Law School Discussion

2L here - questions anyone?

Re: 2L here - questions anyone?
« Reply #50 on: May 17, 2007, 05:45:02 PM »
huh.  i thought clerking was generally post-law school.

It's not exactly the same thing - what I am doing now for this local judge is technically called 'clerking,' however the application process is not nearly as strenuous as it is for a full-time clerk (I think this is what you are envisioning).  I guess you could say I'm at a judicial internship, but it's just semantics. 

Re: 2L here - questions anyone?
« Reply #51 on: May 17, 2007, 05:46:40 PM »
Questions? Anyone?

Bueller?

what do law students usually do their 1L summer?

The informal rule is that it must be something legal related so that it won't hurt you for OCI. 

As long as you go to a decent school and aren't in the bottom quarter of the class you can usually find something paid and legal related.  If you can't find anything paid, then you have to either volunteer somewhere legal related or study abroad.  Studying abroad (unless you split the summer) generally looks pretty bad though. 

Some people at lower ranked schools just do whatever summer job they did in college (i.e. non legal related), and this will greatly hurt their chance for 2L summer, which is the really important one in terms of finding a permanent job after graduation.

Basically, 1L summer doesn't matter unless you are doing a) something great (i.e. clerking for fed. appellate court) or b) Don't do something legal related.   'a' helps you a lot for 2L summer and OCI and puts you in demand to the point where you can basically write your own check; 'b' pretty much kills any chances you have of getting a market paying job for 2L summer and also hurts your chances of getting a market paying job after you graduate.
it's possible to do this as a summer job?

Assuming good school, great grades (i.e. top few students, or at least top 1-5%), and great interviewing skills, it is indeed possible.  This obviously isn't an option for most people though, which is why I grouped it as an exception to the general rule.

edit - it's a little easier as a 2L.

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Re: 2L here - questions anyone?
« Reply #52 on: May 17, 2007, 05:56:27 PM »
did you participate in a study group? Did you find them helpful? If you didnt, why not?

Also, how was the 1L summer job search for you? I've heard of mass-mailing resumes to law firms, trying to find a paying 1L summer job, is this a good idea at all?

thanks!

Re: 2L here - questions anyone?
« Reply #53 on: May 17, 2007, 06:05:24 PM »
did you participate in a study group? Did you find them helpful? If you didnt, why not?

Yeah I had a group of 5-8 students first semester and we would spend 5-8 hours total for each exam going over old exams and a couple of difficult concepts.  I think it helped me a lot because I generally learn things well by explaining them to others, however this isn't true for everyone.  Because of the nature of law school exams, i.e. you have to verbalize your thought processes, I think that spending a few hours explaining your answers to difficult hypos to others is a good idea, however this isn't the purpose of most study groups.

For whatever reason, we didn't meet as much 2nd semester.  I haven't gotten my grades back for 2nd semester yet, so it's tough to say what effect this will have on my grades.  I am going to guess that it won't make any difference, however I think explaining stuff to people first semester helped me 'get' how to write law school exams.  I haven't done a very good job of explaining this, so if you could give me some more pointed questions I can give you a better answer.

Also, how was the 1L summer job search for you? I've heard of mass-mailing resumes to law firms, trying to find a paying 1L summer job, is this a good idea at all?

thanks!

I mailed out resumes and cover letters (targeted) to maybe 10 firms total in early january (right after I got my grades), all the elite ones.  I got 2 interviews and 0 jobs out of it. 

I got this thing with the local judge in later march.  It seems like judge's hire much later than firms do, however this might be unique to my area.   Generally, you should interview with the elite firms in late dec/jan, which means your cover letters/resumes should be out as soon as you get your grades at the very latest.   As far as judge's go, I didn't send anything to judge's until early march.   

Again, feel free to ask some follow-up questions.  I just don't want to spout off a bunch of crap that isn't relevant to  what you're trying to figure out.   

Re: 2L here - questions anyone?
« Reply #54 on: May 17, 2007, 06:13:08 PM »
I mailed out resumes and cover letters (targeted) to maybe 10 firms total, all the elite ones.  I got 2 interviews and 0 jobs out of it. 

wait, there are only 10 elite firms?

I don't wanna out myself,  but it's a secondary market.  Also, I am being a bit picky about my definition of "elite."

fair enough.

Your best bet for 1L, assuming grades aren't spectacular, is to hit up the mid size and small firms.  Anecdotally, from talking to friends, the smaller firms are much more likely to take 1Ls than are the larger firms.

Also, if you mention that you can begin working 10-15 hours during school, this will be seen as a huge plus.  It shows that you can handle multiple responsibilities (i.e. finals and work).  If you think you could handle the work, then I think it's a great idea to make this offer during the interview.     

