Law School Discussion

2L Summer & Post-Grad Employment Search & Alternatives

2L Summer & Post-Grad Employment Search & Alternatives
« on: January 19, 2016, 02:54:14 AM »
Hello my Law School Discussion community members,

For those of you who have helped me in the past, I am happy to say I did better grade wise last semester. Got a 3.25 for the term, but only bumped my 2.9 up to a 3.03.

But I come to you all with another concern. I am now in my Spring Term of 2L year. I passed the MPRE and participated in OCI in the Fall, but yielded nothing more than a small handful of callbacks. I haven't been able to secure any part-time law clerk positions either. I am wondering if you all have advice for me on where I can find or search for jobs like part-time law clerks, summer associate positions at in-house or firms, etc. I'm worried that I'll be unemployed upon graduation which is a problem for me as I have family finances that I'm responsible for. This line of thinking has triggered me into thinking about alternatives upon graduation if I can't secure a law firm or in-house legal position.

Anyone have suggestions on alternatives or other degrees to pursue to supplement the law degree so that I can be marketable to the business world, sports management, or other fields in case I can't find a law firm or in-house legal position?

Sorry about the long post, and thanks in advance for all serious and thoughtful replies.

Re: 2L Summer & Post-Grad Employment Search & Alternatives
« Reply #1 on: January 19, 2016, 09:28:00 AM »
First off, congratulations. Anything above 3.0 in law school is a respectable GPA.

Second, if you can provide a little background like where you are located, if you're willing to move, whether you have a minimum salary requirement, etc., then it's easier to answer your questions.

But generally, I think OCI is a mediocre (at best) option for most students. Unless you're an academic superstar you probably won't get hired from OCI. This means you've got to pound the pavement and hustle.

You mentioned that you have family finances, so I assume you have (or have had) a job before. Getting a legal job is not too drastically different from getting into any other competitive line of work. Sending out a million resumes to every open position will not be very useful. You need to make connections and utilize any connections you already have. If you have any specific marketable experience (whether from your previous job or during law school) try to match it up with a legal job.

You mentioned in-house and sports management positions, but you need to very flexible. In this market the ability to wear many hats and to be adaptable is key. 

Paid positions are going to be pretty tough to get at this point, but if you can afford to accept an unpaid position at a firm or government office I'd do it. The DA, PD, City Attorney and a multitude of state and federal agencies have unpaid interns. Even these are somewhat competitive, but it's imperative that you get some experience before graduation. Even if it's not a field that you're interested in or an office you'd never want to work at, you need something on your resume.

As far as another degree, I wouldn't even worry about that now. More debt, more time out of the job market, and I'm not even sure it would be all that useful. To land a job in law or sports management you need experience. If you have the experience then an MBA won't matter. If you don't have the experience then an MBA still won't matter.

Focus right now on finding a legal position, then focus on passing the bar, then focus on getting a job. 

loki13

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Re: 2L Summer & Post-Grad Employment Search & Alternatives
« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2016, 12:32:34 PM »
I agree with what Maintain wrote. I will add a few and emphasize a few things-

2L summer employment is important. But you are still quite a ways away. At a similar point in my law school career, I didn't have a 2L summer job. For various reasons, I had gotten *screwed* by a potential employer. But it ended up working out, as I worked my connections and ended up with my dream BigLaw job. But it wasn't through my school, and it wasn't OCI. Does this mean you'll end up as a BigLaw summer? No. But it means you have to create your own opportunities, and even the best ones don't get handed to you. And we're still some ways away from the summer.

Next, OCI is, for most students, not a great option. It's a cattle call. Yes, academic superstars will get offers. Others are just seat-fillers. Don't let it get to you.

Do not even think about another degree right now. That's crazy talk. ANOTHER DEGREE WILL NOT HELP YOU IN THE LEGAL FIELD. That's a pretty definitive statement, and there are exceptions (JD/MDs that practice medmal, or an LLM is tax law from a good school, for instance), but a generic, "Another degree will help me get a legal job?" No.

Ask around. Ask professors that you are friendly with. Use on-line tools. Friends. Colleagues. Send out resumes and good cover letters (how many? more than you think you should). Keep at it.

If it comes to it, take an unpaid legal position. But get something "in the law" under your belt.

