interning for a non-profit for 1L summer

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bulldog4574
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interning for a non-profit for 1L summer

Postby bulldog4574 » Thu Jan 07, 2010 10:15 pm

i'm thinking of taking a position as an intern at a child advocacy organization over 1L summer. I'm primarily interested in public interest but don't want to limit myself entirely to it. Would this really hurt my chances for landing a private sector job during my 2L summer?

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RVP11
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Re: interning for a non-profit for 1L summer

Postby RVP11 » Thu Jan 07, 2010 10:32 pm

Will you be doing legal work? If so, I can't imagine there'd be any significant negative impact.

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A'nold
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Re: interning for a non-profit for 1L summer

Postby A'nold » Fri Jan 08, 2010 3:27 am

I'm going to a public interest job fair and have and will applied to probably over 10 PI firms for an internship. Most are unpaid but look REALLY cool. It'd be nice to do something worthwhile over the summer. Admittedly I am a little worried that it will pigeonhole me into this kind of career, but that might not be a bad thing if I really love the work. Good luck to you OP. :)

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Tehpokerstar
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Re: interning for a non-profit for 1L summer

Postby Tehpokerstar » Fri Jan 08, 2010 3:30 am

Anold where are you applying to?

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bulldog4574
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Re: interning for a non-profit for 1L summer

Postby bulldog4574 » Fri Jan 08, 2010 10:51 am

so is it safe to say if im interested equally in private sector and public interest, but my public interest area of interest is child advocacy and i have an offer from a child advocacy organization, it wouldn't kill my private sector potential by taking it and it might be a good idea to see if child advocacy is really for me?

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thesealocust
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Re: interning for a non-profit for 1L summer

Postby thesealocust » Fri Jan 08, 2010 12:21 pm

n/m
Last edited by thesealocust on Sat Dec 25, 2010 12:40 am, edited 1 time in total.

LurkerNoMore
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Re: interning for a non-profit for 1L summer

Postby LurkerNoMore » Fri Jan 08, 2010 12:47 pm

thesealocust wrote:
bulldog4574 wrote:so is it safe to say if im interested equally in private sector and public interest, but my public interest area of interest is child advocacy and i have an offer from a child advocacy organization, it wouldn't kill my private sector potential by taking it and it might be a good idea to see if child advocacy is really for me?


No. As long as you read/research/write law-stuff your 1L summer, employers couldn't give two shits what you do.


Not entirely true. With the decrease in hiring, firms recognize that they need to try to evaluate the long term prospects of candidates more than they have in the past. Firms got caught about 10 years ago with not enough mid to senior associates to handle the work flow that they had. They seem to be guarding against that outcome down the line by screening candidates for "fit" more than they have in the past.

There is a concern that if your resume looks to non-profit centric that firms will assume that you are either in 2L recruiting for a summer of good pay, or will only stick around for a year or two and then jump back to the non-profit world.

This doesn't mean that you shouldn't take a non-profit job. It does mean that you will want to be very careful how you spin your resume and interviews in the fall. Waxing poetically about all the wonderful things you did to save the world over the summer may be problematic. Discussing the advantages of working for an understaffed non-profit, such as exposure to substantive work and developing working relationships with more senior attorneys, and then mentioning how you think that experience will help you as you work your way up through a big law firm would be a more successful strategy. It's all about tailoring the message to the audience.

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vamedic03
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Re: interning for a non-profit for 1L summer

Postby vamedic03 » Fri Jan 08, 2010 6:45 pm

...
Last edited by vamedic03 on Sat Mar 24, 2012 1:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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bulldog4574
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Re: interning for a non-profit for 1L summer

Postby bulldog4574 » Fri Jan 08, 2010 7:28 pm

thanks everybody! i think im gonna nab that non-profit offer while its open

LurkerNoMore
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Re: interning for a non-profit for 1L summer

Postby LurkerNoMore » Fri Jan 08, 2010 8:33 pm

vamedic03 wrote:I mean, come on . . . there are virtually NO 1L SA positions so virtually EVERYONE will be doing either PI, RA, or judicial internship this summer . . . so all that matters is that you get a good substantive legal experience!