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Re: 2L here - questions anyone?
« Reply #55 on: May 18, 2007, 12:17:45 PM »
I disagree that studying abroad looks bad.  It definitely shouldn't be a first choice for something to do your 1L summer, but it ranks higher than doing something outside the legal field, and it would probably rank higher than just taking summer classes at your school. 

I also think it really varies from school to school in terms of the availability of legal jobs for 1L summers.  At my school it's very competitive because we aren't in a very big market, so you have to be a pretty bangin' student to get a paid job here (or have connections).  I lucked out and got 3 offers, but a lot of people who went through OCI didn't get anything, and they were all people in the top 20-30% of the class. 

Also, study groups for exams are great if you have a good group with people who will participate.  I had some good members and some not-so-good, but it was a great experience for those of us who really participated.

Just my .02... sorry, I can't help it.

Re: 2L here - questions anyone?
« Reply #56 on: May 18, 2007, 02:58:37 PM »
I disagree that studying abroad looks bad.  It definitely shouldn't be a first choice for something to do your 1L summer, but it ranks higher than doing something outside the legal field, and it would probably rank higher than just taking summer classes at your school. 


I think we are (almost) in agreement here, I just did a bad job of explaining myself. 

Here's my ranking of the top things you can do with a 1L summer:

1) Something highly regarded, i.e. federal appellate court, etc.  - These are almost impossible to get 1L summer,  but if you can get one it will give you a significant advantage over the herd.

2) Something legal related and paid, i.e. local judge internship/clerkship, paid SA gig, etc.  - These are ideal positions and will put you where you need to be to score a 2L SA job, or anything else you want.  You won't have a significant advantage over anyone else, but you're not going to be hurt either.

3) Something legal related and unpaid, i.e. legal aid, etc. - As long as you are getting the legal related experience, it doesn't matter very much if you get paid, other than it shows that someone else 'wanted you' a little bit more if you manage to get a paid job.  All things being equal, paid legal related 1L job > unpaid legal related job, however the difference usually isn't that huge and many would argue is negligible (again, only for 1L - 2L is a completely different story.)

4) Study abroad.  Most employers will assume (rightly or wrongly... but usually rightly) that you at the very least couldn't find any paid job for the summer, and probably couldn't even find someone to take you as a volunteer.  This is the main negative aspect to studying abroad.  As long as you have a quick explanation that makes sense when they ask "Why did you decide to study abroad this past summer" then it cancels out most of this negative effect.  Unless you totally flub that answer (some can even turn this into a positive), then studying abroad won't be any kind of black mark on your resume.

5) Summer school at your law school/non-legal-related job/nothing - Huge black mark.  This will really hurt you.  No real way to explain why you decided to go to summer law school or do nothing or work as a taxi driver instead of doing one of the 3 or 4 options listed above.   It shows lack of motivation, lack of drive, lack of focus, etc. It's just plain bad, and there is no way I can sugarcoat this.

Overall, I think I did a bad job in my initial explanation in that it could lead to an inference (as the poster two spots above had) that option #4 is in some way comparable to #5, and that's not at all true. 




Re: 2L here - questions anyone?
« Reply #57 on: May 18, 2007, 03:03:59 PM »
Do many employers interview candidates before first semester grades come out?  I was thinking of mass-mailing employers before first semester grades and possibly sending a follow-up letter when grades are released (if they're good). 

Absolutely.  Most student's don't know this either, so you will have a huge jump if you send targeted cover letters and resumes to a number of firms in the first week of december.  Make sure to mention that you will be in the area during winter break, as this will make it easier for them to take one glance at your cover letter and resume and call you immediately to schedule an interview.   Also, if you have any kind of legal related experience prior to law school, it will greatly help you here, since almost no other 1L mailing out cover letters and resumes will have such experience. 

This is a heavily underrated mode of attack to get a 1L summer job and I'm glad you brought it up. 

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Re: 2L here - questions anyone?
« Reply #58 on: May 18, 2007, 03:06:53 PM »
I take issue with #5.  It's somewhat asinine to assume that employers will see your non-legal related work as "lack of motivation, lack of drive, lack of focus, etc.".  Some of us need to work to pay off living costs, etc.  Any reasonable employer will recognize this if you make it clear.

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Re: 2L here - questions anyone?
« Reply #59 on: May 18, 2007, 03:08:33 PM »
also:  volunteer at a legal office or legal nfp between terms and during second semester.  if a clerkship becomes available, its a good way to get both experience and a job.  i was the only 1L who did that here, and it translated into a summer job.