Law School Discussion

Law Students => Job Search => Topic started by: sharka on January 19, 2016, 02:54:14 AM

Title: 2L Summer & Post-Grad Employment Search & Alternatives
Post by: sharka on January 19, 2016, 02:54:14 AM
Hello my Law School Discussion community members,

For those of you who have helped me in the past, I am happy to say I did better grade wise last semester. Got a 3.25 for the term, but only bumped my 2.9 up to a 3.03.

But I come to you all with another concern. I am now in my Spring Term of 2L year. I passed the MPRE and participated in OCI in the Fall, but yielded nothing more than a small handful of callbacks. I haven't been able to secure any part-time law clerk positions either. I am wondering if you all have advice for me on where I can find or search for jobs like part-time law clerks, summer associate positions at in-house or firms, etc. I'm worried that I'll be unemployed upon graduation which is a problem for me as I have family finances that I'm responsible for. This line of thinking has triggered me into thinking about alternatives upon graduation if I can't secure a law firm or in-house legal position.

Anyone have suggestions on alternatives or other degrees to pursue to supplement the law degree so that I can be marketable to the business world, sports management, or other fields in case I can't find a law firm or in-house legal position?

Sorry about the long post, and thanks in advance for all serious and thoughtful replies.
Title: Re: 2L Summer & Post-Grad Employment Search & Alternatives
Post by: Maintain FL 350 on January 19, 2016, 09:28:00 AM
First off, congratulations. Anything above 3.0 in law school is a respectable GPA.

Second, if you can provide a little background like where you are located, if you're willing to move, whether you have a minimum salary requirement, etc., then it's easier to answer your questions.

But generally, I think OCI is a mediocre (at best) option for most students. Unless you're an academic superstar you probably won't get hired from OCI. This means you've got to pound the pavement and hustle.

You mentioned that you have family finances, so I assume you have (or have had) a job before. Getting a legal job is not too drastically different from getting into any other competitive line of work. Sending out a million resumes to every open position will not be very useful. You need to make connections and utilize any connections you already have. If you have any specific marketable experience (whether from your previous job or during law school) try to match it up with a legal job.

You mentioned in-house and sports management positions, but you need to very flexible. In this market the ability to wear many hats and to be adaptable is key. 

Paid positions are going to be pretty tough to get at this point, but if you can afford to accept an unpaid position at a firm or government office I'd do it. The DA, PD, City Attorney and a multitude of state and federal agencies have unpaid interns. Even these are somewhat competitive, but it's imperative that you get some experience before graduation. Even if it's not a field that you're interested in or an office you'd never want to work at, you need something on your resume.

As far as another degree, I wouldn't even worry about that now. More debt, more time out of the job market, and I'm not even sure it would be all that useful. To land a job in law or sports management you need experience. If you have the experience then an MBA won't matter. If you don't have the experience then an MBA still won't matter.

Focus right now on finding a legal position, then focus on passing the bar, then focus on getting a job. 
Title: Re: 2L Summer & Post-Grad Employment Search & Alternatives
Post by: loki13 on January 19, 2016, 12:32:34 PM
I agree with what Maintain wrote. I will add a few and emphasize a few things-

2L summer employment is important. But you are still quite a ways away. At a similar point in my law school career, I didn't have a 2L summer job. For various reasons, I had gotten *screwed* by a potential employer. But it ended up working out, as I worked my connections and ended up with my dream BigLaw job. But it wasn't through my school, and it wasn't OCI. Does this mean you'll end up as a BigLaw summer? No. But it means you have to create your own opportunities, and even the best ones don't get handed to you. And we're still some ways away from the summer.

Next, OCI is, for most students, not a great option. It's a cattle call. Yes, academic superstars will get offers. Others are just seat-fillers. Don't let it get to you.

Do not even think about another degree right now. That's crazy talk. ANOTHER DEGREE WILL NOT HELP YOU IN THE LEGAL FIELD. That's a pretty definitive statement, and there are exceptions (JD/MDs that practice medmal, or an LLM is tax law from a good school, for instance), but a generic, "Another degree will help me get a legal job?" No.

Ask around. Ask professors that you are friendly with. Use on-line tools. Friends. Colleagues. Send out resumes and good cover letters (how many? more than you think you should). Keep at it.