See, this is actually kind of what I'm talking about. The maxim that "it doesn't matter what you do 1L" is only partially true. It doesn't matter in the sense that if you have substantive experience, then you should be able to talk about in a way that can be sold to a law firm. However, the whole "how you sell it" piece seems to get lost. It does matter how you talk about your experiences. You can't just say "I had a legal job" and all legal jobs will be looked at the same. Recognizing the strengths and weaknesses of your experiences lets you neutralize them in the interview process.

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bulldog4574
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Re: interning for a non-profit for 1L summer

Postby bulldog4574 » Fri Jan 08, 2010 9:54 pm

LurkerNoMore wrote:
vamedic03 wrote:I mean, come on . . . there are virtually NO 1L SA positions so virtually EVERYONE will be doing either PI, RA, or judicial internship this summer . . . so all that matters is that you get a good substantive legal experience!


See, this is actually kind of what I'm talking about. The maxim that "it doesn't matter what you do 1L" is only partially true. It doesn't matter in the sense that if you have substantive experience, then you should be able to talk about in a way that can be sold to a law firm. However, the whole "how you sell it" piece seems to get lost. It does matter how you talk about your experiences. You can't just say "I had a legal job" and all legal jobs will be looked at the same. Recognizing the strengths and weaknesses of your experiences lets you neutralize them in the interview process.


I mean, of course, if you want to work for a firm, working for that firm during your 1L summer is superior to many other choices. So in that sense, it definitely does matter. I think the bottomline is that not much will hurt you as long as you do something legal, though some jobs may help you towards your goals than others

LurkerNoMore
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Re: interning for a non-profit for 1L summer

Postby LurkerNoMore » Sat Jan 09, 2010 2:14 pm

bulldog4574 wrote:
I mean, of course, if you want to work for a firm, working for that firm during your 1L summer is superior to many other choices. So in that sense, it definitely does matter. I think the bottomline is that not much will hurt you as long as you do something legal, though some jobs may help you towards your goals than others


It's not going to hurt you as long as you can talk about in a way that demonstrates value to the firm and shows that you really do want to work for a firm. It's the sales angle that I see getting lost (and costing people jobs). That's all I'm trying to get at. The advice around here seems to be focused on just getting any legal experience, which used to be enough. Now how you sell that experience is important too. Some jobs do a better job at selling themselves. Some you just want to make sure to think about how you talk about the experience.

I am in no way arguing that someone should be hesitant to take a non-profit job during their 1L summer, just saying that one should be mindful of how to translate talking about the skills when it comes time to interview for firms.

Sorry, didn't mean to come off as negative on the opportunity.

Renzo
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Re: interning for a non-profit for 1L summer

Postby Renzo » Sat Jan 09, 2010 2:17 pm

LurkerNoMore wrote:
bulldog4574 wrote:
I mean, of course, if you want to work for a firm, working for that firm during your 1L summer is superior to many other choices. So in that sense, it definitely does matter. I think the bottomline is that not much will hurt you as long as you do something legal, though some jobs may help you towards your goals than others


It's not going to hurt you as long as you can talk about in a way that demonstrates value to the firm and shows that you really do want to work for a firm. It's the sales angle that I see getting lost (and costing people jobs). That's all I'm trying to get at. The advice around here seems to be focused on just getting any legal experience, which used to be enough. Now how you sell that experience is important too. Some jobs do a better job at selling themselves. Some you just want to make sure to think about how you talk about the experience.

I am in no way arguing that someone should be hesitant to take a non-profit job during their 1L summer, just saying that one should be mindful of how to translate talking about the skills when it comes time to interview for firms.

Sorry, didn't mean to come off as negative on the opportunity.

This will be great advice when someone asks "will my ability to sell myself in an interview help me?" Until then, it's not really germane.

