Options for work experience during a year gap

(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )
izzy895
Posts: 45
Joined: Tue Sep 17, 2013 4:59 pm

Options for work experience during a year gap

Postby izzy895 » Sun Jan 12, 2014 3:50 pm

Hey all just looking for some opinions on what would be some useful work experience before I apply for law school next cycle. I've helped with home construction and worked in a law firm since I've been out of UG (2012), but there are few legal opportunities in my area currently and positions in NYC I am probably not qualified enough. I'm definitely aiming for a legal assistant job, but I was wondering what might be the next best thing to look into. I don't want to look into retail or that sort of job, so would working in a trade be looked upon favorably?

Just curious to hear some thoughts or experiences. Thanks.

User avatar
TheSpanishMain
Posts: 4147
Joined: Tue Apr 02, 2013 2:26 pm

Re: Options for work experience during a year gap

Postby TheSpanishMain » Sun Jan 12, 2014 4:13 pm

Are you asking what kinds of jobs would be most helpful in law school admissions? The kind of work experience that provide an admissions boost generally takes more than a year, and even then it's not much of a boost. If you just want to bank some money for school, absolutely, pursue a trade if you can.

izzy895
Posts: 45
Joined: Tue Sep 17, 2013 4:59 pm

Re: Options for work experience during a year gap

Postby izzy895 » Sun Jan 12, 2014 4:29 pm

Yea I am basically asking what type of employment might be helpful, but I understand that it doesn't make a huge difference and especially the small time frame. Say I started in a law firm tomorrow as a legal assistant, 9 months of that wouldn't really be much of a boost, correct?

The point is to bank money haha, as in total it'l be close to two years until actually going to school. I was just looking for some advice on something that might be useful for admissions even if not much. I know it's pretty tough for most trades, as you're generally not planning to work for 2 years then get out. I just wouldn't want to spend my time as a cashier or in retail.

User avatar
1Lin2015
Posts: 48
Joined: Mon Sep 16, 2013 8:23 am

Re: Options for work experience during a year gap

Postby 1Lin2015 » Sun Jan 12, 2014 4:44 pm

I'm planning to take a gap year as well. From what a gather, it has to be work experience on the more unique end of things to help with admissions. Being a legal assistant is pretty common. However, being a legal assistant and doing some volunteer work could be interesting. Short-term programs that do give a slight boost in law school admissions are TFA (2 years), Americorps (1-2 years), Peacecorps (not sure about the time commitment for this). I wouldnt recommend doing any of these just for the boost of course, especially not if your main intention is to bank money.

The best option is likely for you is likely to find a decent-paying job, and do something you find meaningful on the side (10-20 hours a week).

izzy895
Posts: 45
Joined: Tue Sep 17, 2013 4:59 pm

Re: Options for work experience during a year gap

Postby izzy895 » Sun Jan 12, 2014 4:51 pm

Ah I see, so maybe I shouldn't worry so much about trying to get a job in a law firm if that is pretty common. By meaningful on the side do you mean volunteer work? I'm actually studying for a retake (Feb or June haven't decided, possibly take 3 in October) so I know I won't have much free time if I'm working full time.

I think that something full time with decent pay would be the right thing for me. With that, would you consider a trade as something less ordinary? I did a lot of roofing/siding for a company for about 7 months I could look into that when the weather is better. I don't recall seeing too many threads about people working in physical labor fields (haven't looked much tbh though), might that help at all in a work diversity type experience?

User avatar
TheSpanishMain
Posts: 4147
Joined: Tue Apr 02, 2013 2:26 pm

Re: Options for work experience during a year gap

Postby TheSpanishMain » Sun Jan 12, 2014 4:58 pm

izzy895 wrote:Ah I see, so maybe I shouldn't worry so much about trying to get a job in a law firm if that is pretty common. By meaningful on the side do you mean volunteer work? I'm actually studying for a retake (Feb or June haven't decided, possibly take 3 in October) so I know I won't have much free time if I'm working full time.

I think that something full time with decent pay would be the right thing for me. With that, would you consider a trade as something less ordinary? I did a lot of roofing/siding for a company for about 7 months I could look into that when the weather is better. I don't recall seeing too many threads about people working in physical labor fields (haven't looked much tbh though), might that help at all in a work diversity type experience?


