0L Networking and or Jobs

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FlanAl
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0L Networking and or Jobs

Postby FlanAl » Wed Apr 21, 2010 12:15 pm

I've been told via my parents from a few family friends that what I really need to do in between UG and Law school is network. Unfortunately there was no elaboration. So what exactly should one do in a year between UG and Law school as far as networking and employment is concerned? I don't know that many lawyers and the ones I know I don't know all that well. A few are my parents friends. One is a parent of a friend. And one was a parent of kids in my scout troop.

I'll be moving home in the fall and all of these people practice in my hometown. My plan was to email them to ask about what they do and if they had any advice for me etc. Should I also try to score a job/internship with them? If so what is the most polite way to do this with people I haven't seen for a few years?

Also is it crucial to get some kind of legal internship/employment between UG or law school?

Thanks!

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Kiersten1985
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Re: 0L Networking and or Jobs

Postby Kiersten1985 » Wed Apr 21, 2010 12:17 pm

It's not "crucial" but I feel I've created a decent network in the legal field from being a legal assistant for the past two years. That's something to look into doing.

Also - how do you know you want to be a lawyer if you don't know any? Do you have any experience that has made you want to do go to law school? That's even more of a reason to work in the field for a little while. Don't be another one of the thousands of attorneys who just went to law school because it was "the logical next step" or whatever because, let me tell you, those guys hate their lives.
Last edited by Kiersten1985 on Wed Apr 21, 2010 12:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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FlanAl
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Re: 0L Networking and or Jobs

Postby FlanAl » Wed Apr 21, 2010 12:20 pm

This is probably going to sound stupid but since i really don't know much about this i'll ask. What does a legal assistant do and do you think that if I solicit employment from these contacts that is what I should say I want to do for them paid/unpaid? thanks for the help i'm totally in the dark as far as this stuff is concerned

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Kiersten1985
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Re: 0L Networking and or Jobs

Postby Kiersten1985 » Wed Apr 21, 2010 12:26 pm

It depends on what kind of firm you're at. I'm in BigLaw, corporate litigation in my case. You generally assist with quasi-administrative things, like court filings, keeping track of court papers and correspondence among counsel, preparing exhibits for briefs, bates stamping productions, etc.

Do you need to work in your hometown? If they're small one or two-person practices, chances are they won't need you. I take a very go big or go home approach, so I wanted BigLaw to see what the most "extreme" law is like (by "extreme" I mean huge clients, lots of money, 80 hour weeks, etc.). In that case, you apply to firms and can make really good money with overtime.

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Bert
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Re: 0L Networking and or Jobs

Postby Bert » Wed Apr 21, 2010 12:42 pm

Kiersten1985 wrote:It depends on what kind of firm you're at. I'm in BigLaw, corporate litigation in my case. You generally assist with quasi-administrative things, like court filings, keeping track of court papers and correspondence among counsel, preparing exhibits for briefs, bates stamping productions, etc.

Do you need to work in your hometown? If they're small one or two-person practices, chances are they won't need you. I take a very go big or go home approach, so I wanted BigLaw to see what the most "extreme" law is like (by "extreme" I mean huge clients, lots of money, 80 hour weeks, etc.). In that case, you apply to firms and can make really good money with overtime.


To give you another biglaw paralegal's perspective, I work in corporate finance (more transactional work). While I also do a lot of quasi-administrative things, like maintaining files, document distributions, etc., I also participate on conference calls, help review/comment on documents (under attorney supervision), conduct research, and plan/coordinate closings. A lot of it boils down to what you make of it. There are definitely those who come to biglaw firms looking merely for a job to put on their resume, and there are others like Kiersten and I who actually got involved in the work, learn a lot, and made money.

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FlanAl
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Re: 0L Networking and or Jobs

Postby FlanAl » Wed Apr 21, 2010 6:08 pm

THanks for your replies!

I am wondering what your qualifications where before you got your positions (did you intern over summers in undergrad?) And also what kind of hours do you work as legal assistants. I'd really like to learn what the legal profession is about before committing o 3 years of law school but i'd also rather not work 80hr weeks at $10 an hour during what is supposed to be a year off, haha.

Also one of the guys is a partner at the Latham and Watkins (biglaw?) branch in my hometown. I haven't spoken with him in a few years so i'm not sure how to approach him to try and get a job without coming off as moochy or whatever.

