How important is work experience?

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MilkDrinker
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How important is work experience?

Postby MilkDrinker » Fri Aug 03, 2012 7:48 am

Do you have to, like business school, have work experience before applying to law school (a top law school)? If so, does field of work matter? And about how many years would be ideal? I am a Freshman computer science major, and if I get a BS in computer science then I would only have the skills to get computer-related job. Is an internship (or a few internships) good enough? Is it even possible to get a job related to law without a JD?

bobbyh1919
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Re: How important is work experience?

Postby bobbyh1919 » Fri Aug 03, 2012 7:53 am

Slow down there cowboy. WE helps for law school admissions, but only to a certain degree. It comes into play more during OCI though, so it always helps. Just get good grades, do an internship or two, and focus on the LSAT when the time comes. And don't worry so much about getting law related experience, just take whatever looks best to you and that you find interesting.

mr.hands
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Re: How important is work experience?

Postby mr.hands » Fri Aug 03, 2012 9:25 am

Are you in college?

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bankruptedcasino
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Re: How important is work experience?

Postby bankruptedcasino » Fri Aug 03, 2012 9:52 am

mr.hands wrote:Are you in college?


OP's definitely in college.

Only focus on your grades at this point, cowboy. Nothing below a 3.5.

WE only helps if you bomb college, your grades suck, and you need something to show AdComms that you've "changed" and aren't the miscreant you once were.

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pjo
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Re: How important is work experience?

Postby pjo » Fri Aug 03, 2012 10:01 am

WE doesn't help much at getting you into a school. It's the same as a soft factor, unless it's something amazing like Ibanking (but then why are you going to law school?). WE does help significantly in getting you a job though, so long as the WE was something more than retail or food services.

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Samara
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Re: How important is work experience?

Postby Samara » Fri Aug 03, 2012 10:18 am

MilkDrinker wrote:Do you have to, like business school, have work experience before applying to law school (a top law school)? If so, does field of work matter? And about how many years would be ideal? I am a Freshman computer science major, and if I get a BS in computer science then I would only have the skills to get computer-related job. Is an internship (or a few internships) good enough? Is it even possible to get a job related to law without a JD?

For now, focus on grades. WE can help at the margins for law school admissions and plays a bigger roles at Northwestern. Significant WE, especially banking/finance/consulting, can help when you're trying to get a job.

The biggest benefit with WE, however, is how it will help you personally. You'll grow a lot by working for a couple years first, in a way that you simply can't through school or internships. Working first can also really help you figure out what you want to do. There are a lot of legal-related jobs that do not require a JD. The last thing you want to do is rush through to law school, take on $250k in debt, only to find out that you don't like being a lawyer or that you don't even like the legal field at all. I'm starting law school this fall after working for four years. I am so glad that I waited and strongly encourage everyone to work for at least two years before starting law school.

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MilkDrinker
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Re: How important is work experience?

Postby MilkDrinker » Sat Aug 04, 2012 9:29 pm

There are a lot of legal-related jobs that do not require a JD.


Like what? And what would I have to get a degree in to get those jobs?
Last edited by MilkDrinker on Sat Aug 04, 2012 9:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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fatduck
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Re: How important is work experience?

Postby fatduck » Sat Aug 04, 2012 9:30 pm

^ i don't think anyone can parse that post, cowboy

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MilkDrinker
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Re: How important is work experience?

Postby MilkDrinker » Sat Aug 04, 2012 9:39 pm

^ i don't think anyone can parse that post, cowboy


Sorry I'm a noob at this forum stuff.

I edited it.

bobbyh1919
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Re: How important is work experience?

Postby bobbyh1919 » Sat Aug 04, 2012 10:11 pm

Happy to see that "cowboy" has caught on for OP.

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Samara
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Re: How important is work experience?

Postby Samara » Sat Aug 04, 2012 10:18 pm

MilkDrinker wrote:
There are a lot of legal-related jobs that do not require a JD.


Like what? And what would I have to get a degree in to get those jobs?

Probably not computer science, haha.

You can work in politics, government relations, regulation, mediation, social work, etc. I'm most familiar with politics/government relations. For that, political science is the obvious choice, but other liberal arts degrees would work as well. I wouldn't go for MPA/MPP (or any other graduate degree) until you reach a point in your career where you know for sure exactly what you want to do with it.

