Law School Discussion

2L here - questions anyone?

fuwaf

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Re: 2L here - questions anyone?
« Reply #60 on: May 18, 2007, 03:49:29 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.


This is true, but some hiring officials at firms basically told my 1L class that it would be better to volunteer for free during the day to get the legal experience and tend bar at night.  I thought it was a little harsh, but I think it shows that they aren't very sympathetic to financial needs because it's so important to get legal experience your 1L summer.

Astro

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Re: 2L here - questions anyone?
« Reply #61 on: May 18, 2007, 03:53:11 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.


This is true, but some hiring officials at firms basically told my 1L class that it would be better to volunteer for free during the day to get the legal experience and tend bar at night.  I thought it was a little harsh, but I think it shows that they aren't very sympathetic to financial needs because it's so important to get legal experience your 1L summer.


That's understandable, but there's a difference between saying it's not preferable to volunteering and saying that it's simply "bad".

FWIW, I will probably be working in a sociolegal capacity if I'm forced to head back to Canada for that summer, so I'm not too worried.  But still...

fuwaf

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Re: 2L here - questions anyone?
« Reply #62 on: May 18, 2007, 04:03:46 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.


This is true, but some hiring officials at firms basically told my 1L class that it would be better to volunteer for free during the day to get the legal experience and tend bar at night.  I thought it was a little harsh, but I think it shows that they aren't very sympathetic to financial needs because it's so important to get legal experience your 1L summer.


That's understandable, but there's a difference between saying it's not preferable to volunteering and saying that it's simply "bad".

FWIW, I will probably be working in a sociolegal capacity if I'm forced to head back to Canada for that summer, so I'm not too worried.  But still...


I know quite a few people who have no legal job prospects for the summer and don't seem too worried about it, but these are the ones who really didn't look hard in the first place.  If you really take the time to look and you have semi-decent grades, you should be able to find something, especially if you have any contacts with lawyers in small or mid-size firms.  I also know a lot of students who are doing research for professors this summer.  I do think HelpfulChap was slightly overstating the "travesty" of a non-legal related job... it can't really help you later in your job search, but I don't think it's a nail in your job coffin.    Working for a firm your 2L year (or even 1L year, if that's an option) can possibly help overcome any "badness" resulting from your 1L summer choice to work in another field.

With that said... 2L summer jobs are very important, and it was stressed to us that if there was ANY WAY to get legal experience during your 1L summer, you should do it.  I personally would have loved to study abroad this summer, but I couldn't justify it with the job offers I received.  Even if my grades were worse, I probably still would have gone the mass-mail/phone route to find a job with a firm.  I'll also say that the people I know studying abroad are better characterized as lazy/unmotivated to work/more interested in having a fun summer than not able to get jobs.  Most of the people I know made their choice to study abroad early in the semester and didn't even look for jobs, and it didn't always reflect bad grades.

Re: 2L here - questions anyone?
« Reply #63 on: May 18, 2007, 05:38:42 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.


This is true, but some hiring officials at firms basically told my 1L class that it would be better to volunteer for free during the day to get the legal experience and tend bar at night.  I thought it was a little harsh, but I think it shows that they aren't very sympathetic to financial needs because it's so important to get legal experience your 1L summer.


That's understandable, but there's a difference between saying it's not preferable to volunteering and saying that it's simply "bad".

FWIW, I will probably be working in a sociolegal capacity if I'm forced to head back to Canada for that summer, so I'm not too worried.  But still...


It might be assinine, and I didn't say I agreed with it, but that's the way most legal employers will look at the situation.

Also, while I seem to have struck a nerve by boldly telling you it's "bad" to have no legal related experience going into OCI, it doesn't mean that this isn't the truth.  Also, it doesn't technically 'hurt' you - however, who are you competing against for a 2L summer job?   You're competing with people with from similar schools with similar grades.  All else being equal, who is getting the interview?  The person who writes "2007 - Summer - Taxi Driver - Bill's Taxi Co." or someone who writes "2007 - Summer - Smith & Johnson - Summer Associate?"   I just don't think you're being honest with yourself here.  "Bad" only means "bad" relative to what other people are doing.  Since most people will have  something legal related on their resume for the 1L summer (even study abroad), you are putting yourself at the bottom of the barrel to begin with by doing a non-legal-related job for the summer.  This isn't always the rule, but from my (somewhat extensive) research and a large amount of anecdotal evidence, this appears to be the fairest general rule I can state.

Also, the paid > unpaid thing - I said "all things being equal."  Highly regarded government jobs are NOT equal to getting $8/hr getting people coffee at a crappy, unrespected firm.  You have to factor in the totality of the circumstances.  I'm sorry if I didn't make that clear.


Astro

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Re: 2L here - questions anyone?
« Reply #64 on: May 18, 2007, 05:41:01 PM »
Clearly, from what other 2Ls have written, it's not the truth.  I'm not offended by you saying it's "bad".  I'm just telling you your message is incorrect.