The other option is a friend's dad who owns his own firm of about 10 lawyers and they do antitrust work. Since its so small i'm not sure he'd have a position for me but I'd like to try because a lot of what he does seems really interesting and he's a really nice guy.

Did you guys hit up connections before you sent in applications or did you just go for it?

Thanks again you've been a huge help!

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eye
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Re: 0L Networking and or Jobs

Postby eye » Wed Apr 21, 2010 7:52 pm

I'm taking a year off in between UG and Law school mostly to network. My approach will probably be a little different than the above posters. I have a great part-time job that's conducive to developing my social skills and does not require much work. When I'm not working, I plan on volunteering for various organizations that include different areas of law. I'm also getting involved with the local ABA association and the social events they host every few weeks.

You should try contacting the attorney's through email asking for advice. Usually I got positive responses, phone calls, lunch etc. I wouldn't suggest directly asking for a job from the attorney, but hint that you are looking for a way to broaden you're experience.

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FlanAl
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Re: 0L Networking and or Jobs

Postby FlanAl » Thu Apr 22, 2010 11:33 am

Eye

I was definitely planning on doing things more along your lines but lately I'm getting all kinds of pressure from family/friends to get some kind of legal employment. I guess probably the best thing to do would be to ask my network what they think i should do in the year off and see what they say/maybe offer? Want to thank all the above posters since almost all previous threads just say to relax and go to the beach (which would be fantastic but I'm not sure a 1 year hole in my resume is a good idea)

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FlanAl
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Re: 0L Networking and or Jobs

Postby FlanAl » Thu Apr 22, 2010 11:37 am

Also eye how do you get involved with the local bar association if you aren't a law student yet? thanks again for the help

Posner
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Re: 0L Networking and or Jobs

Postby Posner » Thu Apr 22, 2010 1:36 pm

A crash course in networking:

Contact the people you know and tell them you will be attending law school in the fall. Ask them if you could buy them lunch/coffee, or simply ask through email if its better for them, and chat about law school in general and their legal careers. Ask them about their experiences (including but not limited to things they wish they knew before law school and before they started their legal careers). Do not ask about an internship. You are laying the base for your relationship with these people. Enjoy yourself. Send a thank you note (email or written...I prefer email) afterward.

Keep in touch with them (maybe shoot them an email telling them how the first month of school is going). When it comes to applying for internships maybe shoot them an email asking for advice. Personally, I'd try to expand my network 1L summer, so I would not ask them for an internship. I would apply to other places (maybe not if one of these lawyers does exactly what you want to do) and see what comes up. Ask them for advice on what jobs are good experience for your areas of interest. If you come up with nothing 1L summer, maybe you ask them if they need any help for the summer.

Networking isn't about using people. It's about making personal connections and staying in touch. You get to know them, they get to know you. If something opens up and they know you, you have a leg up. If nothing else, it's important to have mentors along the way to help guide you.

ughOSU
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Re: 0L Networking and or Jobs

Postby ughOSU » Fri Apr 23, 2010 10:35 am

FlanAl wrote:The other option is a friend's dad who owns his own firm of about 10 lawyers and they do antitrust work. Since its so small i'm not sure he'd have a position for me but I'd like to try because a lot of what he does seems really interesting and he's a really nice guy.

This is probably your best bet in terms of finding employment. For legal assistant qualifications, most biglaw firms require a BA and reasonable GPA. biglaw firms in major markets usually have 1-2 year paralegal programs where they expect turnover to be high. in smaller markets, they usually don't and are looking for someone more career-minded, so keep that in mind and don't tell biglaw firms in small markets that you only plan to be there for a year or two. That will put them off.

For smallLaw, it varies firm-to-firm. Some tolerate a high turnover, but some don't. As Kiersten and Bert noted, the experience you get can vary greatly. I know legal assistants/paralegals who are mainly admin assistants and spend all day copying stuff and answering phones, and I know some who are basically doing first/second year associate work under attorney supervision (minus signing stuff and giving legal advice, of course).

Posner is right on with his crash course in networking, although if it's your friend's dad I wouldn't see the harm in picking his brain for a while, letting him know you're interested in legal assistant positions and/or asking if his firm has any openings.

Also, if you can't find a legal job, bartending at a high end place with is not a bad way to network. I have a few contacts at a couple biglaw firms from my days bartending, some of whom are senior partners.




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