This is hard to answer without more information though. Why are you interested in the legal field? What kind of work do you like and want to do? Are you wanting to help individuals? Shape policy? Resolve disputes? Negotiate deals? Sounds like you're not particularly interested in being a lawyer or just don't know a lot about what they do, so there are a lot of options you can pursue without a JD.

Remember, law school will always be there. Don't feel rushed.

Joeshan520
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Re: How important is work experience?

Postby Joeshan520 » Sat Aug 04, 2012 10:48 pm

I'm going on a year now of post graduate WE and I can tell you that it has definitely made the next step (be it law school or another career entirely) that much more valuable for me. It definitely helps you grow as a person and believe it or not at 21 or 22 you've got a lot of learning to do experientially. Don't look at work experience as an Application credential, look at it as a time for growth and hopefully some savings ($$).

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MilkDrinker
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Re: How important is work experience?

Postby MilkDrinker » Sat Aug 04, 2012 11:17 pm

Why are you interested in the legal field? What kind of work do you like and want to do? Are you wanting to help individuals? Shape policy?


I'm interested in becoming a lawyer because I like debating, and I really want to do something about the American criminal (in)justice system. Specifically, end life without parole sentences for children, get death penalties down (I'm in Texas), help innocent people, make a lot of money, challenge laws and is there anything else? Uhh, let me see. No for now.

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fatduck
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Re: How important is work experience?

Postby fatduck » Sat Aug 04, 2012 11:20 pm

MilkDrinker wrote:
Why are you interested in the legal field? What kind of work do you like and want to do? Are you wanting to help individuals? Shape policy?


I'm interested in becoming a lawyer because I like debating, and I really want to do something about the American criminal (in)justice system. Specifically, end life without parole sentences for children, get death penalties down (I'm in Texas), help innocent people, make a lot of money, challenge laws and is there anything else? Uhh, let me see. No for now.

i think you could do all of this and more as governor of texas. maybe shoot for that.

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franklyscarlet
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Re: How important is work experience?

Postby franklyscarlet » Sat Aug 04, 2012 11:31 pm

MilkDrinker wrote:
Why are you interested in the legal field? What kind of work do you like and want to do? Are you wanting to help individuals? Shape policy?


I'm interested in becoming a lawyer because I like debating, and I really want to do something about the American criminal (in)justice system. Specifically, end life without parole sentences for children, get death penalties down (I'm in Texas), help innocent people, make a lot of money, challenge laws and is there anything else? Uhh, let me see. No for now.


looks like someone needs to do some "what do lawyers actually do" research.

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Samara
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Re: How important is work experience?

Postby Samara » Sat Aug 04, 2012 11:50 pm

MilkDrinker wrote:
Why are you interested in the legal field? What kind of work do you like and want to do? Are you wanting to help individuals? Shape policy?


I'm interested in becoming a lawyer because I like debating, and I really want to do something about the American criminal (in)justice system. Specifically, end life without parole sentences for children, get death penalties down (I'm in Texas), help innocent people, make a lot of money, challenge laws and is there anything else? Uhh, let me see. No for now.

If you want to do all that, why are you in computer science?

A couple things. First, the bolded and the italicized are not things that will be found in the same career path. You can always donate your free time to those causes, but if you want to do that as a career, you are going to be severely underpaid and overworked.

Secondly, making a lot money should not be the basis for making a career choice, especially not in terms of law school. Only at about ten law schools do your odds of making it to biglaw exceed 50%. Even if you make there, odds are you'll take out $100k - $250k in debt to get there and only last 3-5 years before getting the boot or getting burned out.

Third, debating is pretty unrelated to lawyering. Being a lawyer is mostly research and writing. Many (most?) lawyers don't step foot inside a courtroom.

Fourth, you would make a much bigger difference on the bolded issues by getting into politics, which does not require a JD. The problem there is two-fold, fatduck is on the mark. High-level elected officials make the decisions like that, so getting elected Governor is pretty much the only way you could make sweeping changes. Two: You could pressure elected officials to make changes, but be warned, working in politics these days is pretty awful. Most people will hate you, you won't make much money, have terrible job security, and be miserably overworked. Or you'll sell out to the American Urological Association and spend your time fighting to protect and increase urologists' Medicare reimbursement rates.

