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Author Topic: Summer school and out faster or internships/externships for experience?  (Read 2124 times)

jacy85

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Re: Summer school and out faster or internships/externships for experience?
« Reply #10 on: April 06, 2008, 01:48:01 PM »
One thing I'll add, since you mentioned at the end of your post there is a chance you may consider becoming a PD (or that such a path may end up as one of your options).

If your primary market is Chicago (seems like your post is Chicago heavy), I would guess that the Chicago PD has a TON of interest from students of all types of backgrounds and the all sorts of schools.  From watching a good friend go through the interview process with various metro PD offices across the country, it seems like they are all extremely focused on people with experience doing defense work, preferably, according to what she ran into, for PD offices.  They also liked people w/ personal ties to the area, and although that's not a req (my friend got a job in an area she had no ties to), you'd probably have that strongly in your favor.

I would just keep that preference in mind while you're re-evaluating what you want to do next summer after 2L and if you begin to feel you do want to go the PD route (and also keep it in mind while looking into possible internship/externships/field placement opportunities your school offers!).

Dr. Balsenschaft

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Re: Summer school and out faster or internships/externships for experience?
« Reply #11 on: April 06, 2008, 02:40:38 PM »
If I were you, I would not take summer classes.  Instead, I would pursue a different internship each summer.  With all of those connections, you have a great opportunity to be exposed to a number of different areas within the legal profession. The only way to figure out what you're interested in is by doing the work.  A summer internship allows you to experience doing the work on a daily basis so you really get a better idea of whether you would enjoy working in that field for an extended period of time.  An externship or part-time job really doesn't give you the same experience because you're mixing work with a number of other activities, making the experience better or worse depending on the situation.  Of course, externships and part-time jobs still give you some great experience, but I suggest you pursue those activities during the school year in addition to your summer-long internships. 

I doubt graduating a semester early would save much money because summer classes cost money too.  I also don't see what the big rush is because 6 months does not make a big difference regardless of whether you are 25 or 35-years-old (I'll be 32 myself when I graduate).  Of course, I would rather stab myself in the eye than take summer courses so I'm sure that influences my take on your situation.


Peaches

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Re: Summer school and out faster or internships/externships for experience?
« Reply #12 on: April 06, 2008, 09:16:34 PM »
I agree with Balsenschaft.  Use those connections to get some great experience and try out different fields of law.

FWIW, while your connections seem like a great network for finding a job, none of them sound like guarantees of a job, especially if times are hard and you're up against candidates with actual experience in the area of law you're applying in.  Your connections aren't really any better than many other students entering law school, so a dose of perspective may be helpful.    And, I hate to say it, but generic offers of help (no matter how enthusiastic) really cannot be counted on to materialize into jobs unless they are specifically offered and guaranteed. 

While I'm sure you could go solo or work with your brother, it just seems smarter to get actual full-time work experience for at least part of the summer.  Making yourself more marketable seems more important than starting 5 months "late." 

jeffislouie

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Re: Summer school and out faster or internships/externships for experience?
« Reply #13 on: April 07, 2008, 01:18:23 AM »
Thanks to all who have commented so far.  I appreciate it.
I spoke with my brother today about it and he was excited that I was interested in helping out this summer.  I told him I wanted it to be more like an internship than just following him around.  He seemed very interested in having access to me 2 days a week.  He could use a hand and it would save him alot of hassle to have me be able to pick up some of the work.
Thank you to the good doctor and Jacy as well.  Good points.
Peaches - Your advice sounds good too, but I can't work full time this summer.  I'm already enrolled for classes, with the prof's I wanted and the classes I was interested in.  I do plan to take advantage of my connections to get soem experience in different fields.
Doc - It's not about the money, it's about time.  As I get older, I grow weary of some of the less mature stuff I've witnessed.  I watched a knucklehead crack wise with a teacher (who called on her and worked her over for the first 45 minutes of the next class as a lesson), I've seen students make nasty comments about staff and their office decorations, and I'm generally a little sick of listening to people act dumb because they think it's still cool in law school and that's how they got through undergrad.  It's not about the money, it's about getting back into earning money coupled with the excitement of starting yet another career (hopefully my last).
Jacy - I'm Chicago born and bred.  The only other place I have any interest in working would be south Florida.  I have no contacts there and I've already turned down jobs down there in previous careers, so it's really not likely that I'll end up there.  Chicago is my target.
Justice is tangy....

txlawstu

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Re: Summer school and out faster or internships/externships for experience?
« Reply #14 on: April 07, 2008, 09:18:14 AM »
Sounds like your on the right track.  I did summer school and an internship my 1L summer.  I also did summer school with part of it being an externship my 2L summer.  But, I was making up time for going part-time the first year, so I was trying to get out in 3 not 2 1/2 like you.