If it comes to it, take an unpaid legal position. But get something "in the law" under your belt.
Title: Re: 2L Summer & Post-Grad Employment Search & Alternatives
Post by: sharka on January 19, 2016, 07:00:06 PM
To Maintain FL 350 -

Thanks! I sure wish the employers respected my GPA too..

So to share a little about my background, I'm located in the Bay Area (San Francisco Bay Area - so think anywhere from Concord to Oakland to SF to Palo Alto) I'm willing to move within California but ideally stay in the Bay Area as I have a house here. Honestly at this point, salary requirement is up in the air. I really want a job that would put me near 80-90 K (yes I realize I might be daring to dream). In a perfect world, 100,000 (highly unlikely I realize). But realistically 60-70k to start would be nice? Too much to ask?

So yea I worked throughout undergrad and came straight to law school but due to special circumstances, I've been heavily involved in the family finances for years to the point where I am the bulk if not borderline all income. I've been doing the send a million resumes out, but having a hard time scoring for sure. You mentioned making connections but do you have suggestions on where to go and how to approach the topic? It seems to blunt to be like "Hi, "chit chat chit chat" By the way, I'm really looking for a position, heard of any?". I'm never quite sure how to make that turn in the conversation with new networked connections. Like with people I know, I mentioned I'm still searching for a position and with a few I even asked if they would let me know if they heard of any open positions but no results yet. I used to work in Business and Finance before going into Accounting. 

And yea I'm all about flexibility as long as I can make ends meet financially. (I know that is a big road block on its own). I mentioned in-house and sports management positions as an attempt to think of alternatives since the job search isn't going smoothly.

I did a summer internship with the DOJ last summer as a 1L but I can't afford to take time off work to do full blown summer unpaid internships. I've been thinking about doing a clinic instead? Since it can count as a class? Worth it? Not worth it?

Do you know anything about the IBR repayments? Is it easy to get a low minimum payment through that program?

And thanks again for taking the time to help me think this through. I'm definitely staying on top of my studies in the meantime, but this stuff is slowly getting to me lol.

Regards,
Sharka
Title: Re: 2L Summer & Post-Grad Employment Search & Alternatives
Post by: sharka on January 19, 2016, 07:08:13 PM
To Loki13 -

Thanks for your input and time too! I'm a worrier as some of you may have noticed already. Sorry to hear you got screwed by a potential employer, but its awesome that your situation worked out for the better!

But yea my worry is that I feel like I'm sending out tons of resumes with little reply and no connections to tap that I can think of. But then again, its likely that I've overlooked some connection to reach out on.

I appreciate the direct answer on another degree though. I'll check with some of my professors for sure, but any advice on how to approach that conversation? I know we're supposed to pursue an area of law we're interested in but I'm open to any area at this point so do I express interest only in the field my professor taught me in? Or do I make it more open ended?

Speaking of resumes and cover letters, aside from career office, any other resources or editors you guys recommend going to?

Thanks again! Really appreciate you guys helping me with this.

Regards,
Sharka
Title: Re: 2L Summer & Post-Grad Employment Search & Alternatives
Post by: Maintain FL 350 on January 20, 2016, 10:09:45 AM
To Maintain FL 350 -

Thanks! I sure wish the employers respected my GPA too..

So to share a little about my background, I'm located in the Bay Area (San Francisco Bay Area - so think anywhere from Concord to Oakland to SF to Palo Alto) I'm willing to move within California but ideally stay in the Bay Area as I have a house here. Honestly at this point, salary requirement is up in the air. I really want a job that would put me near 80-90 K (yes I realize I might be daring to dream). In a perfect world, 100,000 (highly unlikely I realize). But realistically 60-70k to start would be nice? Too much to ask?

Alright, that does help. I'm in LA but I'm familiar with the Bay Area market. I lived there for a few years and my wife went to law school and worked in SF.

As you know, it is a very popular place to live and there is a lot of competition. Also, having a 3.0 from Berkeley provides different opportunities than a 3.0 from GGU. So it depends.

I would recommend looking at government offices throughout the region (Contra Costa, Alameda, even Sonoma/Rohnert Park/San Jose if you can do the commute). Also, assuming that you're not at Berkeley/Stanford, look at small and midsized firms in the suburbs. There are lots of small firms in Walnut Creek, Oakland etc. Be prepared for unpaid positions.