So, what do you do? You're only a freshman, so you have plenty of time to figure this out. Volunteer on some campaigns and with advocacy groups. This is a great time to do that, with the presidential elections coming up. (Don't only volunteer with the presidential campaign though, it's kind of it's own world.) Figure out if you like writing and research. Take a couple liberal arts classes to see if you like that kind of work and consider switching your major. Work for a couple years after college in whatever career you chose, then consider going to law school. Good luck!

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MilkDrinker
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Re: How important is work experience?

Postby MilkDrinker » Sun Aug 05, 2012 9:13 pm

Thanks^

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DildaMan
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Re: How important is work experience?

Postby DildaMan » Sun Aug 05, 2012 9:24 pm

MilkDrinker wrote:Do you have to, like business school, have work experience before applying to law school (a top law school)? If so, does field of work matter? And about how many years would be ideal? I am a Freshman computer science major, and if I get a BS in computer science then I would only have the skills to get computer-related job. Is an internship (or a few internships) good enough? Is it even possible to get a job related to law without a JD?


Comp Sci major here. The degree helps if you want to do IP; your careers goals don't seem to align with your choice of major. If you want alternate career options you could work for a management consulting firm after college. They take anyone with an engineering/hard science degree and a decent GPA.

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Honey_Badger
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Re: How important is work experience?

Postby Honey_Badger » Mon Aug 06, 2012 7:07 am

Samara wrote:
MilkDrinker wrote:
Why are you interested in the legal field? What kind of work do you like and want to do? Are you wanting to help individuals? Shape policy?


I'm interested in becoming a lawyer because I like debating, and I really want to do something about the American criminal (in)justice system. Specifically, end life without parole sentences for children, get death penalties down (I'm in Texas), help innocent people, make a lot of money, challenge laws and is there anything else? Uhh, let me see. No for now.

If you want to do all that, why are you in computer science?

A couple things. First, the bolded and the italicized are not things that will be found in the same career path. You can always donate your free time to those causes, but if you want to do that as a career, you are going to be severely underpaid and overworked.

Secondly, making a lot money should not be the basis for making a career choice, especially not in terms of law school. Only at about ten law schools do your odds of making it to biglaw exceed 50%. Even if you make there, odds are you'll take out $100k - $250k in debt to get there and only last 3-5 years before getting the boot or getting burned out.

Third, debating is pretty unrelated to lawyering. Being a lawyer is mostly research and writing. Many (most?) lawyers don't step foot inside a courtroom.

Fourth, you would make a much bigger difference on the bolded issues by getting into politics, which does not require a JD. The problem there is two-fold, fatduck is on the mark. High-level elected officials make the decisions like that, so getting elected Governor is pretty much the only way you could make sweeping changes. Two: You could pressure elected officials to make changes, but be warned, working in politics these days is pretty awful. Most people will hate you, you won't make much money, have terrible job security, and be miserably overworked. Or you'll sell out to the American Urological Association and spend your time fighting to protect and increase urologists' Medicare reimbursement rates.

So, what do you do? You're only a freshman, so you have plenty of time to figure this out. Volunteer on some campaigns and with advocacy groups. This is a great time to do that, with the presidential elections coming up. (Don't only volunteer with the presidential campaign though, it's kind of it's own world.) Figure out if you like writing and research. Take a couple liberal arts classes to see if you like that kind of work and consider switching your major. Work for a couple years after college in whatever career you chose, then consider going to law school. Good luck!


This, +1000.
Work your way up some non-profits, or get into the lobbying scene. Your choices (with some fabulous suggestions above) are limitless.
But making oodles of money AND saving children? Ummm, methinks not.
(That's like saying teachers get into their profession to get rich....)

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cinephile
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Re: How important is work experience?

Postby cinephile » Mon Aug 06, 2012 8:36 am

I would tell everyone in undergrad to go for work experience before grad school (no matter what the discipline). It's important to have the experience of working in a professional environment so you can figure out what you do and don't want in a job. Also, saving money is a plus. So is finding a job you like enough/pays well enough that you don't need grad school.




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