Graduating A Year Early...

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Guard1an
Posts: 7
Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2009 8:10 pm

Graduating A Year Early...

Postby Guard1an » Tue Dec 22, 2009 8:17 pm

Long Story Short... i was a Bio Major for 2 years pursuing a Minor in Political Science before i decided to Switch to Political Science as a Major and finally decided to pursue law.

As it turns out, i can graduate a year early from my undergrad.

I spoke a family friend that is a lawyer in a relatively large national law firm and he suggested i use my time to study for the LSAT and work as a legal assistant in the year that i basically have off. I plan to take the LSAT in October 2010 and Apply for Law School.

I could use some money so i decided to look into it. Would it be a good idea to work as a paralegal/legal assistant with the time that i have off before i start law school?

Should i pursue getting certified as a paralegal if i am not considering pursuing a career as a paralegal but rather as a lawyer?

Thanks in advance for the help. I am sorry if my language is a little vague, i will gladly clarify if needed.

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SteelReserve
Posts: 299
Joined: Mon Feb 16, 2009 9:46 pm

Re: Graduating A Year Early...

Postby SteelReserve » Wed Dec 23, 2009 1:34 pm

The lawyer's advice was spot on. LSAT is the most important thing in determining what school you get into, which determines your first job, etc etc etc.

On top of that, you will get to see what lawyers actually do and you will know if you want to pursue being a lawyer, and you'll have some work experience to put on your resume when you start the job hunt during 2L.

Finally, if you are sure you don't want to be a paralegal and only plan on doing legal assistant work for a year, I don't see the point in getting certified (but I know nothing about the cost of getting certified so take this last bit with a grain of salt).

bahama
Posts: 145
Joined: Thu Jul 30, 2009 11:23 pm

Re: Graduating A Year Early...

Postby bahama » Wed Dec 23, 2009 2:09 pm

You might want to look in to taking the LSAT in June 2010 if you think you can adequately prep by then. If you do well it will allow you to get your applications in earlier in the cycle which can sometime be an advantage if you are borderline. If you don't do as well in June, you will still have time for a retake in October.

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ggocat
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Joined: Sat Dec 13, 2008 1:51 pm

Re: Graduating A Year Early...

Postby ggocat » Wed Dec 23, 2009 3:27 pm

Guard1an wrote:Would it be a good idea to work as a paralegal/legal assistant with the time that i have off before i start law school?

Yes.

Guard1an wrote:Should i pursue getting certified as a paralegal if i am not considering pursuing a career as a paralegal but rather as a lawyer?

No.

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chadwick218
Posts: 1337
Joined: Tue Feb 03, 2009 10:15 pm

Re: Graduating A Year Early...

Postby chadwick218 » Wed Dec 23, 2009 3:32 pm

Graduating a year early itself will not really give you any advantages. Personally, I think that you can find something better to do with your time than work as a paralegal, but that's just me!

Interested Observer
Posts: 48
Joined: Sun Aug 23, 2009 1:53 pm

Re: Graduating A Year Early...

Postby Interested Observer » Thu Dec 24, 2009 2:40 pm

This is pretty much what I did. I graduated a year early, and in that year, I worked as a legal assistant/paralegal. I had already taken the LSAT so I didn't need to worry about that. I recommend working as a legal assistant NOT because of the legal experience you'll get. Sure, depending on the type of law the lawyers you work for are practicing, you can get a good handle on the litigation process. You'll learn things about running an office (depending on how big the firm you're working for is). You may even learn a thing or two on how you to choose clients. In my time, we had two trials and I was in charge of making all the exhibits. We also wrote three or four appellate briefs. I was submerged within the world, and learning on the spot.

But beyond the "legal experience" (b/c it really isn't much), the true benefit is that you get to SEE what lawyers do. You see how many hours they work. You see what litigation is like (I worked for a litigation firm so I can't speak to what transactional attorneys or assistants do). You see the level of work you have to do to prepare for trial (read: i was working 12 hour days, and I was pulling less than the attorneys). You see how hectic things become a few days before a brief is due. You get to see happy clients and some that are not so happy.

Of course any experience that you get must be taken with a grain of salt. You're only working for one firm. So, you'll really only know how one firm operates and how one set of lawyers work. Meaning you can have a horrible experience and it may not be indicative of life as a practicing attorney, or you may have a great experience and that may not be indicative of life as a practicing attorney.

Lastly, you make great connections with lawyers. I still talk to my ex-bosses on a regular basis and they are great for providing mentorship.

While I can certainly see the viewpoint that it's not necessary to try to get a legal job in your time off, if you really want to be a lawyer, it raises the question: why wouldn't you want to? I probably could've got paid more money doing something else (although, not that much more); but, none of that concerned me -- I was just really curious about what it was like to be a lawyer.

I had a positive experience, and so it is something I recommend. I'm sure there are others out there who did the same thing and, after going to law school, feel like they didn't get much out of it.

Guard1an
Posts: 7
Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2009 8:10 pm

Re: Graduating A Year Early...

Postby Guard1an » Fri Apr 16, 2010 10:35 pm

Please forgive me, I realized i never thanked you all for your input... Thank you! I really appreciate it!




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