If you don't have a connection to the firm/office, I recommend dropping off your resume in person. Some people advise against this but I can tell you as someone who has sifted through the literally hundreds of resumes that pour into an office, being able to put a face with a name helps. Be polite, don't overstay your welcome, but introduce yourself and let them know how interested you are in what they do. You may only get to speak with the receptionist, but it's better than a blind resume drop.

$60-70,000 in the Bay Area is not unrealistic, but you're not going to get it without some marketable experience. It is IMPERATIVE that you get some legal experience under your belt. If that means an unpaid internship, take it. If it means helping draft MSJs in boring divorce cases, take it.

How to make connections? The fact is, some people are better at this than others. Incidentally, this is why I think most law students would benefit from a couple years of work experience before law school.

Here's an example. When I was in law school I took a class taught by an adjunct prof who was practiced a type of law that I was interested in. I did well in his class, was always prepared, and one day mentioned that I wanted to do what he did, and did he have any advice? He mentioned that his office had internships and that I should apply. Surprise surprise, I got the internship. I was not a top student (although I did well), and I was competing against people from much higher ranked schools. I got the internship because of the connection. Hopefully that helps.
Title: Re: 2L Summer & Post-Grad Employment Search & Alternatives
Post by: 🍟💵🌲🍥 on January 20, 2016, 01:25:12 PM
Unpopular thought but one I stand by, just take classes over the summer and get done faster
Title: Re: 2L Summer & Post-Grad Employment Search & Alternatives
Post by: sharka on January 21, 2016, 12:18:18 AM
Yea I'm not at Berkeley or Stanford. (Wish I was). I'm at UC Hastings. So certainly not a Berkeley or Stanford but better than a GGU?

I would honestly be very happy to work at a midsized or small firm in the suburbs like Walnut Creek, Dublin, Pleasanton, San Ramon, etc. Such nice areas especially Walnut Creek. I used to work in Walnut Creek. Do you know of any looking to hire or recommend any firms that you would recommend I reach out to?

For the resume drops, would you recommend calling them first? Or just showing up and dropping off a resume? Like will the receptionist actually pass the resume on? And do people still print on the nicer paper for resume or is that viewed as pompous these days?

I've been meaning to ask about legal experience. Does it need to be relevant? Like if I take a position at a family law firm for example, but let's say I want to do corporate or business law in the long run and be in-house down the road. Will it look odd on the resume? Will it box me into family law or whatever area of law I intern for?

And with regards to connections, I think you're right. I can definitely see how I and others could have benefited by working a few years full time prior to law school. But that example definitely helps! I appreciate that.

I've been trying to trim my resume and work on my cover letter but the feedback from the career center is just one perspective. Do you recommend any professional services to seek out?

Thanks!

Title: Re: 2L Summer & Post-Grad Employment Search & Alternatives
Post by: Citylaw on January 21, 2016, 11:47:10 AM
I am in the Bay Area and went through the same thing, but I passed the bar and have had multiple jobs. I think like most 2L's at the halfway point of law school you are freaking out, which is not surprising. You are thinking will I ever get a job? Will anyone ever hire me? The answer is yes.

OCI works for almost nobody in reality and is often just a way for school's to say firms come, but just because a firm comes does not mean they are hiring anyone. Often it is just a favor for alumni.

I would stay focused do as well as you can in school and look for jobs. There is plenty of work for licensed lawyers, but it is frustrating to get your career started. I know as a 2L and I believe everyone that has posted I was in the same spot, but i passed the bar etc and have had jobs since I passed.

If you are in the Bay Area a networking opportunity that you might be interested in is the Bar Association of San Francisco Basketball League, which starts on January 26th. We need two more teams to start and games are at University of San Francisco. If you could get a Hastings team together that would be great we had the league their last season, but Hastings Gym is terrible.

If your interested in playing in the league let me know and I will PM you the info.




Title: Re: 2L Summer & Post-Grad Employment Search & Alternatives
Post by: Maintain FL 350 on January 21, 2016, 01:32:17 PM
Unpopular thought but one I stand by, just take classes over the summer and get done faster

Yeah, maybe if you started taking summer classes after 1L, but at this point as a 2L is that really going to speed up graduation? You're probably only going to be able to take what, two or three classes? I don't think it would enough to get you out a semester early.