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tome
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Re: interning for a non-profit for 1L summer

Postby tome » Sat Jan 09, 2010 3:04 pm

Renzo wrote:
LurkerNoMore wrote:
bulldog4574 wrote:
I mean, of course, if you want to work for a firm, working for that firm during your 1L summer is superior to many other choices. So in that sense, it definitely does matter. I think the bottomline is that not much will hurt you as long as you do something legal, though some jobs may help you towards your goals than others


It's not going to hurt you as long as you can talk about in a way that demonstrates value to the firm and shows that you really do want to work for a firm. It's the sales angle that I see getting lost (and costing people jobs). That's all I'm trying to get at. The advice around here seems to be focused on just getting any legal experience, which used to be enough. Now how you sell that experience is important too. Some jobs do a better job at selling themselves. Some you just want to make sure to think about how you talk about the experience.

I am in no way arguing that someone should be hesitant to take a non-profit job during their 1L summer, just saying that one should be mindful of how to translate talking about the skills when it comes time to interview for firms.

Sorry, didn't mean to come off as negative on the opportunity.

This will be great advice when someone asks "will my ability to sell myself in an interview help me?" Until then, it's not really germane.


I think this is in fact bang on topic. This basically is the reason that it does not matter what broad area of law you work in. What is more, I think it is really important to think about your job in terms of OCI marketing right now going in, so you make sure you are able to get the right sort of experience. Indeed, one could not give a decent answer to the question without this information.

legends159
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Re: interning for a non-profit for 1L summer

Postby legends159 » Sat Jan 09, 2010 3:33 pm

OCI interviewers should give hypotheticals when interviewing in order to get a better sense of who will likely stay in the long term and who won't.

Questions like where do you see yourself in 5 years can so easily be BS'ed. As can questions such as "so it looks like you did a lot of work in [public interest field] why do you want to work in a law firm?"

Better questions would probably be, (imagine you did child advocacy work): A client of ours is trying to acquire this organization which is the landlord of this child advocacy clinic that is necessary for this community to help battered children. Our client plans to use the land the clinic is sitting on top of as part of his new strip mall. You have been assigned as a junior associate to write a legal memo advising the client on this matter. How would you proceed.

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vamedic03
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Re: interning for a non-profit for 1L summer

Postby vamedic03 » Sat Jan 09, 2010 3:48 pm

legends159 wrote:OCI interviewers should give hypotheticals when interviewing in order to get a better sense of who will likely stay in the long term and who won't.

Questions like where do you see yourself in 5 years can so easily be BS'ed. As can questions such as "so it looks like you did a lot of work in [public interest field] why do you want to work in a law firm?"

Better questions would probably be, (imagine you did child advocacy work): A client of ours is trying to acquire this organization which is the landlord of this child advocacy clinic that is necessary for this community to help battered children. Our client plans to use the land the clinic is sitting on top of as part of his new strip mall. You have been assigned as a junior associate to write a legal memo advising the client on this matter. How would you proceed.


Of course, how many of these firms really want their associates to stay more than 5 years . . . the big law model is based on significant attrition . . .

but, the biggest problem with the entire discussion is this:

There are virtually NO 1L SA positions . . . 1L SA positions are not known for getting substantive experience . . . NO FIRM expects 1L SA experience . . . Good substantive legal work in a PI gives you two things: 1) experience and 2) something to talk about . . . but this attitude expressed that PI work your 1L year is in anyway bad is just dumb

A side thing - 1L PI experience can work to your benefit - if you choose to go the big law route when you decide to bail, you can demonstrate that you really do have an interest in PI or public service - much easier to do than when all you have is firm experience

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thesealocust
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Re: interning for a non-profit for 1L summer

Postby thesealocust » Sat Jan 09, 2010 4:06 pm

n/m
Last edited by thesealocust on Sat Dec 25, 2010 12:17 am, edited 1 time in total.

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tome
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Re: interning for a non-profit for 1L summer

Postby tome » Sat Jan 09, 2010 6:55 pm

vamedic03 wrote:
Of course, how many of these firms really want their associates to stay more than 5 years . . . the big law model is based on significant attrition . . .


But they want to decide who stays and for how long.

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vamedic03
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Re: interning for a non-profit for 1L summer

Postby vamedic03 » Sat Jan 09, 2010 7:35 pm

tome wrote:
vamedic03 wrote:
Of course, how many of these firms really want their associates to stay more than 5 years . . . the big law model is based on significant attrition . . .


But they want to decide who stays and for how long.


But, a good portion of the layoffs were due to decreased attrition rates . . .




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