What to do with a gap year?

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oidsedidy

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Re: What to do with a gap year?

Postby oidsedidy » Mon Jul 11, 2016 11:03 am

cavalier1138 wrote:
oidsedidy wrote:This is of course anecdotal, but the number 1 student at my law school was a paralegal for several months before 1L began. This person crushed every doctrinal class. You might consider a similar path.


That is almost the most ridiculous line of reasoning I've seen on this site (sorry, you got narrowly beaten out by the idiot who was saying that we shouldn't prosecute DUIs).


I'm not sure my anecdote was really intended to show a line of reasoning as much as it was to relate... an anecdote. But for cavalier's sake I'll try again. My intent was not to say- a single classmate of mine was previously a paralegal and has achieved extraordinary success, ergo you should also become a paralegal and will thus achieve the same. The point, rather, was to offer OP a possible way to spend his/her gap year that could yield future success. I suppose I should have said something to the effect of- "you will learn many things in training to become a paralegal that will give you a leg-up on your classmates your 1L year- and you will certainly have an advantage making sense of LRW having a background in paralegal work. In fact, the number 1 student at my school was a paralegal and has achieved extraordinary success- much of which s/he attributes to his/her paralegal experience."

Is that more reasonable?

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brinicolec

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Re: What to do with a gap year?

Postby brinicolec » Mon Jul 11, 2016 1:41 pm

oidsedidy wrote:
cavalier1138 wrote:
oidsedidy wrote:This is of course anecdotal, but the number 1 student at my law school was a paralegal for several months before 1L began. This person crushed every doctrinal class. You might consider a similar path.


That is almost the most ridiculous line of reasoning I've seen on this site (sorry, you got narrowly beaten out by the idiot who was saying that we shouldn't prosecute DUIs).


I'm not sure my anecdote was really intended to show a line of reasoning as much as it was to relate... an anecdote. But for cavalier's sake I'll try again. My intent was not to say- a single classmate of mine was previously a paralegal and has achieved extraordinary success, ergo you should also become a paralegal and will thus achieve the same. The point, rather, was to offer OP a possible way to spend his/her gap year that could yield future success. I suppose I should have said something to the effect of- "you will learn many things in training to become a paralegal that will give you a leg-up on your classmates your 1L year- and you will certainly have an advantage making sense of LRW having a background in paralegal work. In fact, the number 1 student at my school was a paralegal and has achieved extraordinary success- much of which s/he attributes to his/her paralegal experience."

Is that more reasonable?


No worries, I understood what you were saying! Basically, that specific person's paralegal experience gave them exposure to doctrinal stuff which then may have helped them do well in those classes because they were more familiar with the topic.

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oidsedidy

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Re: What to do with a gap year?

Postby oidsedidy » Mon Jul 11, 2016 2:05 pm

brinicolec wrote:
oidsedidy wrote:
cavalier1138 wrote:
oidsedidy wrote:This is of course anecdotal, but the number 1 student at my law school was a paralegal for several months before 1L began. This person crushed every doctrinal class. You might consider a similar path.


That is almost the most ridiculous line of reasoning I've seen on this site (sorry, you got narrowly beaten out by the idiot who was saying that we shouldn't prosecute DUIs).


I'm not sure my anecdote was really intended to show a line of reasoning as much as it was to relate... an anecdote. But for cavalier's sake I'll try again. My intent was not to say- a single classmate of mine was previously a paralegal and has achieved extraordinary success, ergo you should also become a paralegal and will thus achieve the same. The point, rather, was to offer OP a possible way to spend his/her gap year that could yield future success. I suppose I should have said something to the effect of- "you will learn many things in training to become a paralegal that will give you a leg-up on your classmates your 1L year- and you will certainly have an advantage making sense of LRW having a background in paralegal work. In fact, the number 1 student at my school was a paralegal and has achieved extraordinary success- much of which s/he attributes to his/her paralegal experience."

Is that more reasonable?


No worries, I understood what you were saying! Basically, that specific person's paralegal experience gave them exposure to doctrinal stuff which then may have helped them do well in those classes because they were more familiar with the topic.


That is exactly right- I think there is a lot to be said for trying your hand at paralegal work before law school. You will learn the basics of legal research and writing, and you will have great foundational knowledge of how to interpret case-law and some of the basics of Civil Procedure. You will also have a taste of what future work will entail, and can make a more informed decision about whether law school is truly right for you. It's worth considering!

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mukol

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Re: What to do with a gap year?