It's hard to say. The "life experience" stuff really depends on how you present it. It's not like admissions people just go down a list and go, "Ah, he did some roofing. Add three points." If you can weave your work experience into a compelling, interesting personal statement, then maybe. I would just go with whatever is going to pay you the most and not worry about how it's going to look to an admissions person, because it's likely not going to matter.

izzy895
Posts: 45
Joined: Tue Sep 17, 2013 4:59 pm

Re: Options for work experience during a year gap

Postby izzy895 » Sun Jan 12, 2014 5:04 pm

TheSpanishMain wrote:
izzy895 wrote:Ah I see, so maybe I shouldn't worry so much about trying to get a job in a law firm if that is pretty common. By meaningful on the side do you mean volunteer work? I'm actually studying for a retake (Feb or June haven't decided, possibly take 3 in October) so I know I won't have much free time if I'm working full time.

I think that something full time with decent pay would be the right thing for me. With that, would you consider a trade as something less ordinary? I did a lot of roofing/siding for a company for about 7 months I could look into that when the weather is better. I don't recall seeing too many threads about people working in physical labor fields (haven't looked much tbh though), might that help at all in a work diversity type experience?


It's hard to say. The "life experience" stuff really depends on how you present it. It's not like admissions people just go down a list and go, "Ah, he did some roofing. Add three points." If you can weave your work experience into a compelling, interesting personal statement, then maybe. I would just go with whatever is going to pay you the most and not worry about how it's going to look to an admissions person, because it's likely not going to matter.


That makes a lot of sense. I've been considering how to present some of those things but that's for another time haha. Appreciate the feedback, I'm going to most definitely just try to make some money.

User avatar
lawschool22
Posts: 3875
Joined: Thu Jul 25, 2013 5:47 pm

Re: Options for work experience during a year gap

Postby lawschool22 » Sun Jan 12, 2014 8:14 pm

As others have noted, the majority of jobs you're probably considering will not be vastly different. Most of the "advantage" you will see would likely come from the fact you aren't a K-JD and have at least some sort of post-college experience.

Therefore, you would probably be more wise to look at doing something that will help you once OCI rolls around. Any sort of professional/office-type job that shows the firm they won't be hiring you to your first "professional" type of job would be beneficial.

User avatar
malleus discentium
Posts: 878
Joined: Sun May 26, 2013 2:30 am

Re: Options for work experience during a year gap

Postby malleus discentium » Tue Jan 14, 2014 3:45 am

lawschool22 wrote:As others have noted, the majority of jobs you're probably considering will not be vastly different. Most of the "advantage" you will see would likely come from the fact you aren't a K-JD and have at least some sort of post-college experience.

Therefore, you would probably be more wise to look at doing something that will help you once OCI rolls around. Any sort of professional/office-type job that shows the firm they won't be hiring you to your first "professional" type of job would be beneficial.

This is credited. The kind of gap-year WE that is going to give you a boost in admissions is not the kind of employment you can just up and get. The benefits of a gap year, employed or otherwise, are personal growth and improved outcomes at OCI. Get a job in an office, save some money and enjoy not being in school.

User avatar
sd5289
Posts: 1624
Joined: Thu Jun 09, 2011 2:02 pm

Re: Options for work experience during a year gap

Postby sd5289 » Tue Jan 14, 2014 11:22 am

1Lin2015 wrote:Short-term programs that do give a slight boost in law school admissions are TFA (2 years), Americorps (1-2 years), Peacecorps (not sure about the time commitment for this). I wouldnt recommend doing any of these just for the boost of course, especially not if your main intention is to bank money.


Former AmeriCorps member here.

AmeriCorps can be one or two years, and typically the second year you'll be placed in some kind of "leadership" position. All of the above options (TFA, AmeriCorps, Peace Corps) are a good way to spend your gap year(s) between UG and law school. I'm commenting on the above for two reasons:

a) No, you do not "bank money" for any of these positions. However, you will receive a sizable (but unfortunately taxable) education award after you successfully complete your AmeriCorps term. If you do two terms, you get two awards. I'm not sure about TFA and Peace Corps, so maybe a TLSer who did these can chime in on this front.

b) You don't elect to do a national service program in order to "bank money". You do it because you want to, are genuinely interested in the project you're applying for, and for the experience. Yes, I had no expendable income when I served in AmeriCorps, but I ended up generating a *ton* of unique work experiences that still come up in job interviews from time to time (and my service year was 2006-2007). Especially at the outset right after I finished my service term, I had very unique work experiences that landed me a professional legal services job compared to similarly situated applicants who did not have national service experience.




Return to “Law School Admissions Forum”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Baidu [Spider] and 5 guests