biography) may be a vital means of connecting with other lawyers in this situation. Indeed, in many firms, electronic search technology makes it possible to use firm biographies to find lawyers with specific background experiences. Thus, the more complete your firm biography, the more likely that other lawyers in the firm may be able to find you when they need you. R�sum�s are also useful in evaluations and reviews. Senior lawyers, especially in a large law firm, may have limited familiarity with the junior lawyers in the firm. When evaluations or reviews must be conducted, especially those in which many junior lawyers are being considered, very often the senior lawyers will make use of r�sum�s or firm biographies to keep track of the backgrounds of the lawyer under review. Again, your r�sum� or firm biography may be a useful means of advertising your talents and interests. HISTORICAL DOCUMENT For many lawyers, the experiences of a career are fleeting, and somewhat chaotic. It is often difficult to keep track of all the projects you may become involved with in the course of a career. Similarly, teaching, speaking and writing experiences may come at various times. When forced to produce a list of particular projects and experiences, it is often difficult to go back and reconstruct your personal history. Thus, your r�sum� may serve as a document that sets out, in one convenient location, all of the most important elements of your career. In many instances, it is advisable to keep one “super r�sum�,” which includes absolutely all of your relevant experiences. From this large, all-inclusive r�sum� it will be possible to construct shorter, more targeted forms, which address specific needs and interests. Thus, for example, if you were invited to participate in a seminar on a particular subject, you might produce a short r�sum� or biography that emphasizes the experiences that you have had related to that particular subject. For a client pitch in another area, you might produce a different r�sum�, with a different focus. R�SUM� A VALIDATOR In many instances, clients and even adversaries may be interested in knowing your background. Your firm biography, which is often available on the firm’s Web site or in other listing services, such as Martindale-Hubbell, may thus become a validator of your competence and experience. These encounters with your personal information may not determine whether you are hired for a project, but they may determine, at least in part, how you are perceived by those involved in the project. In short, even though your actual performance will ultimately be the most important determinant of your success, the expectations of those who work with — and even against — you may be colored by what they know of your background. CARE AND FEEDING OF R�SUM� The preparation of a r�sum� is a familiar process to most junior lawyers. Yet the preparation of a r�sum� in a law firm context is novel in many regards. There are several things to consider. For one, first impressions are important. Most firms circulate announcements of the arrivals of new lawyers, both internally and, in many instances, to clients and potential clients. It may be that your credentials are bare and cannot be much affected by editing. College, law school and practice group may be all that can be listed. The more senior you are, however, the more experiences and accomplishments you may wish to list, such as judicial clerkships, government service, teaching experience, experience at a corporation. At very least, if possible, you will want to make sure what is circulated about you is totally accurate and has no misspellings. Also keep in mind that your r�sum� should change over time. Once you begin work at a firm, you will accumulate experiences that will distinguish you from other lawyers. Your focus of interest, moreover, will likely sharpen with experience. Your r�sum� should change to reflect these developments. It is probably appropriate to review and update your r�sum� on at least an annual basis. You may want to make changes in your super r�sum� as they occur, and transfer appropriate parts of those changes to official versions of your r�sum�, such as your firm’s internal directory, your official bio, your Martindale-Hubbell listing, and any other variations of your r�sum� that may exist. Finally, be who you want to be. A r�sum� or shorter bio can be as much an aspirational document as it is an historical document. If, as your experiences and interests develop, you discover that your career orientation changes, you need not be trapped by your r�sum�. There inevitably will be aspects of your prior experiences that are related to your newly developed interests. Even if not directly on point, these experiences can and should be highlighted on your r�sum�. Thus, it is almost always possible to construct a r�sum� that emphasizes as much your hopes for the future as it does your accomplishments of the past. Steven C. Bennett is a partner in the New York City offices of Jones Day and a member of the firm’s training committee. The views expressed are solely the author’s and should not be attributed to the author’s firm or its clients.

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