Benefits of working in a law firm before law school?

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zephyr36
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Benefits of working in a law firm before law school?

Postby zephyr36 » Tue Nov 01, 2011 5:27 pm

I'm working as a document clerk in a big regional law firm in a secondary market. I'm wondering how much this might boost me in the application process (if at all) and down the road during OCI.

I also tried to search for a similar thread, but didn't come up with much. If someone knows of one, it would be great if you could post a link.

CanadianWolf
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Re: Benefits of working in a law firm before law school?

Postby CanadianWolf » Tue Nov 01, 2011 5:29 pm

The primary benefit is that you have at least some idea of what you're getting into as a profession.

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Helmholtz
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Re: Benefits of working in a law firm before law school?

Postby Helmholtz » Tue Nov 01, 2011 5:33 pm

Probably won't help in the applications process. Might help at OCI, but that depends on what you do at the firm and how you spin it during OCI (not entirely sure what a doc clerk does; I actually did a fair amount of substantive work where I was, so it might be different for you). For example, I worked at a law firm before law school and helped attorneys with both transactional and litigation work, so I was able to explain during OCI why I was leaning toward corporate work—by actually having hands-on experience with, and observation of, both sides. That being said, there are a lot of people at law school who worked at a law firm pre-LS and I haven't noticed any kind of significant OCI boost. People with experience at a bulge-bracket bank >>>>>>>>>> People who worked at a law firm before law school.

zephyr36
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Re: Benefits of working in a law firm before law school?

Postby zephyr36 » Tue Nov 01, 2011 5:37 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:The primary benefit is that you have at least some idea of what you're getting into as a profession.


Very true. It's definitely made me think hard about whether I would actually enjoy the work. Do you think adcomms and future employers recognize this and use it as a plus?

As a document clerk, I mainly do a lot of reviewing and preparation of documents. I work in a big litigation department, so I do a lot of trial notebook preparation, proofreading, and research. On occasion, I'll sit in on depositions and go to trial to watch opening arguments. Yesterday, for example, I spent the day going over jury instructions for an upcoming trial. It's not particularly glamorous work, but I do get to know a whole lot about cases going on.

CanadianWolf
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Re: Benefits of working in a law firm before law school?

Postby CanadianWolf » Tue Nov 01, 2011 5:39 pm

It is a plus because it shows that your decision to attend law schol was made, at least partially, on real-world factors which indicates maturity.

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Helmholtz
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Re: Benefits of working in a law firm before law school?

Postby Helmholtz » Tue Nov 01, 2011 5:44 pm

zephyr36 wrote:
CanadianWolf wrote:The primary benefit is that you have at least some idea of what you're getting into as a profession.


Very true. It's definitely made me think hard about whether I would actually enjoy the work. Do you think adcomms and future employers recognize this and use it as a plus?

As a document clerk, I mainly do a lot of reviewing and preparation of documents. I work in a big litigation department, so I do a lot of trial notebook preparation, proofreading, and research. On occasion, I'll sit in on depositions and go to trial to watch opening arguments. Yesterday, for example, I spent the day going over jury instructions for an upcoming trial. It's not particularly glamorous work, but I do get to know a whole lot about cases going on.


It almost certainly won't help you for law school applications. I can see it maybe helping for OCI if you want to sell yourself as a hardcore litigation guy. During one of my callbacks at one of the firms I got an offer from, one of the interviewers said something to the effect of: "Looking at your resume, I get the sense that you have been very deliberate with your career choice and put in the effort to gain exposure to the field before deciding to go to law school. Unfortunately, too many people leap straight to law school without a second thought after graduating with a philosophy or social science degree (and some manage to do extremely well in biglaw). But it's good that you didn't go that route. I think that somebody like you and with your background would fit in very well here." Now, I have serious doubts about whether previous legal work experience was enough to push me over the edge to an offer at that particular firm, but it doesn't seem to have hurt. However, I do think that you can spin it in a way that demonstrates maturity and shows that you didn't go to law school just because it was the default choice for a useless social sciences major.

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5ky
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Re: Benefits of working in a law firm before law school?

Postby 5ky » Tue Nov 01, 2011 5:50 pm

I agree with Helm in everything he said. No benefit for applying, but definitely a help for spinning OCI interviews.

zephyr36
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Re: Benefits of working in a law firm before law school?

Postby zephyr36 » Tue Nov 01, 2011 6:45 pm

This is pretty much what I was expecting (no bonus on apps, but perhaps in OCI). FWIW, I also bill my hours in my position, so I've definitely been exposed to that aspect of working as a lawyer.

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BeerMaker
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Re: Benefits of working in a law firm before law school?

Postby BeerMaker » Tue Nov 01, 2011 7:30 pm

Huge for jobs. I'd say more important than school rank. An in, in this economy, is bigger than rank. Especially if you're a very well revered paralegal or secretary. Even at a mediocre regional school, this means more than T14. Doesn't matter what haters say, it's how it goes these days. It's the age old adage: it's who you know!

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5ky
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Re: Benefits of working in a law firm before law school?

Postby 5ky » Tue Nov 01, 2011 7:52 pm

BeerMaker wrote:Huge for jobs. I'd say more important than school rank. An in, in this economy, is bigger than rank. Especially if you're a very well revered paralegal or secretary. Even at a mediocre regional school, this means more than T14. Doesn't matter what haters say, it's how it goes these days. It's the age old adage: it's who you know!


no

e: successful troll is successful?




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