Postby mukol » Mon Jul 11, 2016 6:51 pm

oidsedidy wrote:
brinicolec wrote:
oidsedidy wrote:
cavalier1138 wrote:
oidsedidy wrote:This is of course anecdotal, but the number 1 student at my law school was a paralegal for several months before 1L began. This person crushed every doctrinal class. You might consider a similar path.


That is almost the most ridiculous line of reasoning I've seen on this site (sorry, you got narrowly beaten out by the idiot who was saying that we shouldn't prosecute DUIs).


I'm not sure my anecdote was really intended to show a line of reasoning as much as it was to relate... an anecdote. But for cavalier's sake I'll try again. My intent was not to say- a single classmate of mine was previously a paralegal and has achieved extraordinary success, ergo you should also become a paralegal and will thus achieve the same. The point, rather, was to offer OP a possible way to spend his/her gap year that could yield future success. I suppose I should have said something to the effect of- "you will learn many things in training to become a paralegal that will give you a leg-up on your classmates your 1L year- and you will certainly have an advantage making sense of LRW having a background in paralegal work. In fact, the number 1 student at my school was a paralegal and has achieved extraordinary success- much of which s/he attributes to his/her paralegal experience."

Is that more reasonable?


No worries, I understood what you were saying! Basically, that specific person's paralegal experience gave them exposure to doctrinal stuff which then may have helped them do well in those classes because they were more familiar with the topic.


That is exactly right- I think there is a lot to be said for trying your hand at paralegal work before law school. You will learn the basics of legal research and writing, and you will have great foundational knowledge of how to interpret case-law and some of the basics of Civil Procedure. You will also have a taste of what future work will entail, and can make a more informed decision about whether law school is truly right for you. It's worth considering!



Or you can take the LSAT on a whim and go to law school for the lawlz?

No but really, find something to do. Anything, it doesn't really matter. Other than you know, it might be nice to be doing something career-y already incase you decide law school isn't for you.

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RamTitan

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Re: What to do with a gap year?

Postby RamTitan » Tue Jul 12, 2016 3:37 pm

I literally just dug up an old thread to post about gap year(s).

I can't say I completely regret my two gap years, but I'm starting to get to that point....wish I had focused on the LSAT full-time after graduating to begin with so I could start school this fall.

I was unemployed right out of college, and spent most of my time trying to get a job while lightly studying the LSAT. 4 months after graduation I started working at a very small Internet marketing company that was stressful as hell (went from a college schedule to working 60-70 hours a week right off the bat, people were constantly worried about losing their jobs, crazy managers and clients, somewhat typical agency lifestyle, etc.). With the June LSAT coming up and not being where I wanted to score, I decided to take a leave of absence so I could focus on the test and my sanity. Unfortunately, neither improved lol. And when I came back from the test, I worked for 1-2 weeks only to have my job eliminated so I'm unemployed again.....

I guess that gives me more time to study for a retake, but I'd like to have some sort of meaningful employment for the next year before school. Thought about teaching abroad or being a full-time LSAT tutor, but we shall see.

Edit - with that said, I don't think I would even have known with certainty that I wanted to go to law school if it hadn't been for the last year, so I guess that alone makes the time off worth it

Nuhopeful2017

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Re: What to do with a gap year?

Postby Nuhopeful2017 » Wed Jul 13, 2016 4:31 am

Teaching English abroad is always a fun choice. I'm in Korea right now and I know a girl from college who went over to France after graduation.

Contracts are generally limited to a year so it works out well timewise and I can't speak to every program but I really enjoy what I do and the hours aren't bad at all. Depending on the program you don't even need a TESL certification or anything like that.

maroon175

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Re: What to do with a gap year?

Postby maroon175 » Wed Jul 13, 2016 5:24 am

On an Entry-Level Job (not a legal assistant)
Don't let your major(s) hold you back. Apply any and everywhere you're interested in (unless the position calls or a specific major obvs) and see what happens. I would totally echo bretby's comment above, but I would also consider the options below too.

On Being a Legal Assistant
I disagree with oidsedidy. Do not become a paralegal, thinking it will help you in law school: 1) if you're only working for 1 year, you're not going to be fully exposed to thaaaaat much since the first 3-6 months will be training (of course this depends on where you work) 2) if you become a corporate paralegal, none of oidsedidy's comments really apply and 3) you'll risk going into law school with a false confidence that you're going to beat everyone else and be the top of your class--and this might actually hinder your performance.