Second issue is this: you graduate early with no experience at all. Now what? Study for the bar and start becoming a "volunteer attorney" to get some experience? No thanks.   
Title: Re: 2L Summer & Post-Grad Employment Search & Alternatives
Post by: Maintain FL 350 on January 21, 2016, 02:05:35 PM
Yea I'm not at Berkeley or Stanford. (Wish I was). I'm at UC Hastings. So certainly not a Berkeley or Stanford but better than a GGU?

Hastings is a solid, well established school with a good reputation throughout California (and my better half's alma mater to boot!). That will certainly not hurt you.

Incidentally, I have nothing against GGU either. I've met GGU grads who were great attorneys and cool people, and I've met T14 grads who were clueless douchebags. Just depends.

Do you know of any looking to hire or recommend any firms that you would recommend I reach out to?

No, I don't. I think Citylaw offered a great opportunity with the basketball league. Seriously, stuff like that is a great way to meet people and to make connections. Look for similar stuff in the Eastbay.

For the resume drops, would you recommend calling them first? Or just showing up and dropping off a resume? Like will the receptionist actually pass the resume on? And do people still print on the nicer paper for resume or is that viewed as pompous these days?

Try to get a feel for the firm, some are more formal and some are more casual. Personally, I think it's OK to just drop it off. If it's a small office you may get a few minutes with a partner, maybe not.

If the receptionist says "Alright, thanks" and shows you the door, don't push it. Be polite and professional, dress nice. At larger firms it's unlikely you'll get past the receptionist. If you want to call first that's fine, but understand that they will probably just tell you to mail it in. Others here may have a different opinion, this is just my personal view.

I've been meaning to ask about legal experience. Does it need to be relevant? Like if I take a position at a family law firm for example, but let's say I want to do corporate or business law in the long run and be in-house down the road. Will it look odd on the resume? Will it box me into family law or whatever area of law I intern for?

The answer is a qualified "no", BUT...

You will obviously be far more likely to get hired at a job if you have specific experience in that field.

If your first job is in family law, are you barred from ever working in corporate? No, I'm sure that some people make that leap, but why would they hire you when they have experienced applicants to choose from? It's not impossible, it's just harder. 

The other aspect is this: as you gain experience in a particular field, you will naturally gravitate towards jobs that need those skills. It's just easier. You already know the law and procedural stuff. If you do family law for a few years and want to make the jump to corporate, you're going to have to learn corporate law somehow.

I do people who have made the jump from stuff like family law to government positions (county counsel, city attorney, etc), but that's different. Even then there were similarities. Like they went from family law into setting up trusts on behalf of the state. Still somewhat related. 

If you can get into a firm that does general business litigation, contract disputes, that sort of thing, that can be a little more generally marketable. Stuff like family law, criminal law, juvenile law etc is more specific.

Again, just my opinion. Others here may have a different view.

Title: Re: 2L Summer & Post-Grad Employment Search & Alternatives
Post by: loki13 on January 21, 2016, 02:32:05 PM

The answer is a qualified "no", BUT...

You will obviously be far more likely to get hired at a job if you have specific experience in that field.

If your first job is in family law, are you barred from ever working in corporate? No, I'm sure that some people make that leap, but why would they hire you when they have experienced applicants to choose from? It's not impossible, it's just harder. 

The other aspect is this: as you gain experience in a particular field, you will naturally gravitate towards jobs that need those skills. It's just easier. You already know the law and procedural stuff. If you do family law for a few years and want to make the jump to corporate, you're going to have to learn corporate law somehow.

I do people who have made the jump from stuff like family law to government positions (county counsel, city attorney, etc), but that's different. Even then there were similarities. Like they went from family law into setting up trusts on behalf of the state. Still somewhat related. 

If you can get into a firm that does general business litigation, contract disputes, that sort of thing, that can be a little more generally marketable. Stuff like family law, criminal law, juvenile law etc is more specific.

Again, just my opinion. Others here may have a different view.

