I have been scouring the Internet lately trying to find answers for a few questions about law school. There is a lot of conflicting opinion, so I wanted to start a topic and get a discussion going with opinions from a broad group of current or former law students. I'll either be going to Rutgers-Camden or Villanova my first year. "
First, congratulations, especially in getting into such good schools... I think the reason why the accounts vary so much is that for each person the whole law school experience differs... I felt like I didn't work much even though I was usually in the library from 3pm to 11pm then home to read another two hours then bed then classes the next morning until 2:30pm. I did let myself relax every other weekend or so when Id visit my gf (still do homework then too though). My point is, I was stressed but I know a lot of people that were far more stressed. I think the reason I wasn't so stressed out or felt like I was working that hard was because I had worked that hard in undergrad whereas a lot of people didn't. This is not to say anything positive or negative about myself or others, just to point out that since we are all coming from different backgrounds (hard working undergrad/ party undergrad/ hard working grad student/not as hard working grad student/ formerly employed with easy job/ formerly employed at hard position), how you view the 1L year varies widely.
I wont answer question #1 because, frankly, I have no idea. As for the other two, however:
2. What do 1L/2Ls typically do during summer semester. If the school I goes to offers summer classes I will most likely take advantage of them to finish early (I'm going for a JD/MBA). I have read that many students take summer internships or jobs. Are they paid? Are the valuable in the future? What is the procedure for 1Ls, when do you start applying?
I personally am doing a work study job with a department of the Federal Government. I know a lot of people who are doing work study work. Some are on exchange to Ireland since my school does such a program, and some are taking summer classes. I too am going after a JD/MBA and looked at starting classes for the MBA this summer but ended up not doing it because of how much more it would complicate my summer job etc. since my school is out of state, summer classes are expensive and i am not being paid much on work study etc.
Some summer jobs are paid, but for the most part I dont think they are. Most people, like myself, go on work study which while its not great does pay $10/hr. I have heard they are valuable for the future, especially if you want to go into that line of work. However, I also know a lot of people who are working in parts they aren't planning on specializing in (for example, I work in housing and while property law fascinates me, I plan to do something with corporate or tax when i graduate) and the school seems to favor that.
As far as application, usually the perfect time to get it all done is during winterbreak so you can go on interviews etc. during spring break. But if you dont meet that timeframe, don't sweat it too much... I was way too late in finding a job and still did.
3. After law school I still want to be able to lead a normal life (I.E, I'm not going to be working 80 hours a week). I'd like to work 50 hours a week after my first few years out of law school. (I know my first years in private practice may be time consuming, does that hold true for the rest of your career) Does this eliminate BigLaw jobs? How many hours/week are typical in BigLaw. What about small/medium firms? Government? Academia?
I think it eliminates most jobs, especially business related ones for which the MBA would be helpful. Heck, even law school is about 80 hours a week or so to a lot of people. But my job right now, everyone seems to only work 40 hrs a week or so. I imagine academia is probably around the same lines, if not less. So government and academia are less hours, but they are also very often less pay. I think the small and medium firms tend to vary widely on hours based on specialty, market size, firm size etc.