Re: 2L Summer & Post-Grad Employment Search & Alternatives
« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2016, 07:00:06 PM »
To Maintain FL 350 -

Thanks! I sure wish the employers respected my GPA too..

So to share a little about my background, I'm located in the Bay Area (San Francisco Bay Area - so think anywhere from Concord to Oakland to SF to Palo Alto) I'm willing to move within California but ideally stay in the Bay Area as I have a house here. Honestly at this point, salary requirement is up in the air. I really want a job that would put me near 80-90 K (yes I realize I might be daring to dream). In a perfect world, 100,000 (highly unlikely I realize). But realistically 60-70k to start would be nice? Too much to ask?

So yea I worked throughout undergrad and came straight to law school but due to special circumstances, I've been heavily involved in the family finances for years to the point where I am the bulk if not borderline all income. I've been doing the send a million resumes out, but having a hard time scoring for sure. You mentioned making connections but do you have suggestions on where to go and how to approach the topic? It seems to blunt to be like "Hi, "chit chat chit chat" By the way, I'm really looking for a position, heard of any?". I'm never quite sure how to make that turn in the conversation with new networked connections. Like with people I know, I mentioned I'm still searching for a position and with a few I even asked if they would let me know if they heard of any open positions but no results yet. I used to work in Business and Finance before going into Accounting. 

And yea I'm all about flexibility as long as I can make ends meet financially. (I know that is a big road block on its own). I mentioned in-house and sports management positions as an attempt to think of alternatives since the job search isn't going smoothly.

I did a summer internship with the DOJ last summer as a 1L but I can't afford to take time off work to do full blown summer unpaid internships. I've been thinking about doing a clinic instead? Since it can count as a class? Worth it? Not worth it?

Do you know anything about the IBR repayments? Is it easy to get a low minimum payment through that program?

And thanks again for taking the time to help me think this through. I'm definitely staying on top of my studies in the meantime, but this stuff is slowly getting to me lol.

Regards,
Sharka

Re: 2L Summer & Post-Grad Employment Search & Alternatives
« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2016, 07:08:13 PM »
To Loki13 -

Thanks for your input and time too! I'm a worrier as some of you may have noticed already. Sorry to hear you got screwed by a potential employer, but its awesome that your situation worked out for the better!

But yea my worry is that I feel like I'm sending out tons of resumes with little reply and no connections to tap that I can think of. But then again, its likely that I've overlooked some connection to reach out on.

I appreciate the direct answer on another degree though. I'll check with some of my professors for sure, but any advice on how to approach that conversation? I know we're supposed to pursue an area of law we're interested in but I'm open to any area at this point so do I express interest only in the field my professor taught me in? Or do I make it more open ended?

Speaking of resumes and cover letters, aside from career office, any other resources or editors you guys recommend going to?

Thanks again! Really appreciate you guys helping me with this.

Regards,
Sharka

Re: 2L Summer & Post-Grad Employment Search & Alternatives
« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2016, 10:09:45 AM »
To Maintain FL 350 -

Thanks! I sure wish the employers respected my GPA too..

So to share a little about my background, I'm located in the Bay Area (San Francisco Bay Area - so think anywhere from Concord to Oakland to SF to Palo Alto) I'm willing to move within California but ideally stay in the Bay Area as I have a house here. Honestly at this point, salary requirement is up in the air. I really want a job that would put me near 80-90 K (yes I realize I might be daring to dream). In a perfect world, 100,000 (highly unlikely I realize). But realistically 60-70k to start would be nice? Too much to ask?

Alright, that does help. I'm in LA but I'm familiar with the Bay Area market. I lived there for a few years and my wife went to law school and worked in SF.

As you know, it is a very popular place to live and there is a lot of competition. Also, having a 3.0 from Berkeley provides different opportunities than a 3.0 from GGU. So it depends.

I would recommend looking at government offices throughout the region (Contra Costa, Alameda, even Sonoma/Rohnert Park/San Jose if you can do the commute). Also, assuming that you're not at Berkeley/Stanford, look at small and midsized firms in the suburbs. There are lots of small firms in Walnut Creek, Oakland etc. Be prepared for unpaid positions.