If you are seriously considering the PD's office, look into an externship with them.  Most of those offices, like the DA/CA's offices, will hire interns before they hire any other baby attorneys.  In addition, many of those offices will only hire people with experience and they count interning as experience.  So make sure and check into that with your local office to see what their policy is so you will be prepared.  You may even need to apply for that internship/externship early in the fall semester for next summer, so check into it now.

Peaches

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Re: Summer school and out faster or internships/externships for experience?
« Reply #15 on: April 07, 2008, 09:25:04 AM »
Sorry, to clarify: summer school is fine for 1L summer, but 2L summer you should really find a FT legal job not working for a family member.  Working for your brother is better than nothing, but it's still working for your brother on a resume.

I just find it unfathomable that someone who wants to get back to earning money again wouldn't want to take advantage of the summers as an opportunity to stop the bleeding.  Even in small firms you can get $800-1400/wk.

linquest

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Re: Summer school and out faster or internships/externships for experience?
« Reply #16 on: April 08, 2008, 12:08:56 AM »
Hello, fellow non-trad here :)   I think you should seriously consider what Peaches is saying: 1) your connections in no way guarantees you a job anywhere and  2) you need FULL-TIME legal experience before graduating.  So although I think it's fine that you'll be taking summer classes this year, you should definitely try to get full-time experience next summer.  Basically, I just don't believe that the benefits of graduating a few months early outweighs the costs of foregoing substantive full-time legal experience.

You may not think that there's much of a difference between working full-time vs. part-time at a legal internship, but there is.  The difference is much more visible when you have both full-time interns and part-time externs working at the same time.  It is easy to overlook the part-timers when you have a full-timer constantly there.  The full-timer is likely to get the choice assignments first because: 1) the full-timer simply happened to be there when the project came up and the part-timer was not present  2) the full-timer has more time to express a preference for certain kinds of work  3) there is a short turnaround time required of an assignment and the part-timer would not be able to complete the assignment in the time available.   The part-timer may thus get relegated to non-legal work, like clerical tasks or paralegal tasks.  Another factor is that you simply get more face time with the attorneys as a full-timer and are more likely to be invited out to social events.  As the BigLaw model of summer associates show, sometime internships are less about the substantive experience and more about the networking

Unfortunately, sometimes non-trads have a harder time finding a job right out of law school.  Part of this is due to age discrimination.  Part of this is due to the fact that non-trads often over-estimate the extent to which their past experience and prior connections will help them with starting their new career as an attorney. True, a prior successful career can help you stand out in a field of applicants, but legal employers are more concerned with substantive legal experience.  This is why someone who went to law school straight from undergrad but had two full-time legal internships  may be more likely to be hired than someone with 10+ years experience in a related field (i.e. a former engineer/project manager wanting to go into IP law) but chose not to get full-time legal experience.

Lastly, I think it would behoove you to get legal experience from someone other than your brother.  At most interviews, you will be asked how you got the previous job.  Working for family may not be taken as seriously, especially if it was only part-time. 
Fed gov't atty

NATUREBOY

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Re: Summer school and out faster or internships/externships for experience?
« Reply #17 on: April 08, 2008, 12:12:21 AM »
I strongly recommend that everyone take a full load of classes during their first summer.  1L jobs are usually non-paying, do not provide you with any substantial legal experience, and do not give you an advantage during your job search later down the line.  The only people I'd recommend take one of these jobs are 20-somethings with zero work experience.

jacy85

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Re: Summer school and out faster or internships/externships for experience?
« Reply #18 on: April 08, 2008, 07:16:37 AM »
1L jobs are usually non-paying, do not provide you with any substantial legal experience, and do not give you an advantage during your job search later down the line. 

This may be the case in many situations, I don't know that its "usual".  I think you'd find a lot of people, even just here on LSD, that feel they got a lot of their 1L job.  For me, I got great substantive writing experience doing appellate work, and while the job itself likely didn't give me much of an advantage beyond the obvious benefits of becoming a better writer, the contacts I made have DEFINITELY helped me a ton - one supervisor in particular knows A LOT of people, and is more than willing to make calls on your behalf, etc.

linquest

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Re: Summer school and out faster or internships/externships for experience?
« Reply #19 on: April 08, 2008, 03:27:07 PM »
Agreed.  I got a paid internship after 1L that also exposed me to an area of law that is not taught in most law schools (and which I now hope to specialize in the future) and helped me get another paid internship for the next summer.  The 1L interns did the same work as the 2L interns there.

Also, considering that the OP is interested in very different legal fields and practice settings, multiple internships may help you make a more informed decision about which route to pursue out of law school.
Fed gov't atty