Law School Discussion

Will my pre-law school work experience hurt me?

Will my pre-law school work experience hurt me?
« on: April 20, 2009, 06:49:25 AM »
Hi all,

I took three years off after college, during which time I worked for two big law firms as a case assistant.  I left both of these jobs after 6-8 months, without burning any major bridges but without establishing strong references either.    I also worked for close to a year at a non-profit agency that was totally unrelated to law, and spent some time traveling through Europe.

I now go to a very good law school and will likely score in the top 10% of my class.  I am sure that I want to be a lawyer and practice at a big firm in the city where my law school is located.  My concern is that my pre-law school job record will reflect badly upon me in the eyes of interviewers.  I am afraid they will think either I am too non-committal or simply couldn't hack it in a big firm.  In reality I was trying to get my feet wet in a lot of different areas just to make sure that law school was the right choice for me (it is!). 

I would appreciate any informed input as to the relevancy of my pre-law school work experience in the 2L job search. I like to think that my grades in law school will be more important, but I am not sure.  Also, if anyone has any suggestions as to the best way to "spin" my pre-law experience, I would appreciate it.



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Re: Will my pre-law school work experience hurt me?
« Reply #1 on: April 20, 2009, 06:55:52 AM »
I definitely don't think that the work experience will hurt you, or that employers will think that you're non-committal because you tried a few things before law school.  What will matter most is probably your grades, and to a far lesser extent how well you interview.  It's unlikely that firms will go back and call your old employers for references (most firms don't do this based on what I've seen). 

If anything, firms will look at pre-law school employment and see that your post-law school job will not be your first real experience in the working world.  They will probably take this as evidence that you have a little more maturity and professionalism already developed compared to people who went straight through.

So those are my thoughts based on my own job search experience.  Good luck.  :)