Law School Discussion

Part-time job as a 1L?

Part-time job as a 1L?
« on: June 30, 2007, 01:10:10 PM »
Iím an entering 1L at Berkeley primarily interested in public interest stuff (specifically international human rights) but am willing to consider pretty much anything and am trying to decide whether or not I should look for a part-time job for this year.  Convention seems to dictate that I shouldnít, since 1L is already a stressful transition/project and, in the long run, employment-wise, Iíll be better served by focusing on my studies.

Still, I feel like Iíll be at a big disadvantage in terms of applying for all sorts of jobs for 1L summer if I donít work.  For one thing, Iím coming straight out of college.  I do have good work experience considering that Ė I worked at Sidley Austin for a summer and spent a spring and a fall working for a state senator in Chicago Ė but I havenít had a job since January 2007, since I wanted to focus on finishing my BA.  I also donít have a summer job right now because, until 2 weeks ago, I was planning to work full-time next year.

Of course, my first priority is doing well in school.  But I know that unlike college, law schoolís also a segue into a career, so I want to be sure that I can compete with fellow applicants for positions at good organizations/firms.  That said, Iíd even be willing to work jobs on a volunteer basis since I have a good aid package from Boalt, so Iím considering trying to work at a non-profit or in the San Francisco office of one of Californiaís senators, so I can build my resume/possibly have a more flexible work schedule.

Iíd appreciate any adviceÖ this is pretty difficult considering I donít really have personal experience with how demanding school will be or how much of a chance I have to get decent 1L summer jobs.  Iím especially worried since recruiting for 1Ls begins November 1 (or is it December 1?  Iíve seen that as well), and I donít want to be even further behind, since Iím already at a disadvantage due to my relative inexperience/atrophied resume. 

As a side note, this is all further complicated by Boaltís novel grading system:


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Re: Part-time job as a 1L?
« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2007, 04:19:44 AM »
Your resume is not that bad.  You'll almost certainly be entering school with people who haven't worked much at all, so it's not like you'll be the unexperienced one among a sea of people with sparkling resumes packed full of amazing past jobs.  Boalt and other T14s are able to have those screwy grading systems because employers will not demand fine distinctions between students.  That is, a firm that might only interview the top 30% at Hastings might take any Boalt student who applies.

Some experience is good.  An ideal job is related to legal work, and has an extremely flexible schedule, especially one where you can simply not come in for a week or so if your schoolwork piles up.  Your school will probably have opportunities, like a tenant assistant group, helping with protective orders, or working with the student legal services group on the undergrad campus.  Some of these opportunities might even include courtroom experience.

But focus on doing well in school.  A bunch of honors grades, and even a completely blank resume won't be a significant obstacle.  But there are lots of ways to get experience that won't significantly impact your ability to do well in school.  Also, I might avoid working in the senator's office since you already did that, unless you're really interested into going into politics.