I'll add to this. This is an interesting one, and it relates to a concept called "path dependency." It's a useful concept, both in law and in general. The easiest way to think about path dependency is to think about the qwerty keyboard. Originally, it was developed to slow down typists and keep common letter combinations apart (to keep the old typewriters from jamming). This may or may not be true (it's commonly said, but there's no contemporaneous support), but the point is that once that layout was picked, it stuck. Typists learned it, manufacturers made it. Whether or not it made sense, that was the path taken (cue Robert Frost). You see this happen in the law a lot, whether it be stare decisis or reliance interests, a path taken at one point can be hard to overcome.

So, what does it mean with experience? The more experience you gain in a particular field, the harder it becomes to move into something different. Especially in the law. Yes, some skills are transferable. Civil litigation in one area can be civil litigation in another. Trial experience. But family law (for instance) tends to be very specialized.

The longer you go on, the harder it becomes. In all areas. I know amazing attorneys who won't practice in federal court because they have spent 35 years in state courts - so even though the case is exactly the same, they procedure is so different that they just won't do it.

Now for the counterpoint - this is just a summer job. It is preferable to get something in a field you would like to work in. But any legal experience is better than no legal experience.
Title: Re: 2L Summer & Post-Grad Employment Search & Alternatives
Post by: Citylaw on January 21, 2016, 02:37:43 PM
Yes the lawyer league is a great thing to do and it was at Hastings for one semester, but you need to tell the school to get a better gym. We boycotted the roof in their blocked more shots than anyone : / . Other than the crappy B-Ball gym though Hastings is a fine school as is GGU, USF, etc.

What you will realize once you get out of the law school bubble is that none of it really matters. You are either going to succeed or not. A T14 degree might open some doors, but a Stanford/Harvard/Yale Gard has no idea what the difference between USF/GGU or Hastings is.

Instead Hastings Grads often hire Hastings Grads, USF hires USF and GGU hires GGU. More importantly if your able to bring in clients nobody cares what school you went to.

In summary, it sounds like you are understandable stressing out you are halfway into your law school career and your entire life is not figured out. However, that is typical and honestly I miss that feeling I am lawyer with deadlines, client meetings, court appearances etc, which is fine, but enjoy law school. You get to read cases, hang out with friends, it is a fun-time in life honestly. I am always in the Phil'z coffee right by Hastings before I go to work and I see all the Hastings students with their Con-Law Books, or whatever and I think man it would be so fun to just really read the cases have a flexible schedule etc.

When I was in law school I thought man I can't wait to have an office, clients, make money, blah, here I am looking back fondly on law school, but as the saying goes the grass is always greener.

The best way to deal with the whole situation is just don't overthink it. You are fortunate enough to be in law school, in San Francisco about 5.9 billion people would trade in their life for yours right now. Appreciate where your at and work hard and just do common sense things.

Apply to jobs, use career services one real helpful thing I used in law school was the BYU Intercollegiate Job Bank it has basically every ABA law schools job postings on it, got to love the Mormons and their kindness :) .

Also if you sign up for the Bar Association of San Francisco, which is $35 for law students I think they just launched their own career center, which has a lot of jobs on it.

Also sign-up for LinkedIn-Premium, the Sacramento County Bar Association etc and there are job postings all the time.

Basically, you are at a stage of your life with a lot of uncertainty it is scary, but trust me if you pass the bar you will find work. It might take a few months, but it will happen at least in San Francisco/Bay Area. I am not sure about other places, but the Bay Area economy is booming right now and there are jobs everyday, but finding a job sucks always has always well.

Anyways, enjoy law school and dont' stress I think back to my 2L and I had the same thoughts you are, but I should have enjoyed it more.

Title: Re: 2L Summer & Post-Grad Employment Search & Alternatives
Post by: 🍟💵🌲🍥 on January 21, 2016, 08:52:52 PM
Unpopular thought but one I stand by, just take classes over the summer and get done faster

Yeah, maybe if you started taking summer classes after 1L, but at this point as a 2L is that really going to speed up graduation? You're probably only going to be able to take what, two or three classes? I don't think it would enough to get you out a semester early.

