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Author Topic: Should I supplement a summer research position w/ part time work?  (Read 1788 times)

markthomas

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I'll be working this summer as a research asst for my Crim Law prof.  Seeing as that won't take up all of my time, should I be dead set on supplementing that with other legal work?  To be honest with you, I have no interest in taking on other work this summer beyond that (at least work that doesn't pay or particularly interest me), but my fear is that future employers might see it as a cop out since most research asst jobs are part-time. 

In short, is there any reason to take on part-time work this summer other than to supplement my income?

mnewboldc

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Re: Should I supplement a summer research position w/ part time work?
« Reply #1 on: April 25, 2010, 06:13:15 PM »
Depends on your class rank. Many employers (unfairly, I think) tend to view RA positions as reserved for underachieving students who need to do "something" over the summer. So unless you've got a standout GPA, you probably should.
Cornell 2011

mnewboldc

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Re: Should I supplement a summer research position w/ part time work?
« Reply #2 on: April 25, 2010, 06:14:41 PM »
And when I say "work," I mean "legal work." And it doesn't matter if it's paid or unpaid. This economy is brutal, and unless you've got an ace up your sleeve you have to do whatever you can to distinguish yourself from your peers.
Cornell 2011

markthomas

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Re: Should I supplement a summer research position w/ part time work?
« Reply #3 on: April 25, 2010, 06:30:47 PM »
Many employers (unfairly, I think) tend to view RA positions as reserved for underachieving students

I am well aware of the economy, but that seems really odd to me.  The ONLY students who have RA positions (that I know of) are all top students/on law review; I myself have a 4.0.  In fact, you would think that because the position is one in which a professor hand selects a student after having daily contact over an entire semester to judge his/her competence, it would be viewed as prestigious and not a cop-out.

cooleylawstudent

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Re: Should I supplement a summer research position w/ part time work?
« Reply #4 on: April 25, 2010, 06:44:47 PM »
Just look cute and giggle and do that combing your hair back over your ear while makeing eye contact when answering questions.....yeah you'll be ok.

mnewboldc

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Re: Should I supplement a summer research position w/ part time work?
« Reply #5 on: April 25, 2010, 08:45:41 PM »
Depends on where you go to school I guess. If the employers who come to your school know that only the best students get RA gigs, then that's one thing. But I don't think that's the case at most schools.

Up here, there are definitely two types of RA's. There are the types who book the class and are asked by their professors to do research. Those folks typically acquire their positions early (like after Fall grades come out) and just don't want to deal with the stress of trying to find a summer gig.

But then there are the students who don't do so well, simply fail to find jobs during the Spring, and then get bailed out by career services at the 11th hour. I think when a firm sees a mediocre GPA and an RA gig as summer experience, they assume this is the case.

This second class of RA got thoroughly destroyed at my 2009 OCI. Probably the only people who had it worse off were the people with no prior legal experience who spent their 1L summers at public interest gigs. For reasons I absolutely do not understand, private employers seemed less interested in discussing public interest work, even when was clear that the work involved a good amount of legal research and writing. I split my summer between public interest and a federal judge. Every one of my 30 screening interviewers asked about the work I'd done for the judge. About four asked me about the public interest gig.

Cornell 2011

cooleylawstudent

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Re: Should I supplement a summer research position w/ part time work?
« Reply #6 on: April 25, 2010, 08:55:30 PM »
All jokeing aside, it depends on how bad you need the money. If you need cash, then do it. Try to get in a legal field, but if you need cash and have to get that working at a furniture store, then do what you have to do.

I'll be working this summer as a research asst for my Crim Law prof.  Seeing as that won't take up all of my time, should I be dead set on supplementing that with other legal work?  To be honest with you, I have no interest in taking on other work this summer beyond that (at least work that doesn't pay or particularly interest me), but my fear is that future employers might see it as a cop out since most research asst jobs are part-time. 

In short, is there any reason to take on part-time work this summer other than to supplement my income?