Re: 2L here - questions anyone?
« Reply #65 on: May 18, 2007, 05:43:01 PM »
I do think HelpfulChap was slightly overstating the "travesty" of a non-legal related job...

I'll speak out on this as a student who will be studying abroad this summer.  I did a lot of thinking/researching before making my decision to study abroad.  I was really worried about how this would look to employers - but I honestly dont think it will be too hurtful.  I am a student that had 5 years of professional experience before school, and I worked as a research assistant my 1L year. Next year I have TA job lined up, and I was accepted into one of the clinics.  I have strong grades (well, pending the two I am waiting on).   

For me - I wanted to do this for the personal and academic experience. I know that I will throw myself into whatever job I take, and I wont have the opportunity to "travel the world" for many years after graduation.  I need to get it out of my system. Additionally, it gives me some breathing room so that i can take a slightly lighter load and hold an internship during the school year.

With that being said, I think I feel comfortable doing this because I do have a solid work resume, some good work experience through the school and good grades.  I weighed all of hte postiives and negatives and decided it was worth the "risk."  Further, I talked to a few of my mentors and they all said what Helpful Chap mentioned - I should be just fine because I can explain my reasons for doing this program.

So - I guess my point of offering my personal situation is that everyone is different.  Just make sure your decision is well thought out.  AND - if you know you want to work during the summer, start early.  The whole "early bird gets the worm" is very true.

This sounds like solid advice. 

Also, please note that he DOES have legal experience - the RA and later the TA position.  He also has years of professional experience that also puts him in a slightly different category.

Most of the advice I'm giving, especially regarding 1L jobs, is directed towards the 1L with no legal experience whatsoever on his resume.   Option #5 would not be fatal for someone like this poster (hypothetically of course, since he's doing #4) with other legal-related things on his resume, however it could very well be fatal for someone with no legal experience of any kind. 

Also, by "fatal" and "bad" I mean you are destroying your shot at a market paying job.  Almost anyone with a law degree will at least find temporary contract work that can feed the family.  I'm giving advice not to the people who just want a job, but to people who want the top paying legal jobs. 

Re: 2L here - questions anyone?
« Reply #66 on: May 18, 2007, 05:43:33 PM »
Clearly, from what other 2Ls have written, it's not the truth.  I'm not offended by you saying it's "bad".  I'm just telling you your message is incorrect.


What is my message?  What about it is incorrect?  Based on what?

tyia.

Astro

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Re: 2L here - questions anyone?
« Reply #67 on: May 18, 2007, 05:53:33 PM »
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.


This is the part that I take issue with.  Not taking a legal related job/apprenticeship/volunteering in a similar capacity over that 1L summer does not show lack of motivation/drive/focus/etc. to an employer.  It is not "bad", per se.  It is simply just not as good as the rest if you are looking to be employed at certain levels in certain markets.

I think the following would've been a very useful addition in your original post:

Also, by "fatal" and "bad" I mean you are destroying your shot at a market paying job.  Almost anyone with a law degree will at least find temporary contract work that can feed the family.  I'm giving advice not to the people who just want a job, but to people who want the top paying legal jobs. 


FWIW, I agree that, the better the job you seek, the more imperative it is that you find legal-related work of any nature during your 1L summer.  That doesn't mean that not finding such work is bad, in and of itself.  Just know that you may be limiting yourself.

2L summer... well, that's a different kettle of fish altogether.

Re: 2L here - questions anyone?
« Reply #68 on: May 18, 2007, 05:57:47 PM »
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.


This is the part that I take issue with.  Not taking a legal related job/apprenticeship/volunteering in a similar capacity over that 1L summer does not show lack of motivation/drive/focus/etc. to an employer.  It is not "bad", per se.  It is simply just not as good as the rest if you are looking to be employed at certain levels in certain markets.

I think the following would've been a very useful addition in your original post:

Also, by "fatal" and "bad" I mean you are destroying your shot at a market paying job.  Almost anyone with a law degree will at least find temporary contract work that can feed the family.  I'm giving advice not to the people who just want a job, but to people who want the top paying legal jobs. 


FWIW, I agree that, the better the job you seek, the more imperative it is that you find legal-related work of any nature during your 1L summer.  That doesn't mean that not finding such work is bad, in and of itself.  Just know that you may be limiting yourself.

2L summer... well, that's a different kettle of fish altogether.


I think we're finally in agreement here.  At this point I think (after the addition that, you're right, I should have  been more clear about earlier) that we're simply arguing semantics.  How is "limiting yourself" and doing something "not as good as the rest" =/= "bad?"  That's all I'm saying.  Your euphemisms sound better and "bad" is much less refined and unpleasant to the ears, but at the end of the day I think we basically agree on this issue.

Astro

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Re: 2L here - questions anyone?
« Reply #69 on: May 18, 2007, 06:02:15 PM »
We only agree if you agree that working in a non-legal field over your 1L summer does not necessarily show lack of motivation/drive/etc. to an employer.