If you don't have a connection to the firm/office, I recommend dropping off your resume in person. Some people advise against this but I can tell you as someone who has sifted through the literally hundreds of resumes that pour into an office, being able to put a face with a name helps. Be polite, don't overstay your welcome, but introduce yourself and let them know how interested you are in what they do. You may only get to speak with the receptionist, but it's better than a blind resume drop.

$60-70,000 in the Bay Area is not unrealistic, but you're not going to get it without some marketable experience. It is IMPERATIVE that you get some legal experience under your belt. If that means an unpaid internship, take it. If it means helping draft MSJs in boring divorce cases, take it.

How to make connections? The fact is, some people are better at this than others. Incidentally, this is why I think most law students would benefit from a couple years of work experience before law school.

Here's an example. When I was in law school I took a class taught by an adjunct prof who was practiced a type of law that I was interested in. I did well in his class, was always prepared, and one day mentioned that I wanted to do what he did, and did he have any advice? He mentioned that his office had internships and that I should apply. Surprise surprise, I got the internship. I was not a top student (although I did well), and I was competing against people from much higher ranked schools. I got the internship because of the connection. Hopefully that helps.

Re: 2L Summer & Post-Grad Employment Search & Alternatives
« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2016, 01:25:12 PM »
Unpopular thought but one I stand by, just take classes over the summer and get done faster

Re: 2L Summer & Post-Grad Employment Search & Alternatives
« Reply #7 on: January 21, 2016, 12:18:18 AM »
Yea I'm not at Berkeley or Stanford. (Wish I was). I'm at UC Hastings. So certainly not a Berkeley or Stanford but better than a GGU?

I would honestly be very happy to work at a midsized or small firm in the suburbs like Walnut Creek, Dublin, Pleasanton, San Ramon, etc. Such nice areas especially Walnut Creek. I used to work in Walnut Creek. Do you know of any looking to hire or recommend any firms that you would recommend I reach out to?

For the resume drops, would you recommend calling them first? Or just showing up and dropping off a resume? Like will the receptionist actually pass the resume on? And do people still print on the nicer paper for resume or is that viewed as pompous these days?

I've been meaning to ask about legal experience. Does it need to be relevant? Like if I take a position at a family law firm for example, but let's say I want to do corporate or business law in the long run and be in-house down the road. Will it look odd on the resume? Will it box me into family law or whatever area of law I intern for?

And with regards to connections, I think you're right. I can definitely see how I and others could have benefited by working a few years full time prior to law school. But that example definitely helps! I appreciate that.

I've been trying to trim my resume and work on my cover letter but the feedback from the career center is just one perspective. Do you recommend any professional services to seek out?

Thanks!


Re: 2L Summer & Post-Grad Employment Search & Alternatives
« Reply #8 on: January 21, 2016, 11:47:10 AM »
I am in the Bay Area and went through the same thing, but I passed the bar and have had multiple jobs. I think like most 2L's at the halfway point of law school you are freaking out, which is not surprising. You are thinking will I ever get a job? Will anyone ever hire me? The answer is yes.

OCI works for almost nobody in reality and is often just a way for school's to say firms come, but just because a firm comes does not mean they are hiring anyone. Often it is just a favor for alumni.

I would stay focused do as well as you can in school and look for jobs. There is plenty of work for licensed lawyers, but it is frustrating to get your career started. I know as a 2L and I believe everyone that has posted I was in the same spot, but i passed the bar etc and have had jobs since I passed.

If you are in the Bay Area a networking opportunity that you might be interested in is the Bar Association of San Francisco Basketball League, which starts on January 26th. We need two more teams to start and games are at University of San Francisco. If you could get a Hastings team together that would be great we had the league their last season, but Hastings Gym is terrible.

If your interested in playing in the league let me know and I will PM you the info.





Re: 2L Summer & Post-Grad Employment Search & Alternatives
« Reply #9 on: January 21, 2016, 01:32:17 PM »
Unpopular thought but one I stand by, just take classes over the summer and get done faster

Yeah, maybe if you started taking summer classes after 1L, but at this point as a 2L is that really going to speed up graduation? You're probably only going to be able to take what, two or three classes? I don't think it would enough to get you out a semester early.

Second issue is this: you graduate early with no experience at all. Now what? Study for the bar and start becoming a "volunteer attorney" to get some experience? No thanks.