Legal Clinic Volunteer versus Law Firm Receptionist?

(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )
ComatoseClown
Posts: 144
Joined: Mon Aug 16, 2010 7:00 pm

Legal Clinic Volunteer versus Law Firm Receptionist?

Postby ComatoseClown » Fri Feb 18, 2011 12:06 am

As softs, which of these two would be viewed more favorably by top law schools?

My hunch is that top law schools would point to the former -- volunteering at a legal aid clinic, where there are hands-on opportunities available that allow the volunteers to see firsthand the legal issues (at least at the one here there are). Afforded the chance to often work one-on one with clients, the volunteers get to broaden their scope of their scope of how the legal system works.

On the other hand, getting a receptionist/secretary position at a law firm requires you to actually be selected by them and it may be competitive to acquire the position. BUT: You would (mainly) be doing menial office work and not really get to see the behind-the-scenes legal work, right?

What's your answer -- would the legal clinic volunteer earn more points in the eyes of a top law school admissions officer? Also feel free to correct or add on anything essential to the above descriptions that I may have left out in making this hypothesis. Of course I understand and believe in the importance of doing whichever is more fulfilling for the self.
Last edited by ComatoseClown on Fri Feb 18, 2011 12:18 am, edited 1 time in total.

adonai
Posts: 1033
Joined: Mon Apr 23, 2007 9:09 pm

Re: Legal Clinic Volunteer versus Law Firm Receptionist?

Postby adonai » Fri Feb 18, 2011 12:12 am

TLS will tell you 1) it doesn't matter which one you choose, both are worthless 2) Go to the one which will give you the most money. However, I have worked at a legal clinic before and it was a very good experience. You get lots of exposure to what is really happening in the "real world" and how people are affected on a practical level. If you are interested in PI, it might help you demonstrate your commitment to it.

User avatar
sundance95
Posts: 2123
Joined: Wed Jun 09, 2010 7:44 pm

Re: Legal Clinic Volunteer versus Law Firm Receptionist?

Postby sundance95 » Fri Feb 18, 2011 12:19 am

I was a legal clinic volunteer and was told by admissions staff that it was a factor in their decision to admit me. It was a great experience to boot. Of course, I only did it because I couldn't find a paralegal jerb...

adonai
Posts: 1033
Joined: Mon Apr 23, 2007 9:09 pm

Re: Legal Clinic Volunteer versus Law Firm Receptionist?

Postby adonai » Fri Feb 18, 2011 12:28 am

The legal clinic I think would give you a lot more of the "menial" practical skills of an attorney i.e. lots of facetime and interaction with clients, fast paced environment, learning to deal with a myriad of personalities and situations, etc. You will probably still do all the office work as well. Only difference I can see is if you would rather get paid or not get paid but get a great sense of fulfillment. I have also worked in a law office as a receptionist/secretary/legal assistant as well and I will tell you it pales in comparison with clinical work. Sitting at a desk and filing documents/arranging client case folders gets old fast. So while it might be true that clinical experience gets you a bump (I don't know this personally, but above poster says it was a factor), I would just do whatever fits your situation and what makes you happy.
Last edited by adonai on Fri Feb 18, 2011 12:33 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
sundance95
Posts: 2123
Joined: Wed Jun 09, 2010 7:44 pm

Re: Legal Clinic Volunteer versus Law Firm Receptionist?

Postby sundance95 » Fri Feb 18, 2011 12:31 am

adonai wrote:The legal clinic I think would give you a lot more of the "menial" practical skills of an attorney i.e. lots of facetime and interaction with clients, fast paced environment, learning to deal with a myriad of personalities and situations, etc. You will probably still do all the office work as well. Only difference I can see is if you would rather get paid or not get paid but get a great sense of fulfillment. I have also worked in a law office as a receptionist/secretary/legal assistant as well and I will tell you it pales in comparison with clinical work.

Good points. I'd also add that much of your clinic experience depends on your supervising attorney and your relationship with him/her.

champ33
Posts: 415
Joined: Wed Dec 09, 2009 10:34 pm

Re: Legal Clinic Volunteer versus Law Firm Receptionist?

Postby champ33 » Fri Feb 18, 2011 1:30 am

To echo the above I don't think it will matter much in actual admissions. If you're interested in PI though a lot of schools give amazing scholarships to a select group of students who have shown dedication to PI in the past etc., so if you're looking to apply to those - legal aid volunteer.




Return to “Law School Admissions Forum”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Lexaholik and 1 guest