Law School Discussion

Would PA firms be interested?

Would PA firms be interested?
« on: February 03, 2007, 07:43:25 AM »
  I have a question for either recent law grads or those who are practicing in Pennsylvania.  I'm currently in law school as an 1L and as a career change.  I am seeking some sort of insight regarding the value of my background in seeking employment in the future.
  My background is 19 years in union heavy construction, where I was successful. After various injuries, I decided to pursue a new career, and went back to school. I graduated with a 3.46 GPA in biology, health careers track, and was accepted into law school last year.
  I went this route, after alot of thought, thinking that perhaps my unique background would be valuable to a future employer.  I'm having the usual self-doubt issues in law school, and my grades are average (C curve grading scale, which does not help any of us). After 5 months of no encouragement, I need to hear from those that have been there.
  I have reason to believe that my law school's grading system will be detrimental to my entire class, so I want real world advice.
  How important would my background actually be to a PA employer? Should I consider enhancing my degree by pursuing the patent exam (I have the science background)? Or, would I be overlooked due to being over 40 at the time of graduation?  Any advice offered by those in the know will be appreciated. Thanks!


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Re: Would PA firms be interested?
« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2007, 09:55:08 AM »
I'm in a similar situation.  I am 33 and in my 1L year as a career change after being a corrections officer.  My grades, overall, were ok (some great, some average), but I have had a few interviews in the Philly/NJ/Del area and have a few more set up in the next few weeks. 

Based solely on my experience over the past few weeks, I have found that every interviewer (except one, who had no interest in anything I had to say) wanted to talk about working in a jail and how I was able to go to undergrad full-time, make dean's list throughout and still work 50 hours per week in a jail.

Bottom line is should be fine either way you go.  You're background makes you interesting and, at the end of the day, most summer employers will want to talk to someone with a background that is a bit different than the usual 23-25 year old who went to law school straight from undergrad with no life experience.  As long as your grades are not in the toilet, no one will care.  I've had a total of 7 interviews and was asked about my grades ONCE.  Again, this is just my experience and, to be fair, all of these interviews were with government agencies and public interest organizations, but still only one out of seven asked me about my grades.  For you, as long as you get the interview, you'll probably be fine.

Now, how to get the interview.  I can only tell you what's been working for me.  I have been on the phone since finals ended last fall, calling different firms/gov't offices/public interest groups, and asking if I can send a resume.  What has happened is that they ask me a bit about myself (Name, where I go to school).  Then they ask me to send a resume or they tell me that they've hired enough summer interns this year.  If they say "send me a resume" then you're sending your resume to someone who is looking for YOUR resume.  I think that makes it a little bit less likely that your resume will end up in the circular file.  Also, utilize your career services office.  When I got to my school, all the 2Ls and 3Ls bitched about how bad career services was.  I have been riding their ass like the Lone Ranger and I have to say that they've been very helpful.  Basically, take advantage of all of your school's resources and you should be fine.

Good Luck