I'm speaking from experience. I was a paralegal for a few years and I just completed 1L. There's hardly any correlation between killing doctrinal classes or doing well in law school and being a legal assistant. The skills that you need to do well in law school (i.e. be able to regurgitate black letter law while analyzing a fact pattern as quickly as possible) are not really related to those skills that you pick up as a paralegal. Sure, being familiar with the UCC in contracts or knowing what a deposition is in civil procedure will be beneficial, but it's not a huge leg-up. Doing well in law school basically boils down to being diligent and being able to write a law exam well. There are a bunch of threads on this site, that tell you how to do that. :)

Being a paralegal gives you a small boost when it comes to applying to law schools, but the real benefit of being a paralegal kicks in when you're applying to jobs for your 1L summer or your 2L summer. Being able to say I want to do x practice area because I worked in it yada yada is great. Forming connections with attorney mentors is also really valuable in terms of getting advice for which practice areas suit you, which firms to consider and obviously getting hired. This is why you should consider applying for a few legal assistant positions. And if there aren't any in your town in Wyoming, don't be afraid to move. Take this opportunity to live and explore a new city. Which brings me to my next point...


On Waitressing/Bartending
If you're going to become a waitress or bartend or teach or anything of that nature, do it abroad. You have so much more to gain by holding a position like this abroad than you would if you just stayed home. There are also a plethora of non-profit legal organizations that are just like or similar to the Innocence Project that you can volunteer with abroad. You'll learn a lot about yourself, you'll meet new people and you'll gain have new experiences. You can also work on picking up (or honing your skills) in a foreign language (this can be helpful for employment too). I can keep going, but I have to get back to work. Feel free to PM me if you have any questions!

WheatThins

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Re: What to do with a gap year?

Postby WheatThins » Wed Jul 13, 2016 8:29 am

My serious recommendation is that you stop asking other people what you should do with your life. You are an adult now, you should do what you want to do.

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brinicolec

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Re: What to do with a gap year?

Postby brinicolec » Wed Jul 13, 2016 12:58 pm

WheatThins wrote:My serious recommendation is that you stop asking other people what you should do with your life. You are an adult now, you should do what you want to do.


I was asking for suggestions based on what others have done because I don't really have a specific thing that I want to do that seems available where I live. Obviously, I know what I want to do with my life: I want to practice law. I was wondering what like-minded people (others who intend to practice law) chose to do or would suggest doing in the meantime since I'm in a bit of a pickle being in an area that doesn't have much of anything it seems.

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emkay625

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Re: What to do with a gap year?

Postby emkay625 » Wed Jul 13, 2016 1:14 pm

Do something you want to do that allows you to pay whatever bills you have and will also be interesting to talk about in interviews. This might be a combination of things. For example, you could wait tables and also do an internship with a legislator, volunteer for one of the campaigns, do a big service project for some non-profit you care about, etc.

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A. Nony Mouse

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Re: What to do with a gap year?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Wed Jul 13, 2016 1:22 pm

Just to address one of the questions you'd raised at one point: law schools don't care if you have any kind of legal experience. I had absolutely none and it didn't hurt me at all. I've also had adcomms tell me it doesn't matter. For you, personally, it can be helpful to get exposure to at least some area of law and how it works in practice, to help you decide what you want to do. But law schools don't care. So don't look for a paralegal/legal assistant position only because you think you need that experience for your application, because you don't.

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brinicolec

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Re: What to do with a gap year?

Postby brinicolec » Wed Jul 13, 2016 1:27 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:Just to address one of the questions you'd raised at one point: law schools don't care if you have any kind of legal experience. I had absolutely none and it didn't hurt me at all. I've also had adcomms tell me it doesn't matter. For you, personally, it can be helpful to get exposure to at least some area of law and how it works in practice, to help you decide what you want to do. But law schools don't care. So don't look for a paralegal/legal assistant position only because you think you need that experience for your application, because you don't.


I was actually asking because I'd heard LSs DON'T like seeing that kind of experience because they want you to be a blank slate and I figured if that was their philosophy, it could be because it's more difficult for someone that's been exposed to the law profession to learn things, and obviously, like everyone else, I want to be as successful as possible in LS! Not particularly looking for the *key* career choice to boost my application (I'm aware it doesn't really exist lol), just don't want to accidentally program my brain in a way that could make it harder for me to learn things later on. Thanks for addressing this question though!

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A. Nony Mouse

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Re: What to do with a gap year?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Wed Jul 13, 2016 1:40 pm

I don't think the blank slate thing is an issue, I would imagine more that some applicants with legal experience write really off-putting PSes about how their experience as a paralegal means they basically totally get law already and know exactly how everything in law school/the legal profession works. But there are tons of former paralegals here who got into top schools, so I don't think it's the legal experience as much as what some applicants assume it means.



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