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Author Topic: Studying abroad for 1L summer?  (Read 2136 times)

MiamiLaw

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Studying abroad for 1L summer?
« on: January 29, 2008, 10:19:16 PM »
This sounds like a really fun thing to do and I get 6 credits for it.  However, is there any negative to doing this? 

jacy85

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Re: Studying abroad for 1L summer?
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2008, 07:27:54 AM »
You get no legal work experience.  If you do a search for "study abroad" you'll see a bunch of threads with the exact same question, and pretty much the exact same answers.

I think the most common answer is: you should have had fun studying abroad while you were in undergrad; now it's time to get legal work experience to help get you a job for 2L summer.

That said, I know people who split, spent 1/2 summer abroad, and 1/2 working or volunteering their time somewhere and it worked.  I also know one person who spent his entire summer abroad 1L, spent part of the summer abroad 2L, and got a job.  From know this person 2 years, though, I'd say he is unbeatable in an interview, and he's great at networking.  So I can't say that someone else making the same choices would do as well in the job search as him.

Peaches

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Re: Studying abroad for 1L summer?
« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2008, 08:32:12 AM »
If you want to practice abroad, studying abroad where you'd like to practice is good.  Try to find a study abroad program with an externship component.

smujd2007

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Re: Studying abroad for 1L summer?
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2008, 11:39:59 AM »
Most of my classmates who did this said it was a great experience.  It gives you the chance to bond a little more with the professors and students who travel with you.

It also gives you something to talk about during interviews--sometimes, your interviewers study abroad too, and you can compare notes.  And, contrary to popular belief, it is not the end of the world if you don't work anywhere law related after your first year.  I know plenty of people who did study abroad after 1L (or traveled, or did absolutely nothing because they were so drained) clerked during 2L, and have jobs--with firms and public interest. 

Working after 2L is  A LOT more important than working after 1L. 

This sounds like a really fun thing to do and I get 6 credits for it.  However, is there any negative to doing this? 
smujd2007 is now an Attorney at Law!

Basic_Black

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Re: Studying abroad for 1L summer?
« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2008, 10:01:52 PM »
You get no legal work experience.  If you do a search for "study abroad" you'll see a bunch of threads with the exact same question, and pretty much the exact same answers.

I think the most common answer is: you should have had fun studying abroad while you were in undergrad; now it's time to get legal work experience to help get you a job for 2L summer.

That said, I know people who split, spent 1/2 summer abroad, and 1/2 working or volunteering their time somewhere and it worked.  I also know one person who spent his entire summer abroad 1L, spent part of the summer abroad 2L, and got a job.  From know this person 2 years, though, I'd say he is unbeatable in an interview, and he's great at networking.  So I can't say that someone else making the same choices would do as well in the job search as him.

That's my plan for the summer.  Study abroad in Europe and earn 6 credits.  Boost my GPA. Do some backpacking as time and money allow.  Come back and work 6 weeks for a solo whose practice really intrigues me.  Rinse.  repeat.  Go back to school in the fall and have no regrets.
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StevePirates

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Re: Studying abroad for 1L summer?
« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2008, 10:52:51 AM »
I think the two questions to ask yourself are these.
#1 Can you get a good job next summer without working this summer (Good means a job that you're happy with, not just some generic BIGLAW or U.S. Attorney gig.)
#2 Would you prefer to spend six weeks in Europe at an academic institution during the day, or would you prefer to take a two week vacation at the beginning or end of summer?

I was planning on studying abroad 1L summer.  Now I'm going to work (I lucked out on an offer that's too good to pass up), and I'm heading to London at the end of summer before school starts.

paranoidandroid

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Re: Studying abroad for 1L summer?
« Reply #6 on: February 02, 2008, 12:52:49 AM »
If you have good grades, a good relationship with profs and go abroad, it shouldn't be a problem.  I've known people who do this.  If your grades aren't so great, you might want to get some legal work experience 1L summer so you can do some legal networking and get some recommendations, job leads, etc.

thorc954

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Re: Studying abroad for 1L summer?
« Reply #7 on: February 02, 2008, 03:12:59 AM »
Studying abroad may seem like a good idea, but there are a few considerations to the whole thing.

First, I think it looks terrible if you come to OCI without legal experience on your resume.

If you can work it out that you can work (possibly as a research assistant if anything), think about what program you are doing.  Many schools have theme based programs that can be tricky (human rights, intellectual property, etc). 

Anyway, anything like "human rights" makes you look undesirable to a firm because it suggests that you have a strong interest in public interest and wouldnt stay.  I made the mistake of beefing up my resume with some extensive volunteer work (thinking it would help like it did in law school), but it didnt work.  A few attorneys asked me why I wasnt doing public interest law and i think many were suspicious that i was in it for the wrong thing.  Anyway, you run this risk with IP programs and anything else that can possibly pigeon hole you.

if you can get into a generic program, and get some legal experience somewhere, why the hell not right?

cesco

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Re: Studying abroad for 1L summer?
« Reply #8 on: February 03, 2008, 12:31:23 PM »
I did a study abroad the summer after my 1L year and found it to be a very positive and beneficial experience.

As for boosting the GPA - keep in mind that most schools transfer in credits as P/F.  My study abroad classmates came from a wide variety of schools and most were on a P/F system, whereas the students from the "host" school were held to their curve. Those students definitely had a more stressful time than the rest of us. 

I came back and participated in OCI and had zero negative feedback.  In fact, most of the employers thought my summer sounds fantastic, and we spent a lot of time talking about why I went and what I got out of it.  Almost everyone said they wished they had done something similar.  Additionally, I even said to a few employers during interviews that I was relieved to hear that the study abroad wasnt a negative, and the universal response was something along the lines of: Way better decision than writing briefs all summer!

A few things that may have played in my favor:  I had excellent grades after first year, putting me at the very top of my class.  Also, I had worked for 5 years prior to law school.  While this wasnt legal work, the "maturity" factor and some ability to understand the working world seemed to help.  Finally, I worked as a research assistant my 1L year, so I was able to spin that as real legal experience. 

Many 1L students spent their first summer doing research work anyway, so I think the suggestion of taking on some research work WHILE on your study abroad could be an easy answer to getting the best of both worlds.
2L

westcoaster

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Re: Studying abroad for 1L summer?
« Reply #9 on: February 03, 2008, 07:21:00 PM »
talk to your career services, they will know how employers have looked at students who have studied abroad in the past... we were told if you study abroad and don't have any type of internship, employers will assume you spent the summer partying.  Your mileage might vary based on your school and program, however.