Second issue is this: you graduate early with no experience at all. Now what? Study for the bar and start becoming a "volunteer attorney" to get some experience? No thanks.
You'd be in an identical situation no matter what in most jurisdictions today (unless hired on by the place you interned at which almost NEVER happens anymore too)
Plus "working" over the summer often ends up meaning non legal work. You can internship for CREDIT at every law school on the planet anymore, do that.
Title: Re: 2L Summer & Post-Grad Employment Search & Alternatives
Post by: sharka on January 25, 2016, 11:38:59 PM
Hi Citylaw,

Absolutely. I am definitely freaking out and to a much larger scale than I would have ever thought. If we went back a year or two ago,  I would have bet that I would never freak out like this. But here I am freaking out. I'm reaching out to local firms and seeing if I can get some experience for sure, but its reassuring to know that jobs will come down the road.

I would love to play! But important question is, do I have to be any good or are the teams more for fun? I definitely play hard, but my shooting is pretty bad. More of a defense player. I can definitely talk to people and see if there is a Hastings team interested in playing. In case there isn't, do you guys take pick up players?

And yea the Hastings gym is not pretty. How's the USF gym? I haven't been up there.
Title: Re: 2L Summer & Post-Grad Employment Search & Alternatives
Post by: sharka on January 25, 2016, 11:40:10 PM
That's a fair point on graduating early and its flaws. Incidentally, I did take two summer classes in 1L summer but that was so I can have room to do clinics in 3L year. It never occurred to me to graduate early.
Title: Re: 2L Summer & Post-Grad Employment Search & Alternatives
Post by: 🍟💵🌲🍥 on February 13, 2016, 07:01:56 PM
That's a fair point on graduating early and its flaws. Incidentally, I did take two summer classes in 1L summer but that was so I can have room to do clinics in 3L year. It never occurred to me to graduate early.

A lot of people save their for credit clinics and internships until the final year for that reason
some get lucky and roll into jobs (even if unpaid) that let them stay on while in bar prep and waiting on bar results too
just a thought
Title: Re: 2L Summer & Post-Grad Employment Search & Alternatives
Post by: sharka on March 15, 2016, 11:46:12 PM
That's a fair point on graduating early and its flaws. Incidentally, I did take two summer classes in 1L summer but that was so I can have room to do clinics in 3L year. It never occurred to me to graduate early.

A lot of people save their for credit clinics and internships until the final year for that reason
some get lucky and roll into jobs (even if unpaid) that let them stay on while in bar prep and waiting on bar results too
just a thought

That's a good idea. I was thinking of doing clinics, working, and using some Credit/No Credit classes?
Title: Re: 2L Summer & Post-Grad Employment Search & Alternatives
Post by: 🍟💵🌲🍥 on March 16, 2016, 01:36:16 PM
That's a fair point on graduating early and its flaws. Incidentally, I did take two summer classes in 1L summer but that was so I can have room to do clinics in 3L year. It never occurred to me to graduate early.

A lot of people save their for credit clinics and internships until the final year for that reason
some get lucky and roll into jobs (even if unpaid) that let them stay on while in bar prep and waiting on bar results too
just a thought

That's a good idea. I was thinking of doing clinics, working, and using some Credit/No Credit classes?
whatever works best for you. For sure save easy blowoff electives to the end if possible for that type of reason (and no grade is same idea) But it depends on where the internship is. Clinics are on campus, but the internship might be 8 states away. It just depends on stuff like that. But even then some campuses have "blue jeans" type online classes too that you can use for a limited number of electives too since the ABA allows that now.
Title: Re: 2L Summer & Post-Grad Employment Search & Alternatives
Post by: sharka on March 28, 2016, 06:59:51 PM
Yea I'm going to use a C/NC next year and then take a handful of Non-GPA classes. I'm already using a C/NC this semester so that I can work on my thesis thing and not worry about my scholarships
Title: Re: 2L Summer & Post-Grad Employment Search & Alternatives
Post by: 🍟💵🌲🍥 on March 30, 2016, 11:12:33 AM
sounds like you have a good plan, wishing you all the best with it (keep us updated)
Title: Re: 2L Summer & Post-Grad Employment Search & Alternatives
Post by: sharka on June 06, 2016, 12:29:01 AM
Thanks! So I'm getting my grades slowly and surely, but I'm pretty sure I passed all my classes (B+, A-, CR, CR). I ended up using my C/NC on one of the classes.