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Author Topic: Help on deciding what to do this summer  (Read 1226 times)

CAW061404

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Help on deciding what to do this summer
« on: January 31, 2008, 09:50:36 PM »
I have two choices so far....

Clinical at school. Its prison based, and one of the most prestigious clinics to be involved in. Unpaid, but for credit. Requires a year long commitment.

Participate in a diversity clerkship program that places you at one of 29 places throughout the state. Most of the positions are here in town, the rest would require a summer move. Its a mixture of firms (some big name firms, some big corporations, some governmental agencies). All of the positions are paid. The deal is once you commit to the program, you commit to any of the places and THEY pick you (after days of interviews). So that means I might get "stuck" at a governmental agency or at some tiny firm in the middle of nowhere.

Ideally I want to work in a firm, not sure what type of practice area, but I like litigation (not necessarily the courtroom). I have a family so moving away would not be my first choice for the summer, but its doable. I am in a financial position where I do not have to make money this summer, though it would be nice.

Grades are unimpressive, though they weren't required to apply (through they said some firms might request them). Its a whole big diversity initiative, so I don't really know how and if they come into play into the choice-making process. I have a lot different "diversity" things going for me, which I assume I can leverage in the interviewing process.

Any advice, thanks in advance.


NATUREBOY

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Re: Help on deciding what to do this summer
« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2008, 01:20:49 AM »
The answer depends on whether you're a 1L or a 2L.

If you're a 1L, you should just take summer school (to include your clinic).  Get ahead with your hours.  Don't worry about "getting experience".  It is not necessary to work as a 1L to get employment offers as a 2L, nor does it help.  Moreover, employers only give permanent employment offers to 2L's.  Anything you do your 1L summer is generally a one-time deal.

If you're a 2L, and you want any shot of having a job lined up at graduation, you need to go to work...with whomever will hire you. 

StevePirates

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Re: Help on deciding what to do this summer
« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2008, 04:24:15 AM »
For me, the answer involved one other two-part question.  What do you want to do in life?  Which job helps you get closer to that. 

The prison based gig seems well suited for defense work in the future, and academic kudos.  It would also seem to tie you in closer to your school.
The diversity based gig would seem to put you in the "workin' man" category, where your prospects are not based on your school, or help through your career services, but through your own blood sweat and tears.

So, if you're interested in the gigs that are typically involved with your school, go with the first option.
If you don't really feel that drawn to what your school tends to focus in, then go with the diversity gig.

For instance, my school focuses pretty heavily on criminal defense, and on appellate defense work, including overturning convictions.
For some of my friends, that's the dream right there..... so they go with the clinics offered through school.
Some of my other friends want to be prosecutors.... so they are all applying for DOJ and US Atty and Court jobs right now.


Me?  I'm into family law and domestic violence.

CAW061404

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Re: Help on deciding what to do this summer
« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2008, 10:33:58 AM »
The answer depends on whether you're a 1L or a 2L.

If you're a 1L, you should just take summer school (to include your clinic).  Get ahead with your hours.  Don't worry about "getting experience".  It is not necessary to work as a 1L to get employment offers as a 2L, nor does it help.  Moreover, employers only give permanent employment offers to 2L's.  Anything you do your 1L summer is generally a one-time deal.

If you're a 2L, and you want any shot of having a job lined up at graduation, you need to go to work...with whomever will hire you. 

I am a 1L, thanks for the advice.

See I'm just so torn. I am afraid that if I participate in the clinical, I will be pigeonholed into doing criminal work, which I am positive I don't want to do in any shape or form (for strong personal reasons), but again I am afraid if I commit the Diversity program, because I don't have great grades, the firms will take the "better" students and I will be stuck with a governmental agency or the last pick.

GA-fan

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Re: Help on deciding what to do this summer
« Reply #4 on: February 01, 2008, 11:16:19 AM »
If it looks like you're not going to find paying legal work (most 1Ls won't), I'd do the diversity clerkship. It's good experience and, not to sound too cynical, but it gets the word "diversity" on your resume, which I guarantee will help with your interviews from here on out.

thorc954

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Re: Help on deciding what to do this summer
« Reply #5 on: February 01, 2008, 11:24:50 AM »
I agree with Raven.  Id go for the diversity thing.  Clinics are great, but there are ones that involve a lot less of a time commitment.  2L year is intense with recruitments, any journals you get on, etc.  Id be hesitant to take on a commitment requiring you to work any harder then absolutely necessary in the fall.  There are semester long clinics that you can pick up later on.

As for the diversity thing, I think you are a little short cited when you say "stuck at a government job."  Many attorneys at big firms anyway go back and forth between the government and private practice, so government work can look great on your resume.  If you do get into a big firm, it would be a great line for your resume.

jacy85

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Re: Help on deciding what to do this summer
« Reply #6 on: February 01, 2008, 11:59:42 AM »
You also might get better experience at a gov't agency.  You will write a lot of memos, but probably won't do much substantive work at a firm 1L b/c clients are paying a lot of money, and if the firm screws something up, they lose that money.  Gov't agencies don't have that kind of stress/concern, and I've found are a little more likely to give more "important" work to interns/students.

thorc954

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Re: Help on deciding what to do this summer
« Reply #7 on: February 01, 2008, 12:01:30 PM »
You also might get better experience at a gov't agency.  You will write a lot of memos, but probably won't do much substantive work at a firm 1L b/c clients are paying a lot of money, and if the firm screws something up, they lose that money.  Gov't agencies don't have that kind of stress/concern, and I've found are a little more likely to give more "important" work to interns/students.

agreed... my agency let me basically take my own cases and work them from the beginning to the end. 

NATUREBOY

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Re: Help on deciding what to do this summer
« Reply #8 on: February 01, 2008, 08:31:28 PM »
I am a 1L, thanks for the advice.

See I'm just so torn. I am afraid that if I participate in the clinical, I will be pigeonholed into doing criminal work, which I am positive I don't want to do in any shape or form (for strong personal reasons), but again I am afraid if I commit the Diversity program, because I don't have great grades, the firms will take the "better" students and I will be stuck with a governmental agency or the last pick.
In that case, I would just take a full load of summer school classes.  That's what I wish I would have done my first summer.

bb

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Re: Help on deciding what to do this summer
« Reply #9 on: February 01, 2008, 08:36:36 PM »
The answer depends on whether you're a 1L or a 2L.

If you're a 1L, you should just take summer school (to include your clinic).  Get ahead with your hours.  Don't worry about "getting experience".  It is not necessary to work as a 1L to get employment offers as a 2L, nor does it help.   Moreover, employers only give permanent employment offers to 2L's.  Anything you do your 1L summer is generally a one-time deal.

If you're a 2L, and you want any shot of having a job lined up at graduation, you need to go to work...with whomever will hire you. 

Working as a 1L doesn't help you get a 2L job?  Well I'd say that goes against every piece of advice I've ever gotten about the issue. 

Unless you're talking about getting a job at the same place you worked at as a 1L.  But either way, certainly a 1L job helps your resume.