does pre-law school work experiences have an impact on OCI?

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rynabrius
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Re: does pre-law school work experiences have an impact on OCI?

Postby rynabrius » Tue Aug 31, 2010 1:35 pm

I would like to put in a plug for "Guerrilla Tactics" here. Prior to reading it, I did not realize how many transferable skills my rather unique w/e imparted upon me. Without scrutinizing my resume and connecting it to legal related skills, I would have very little to talk about in interviews. I mean, interviewers don't want to talk about the elements of adverse possession, or the pre-existing duty rule and its irrelevance under the UCC. . .

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Re: does pre-law school work experiences have an impact on OCI?

Postby Adjudicator » Tue Aug 31, 2010 1:37 pm

Do you think law firms would be impressed by the fact that I've been a US mail carrier?

rynabrius
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Re: does pre-law school work experiences have an impact on OCI?

Postby rynabrius » Tue Aug 31, 2010 1:42 pm

Adjudicator wrote:Do you think law firms would be impressed by the fact that I've been a US mail carrier?


If you just blandly state you were a US mail carrier, it won't be so impressive. But I bet you have a lot of anecdotes from that job, and some of them display good qualities. What Guerrilla Tactics suggests is that, first, you start with one of those anecdotes. Then, you connect the anecdote to one of the qualities/skills law firms want, e.g. geographic commitment, loyalty to the company, unwavering commitment whether rain or shine, etc. Then, assert the quality and support it with the anecdote. Alternatively, tell the anecdote and let them draw the conclusion themselves. (I find this even more effective.)

Hope this helps someone. . .
Last edited by rynabrius on Tue Aug 31, 2010 1:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: does pre-law school work experiences have an impact on OCI?

Postby Adjudicator » Tue Aug 31, 2010 1:42 pm

rynabrius wrote:
Adjudicator wrote:Do you think law firms would be impressed by the fact that I've been a US mail carrier?


If you just blandly state you were a US mail carrier, it won't be so impressive. But I bet you have a lot of anecdotes from that job, and some of them display good qualities. What Guerrilla Tactics suggests is that, first, you start with one of those anecdotes. Then, you connect the anecdote to one of the qualities/skills law firms want, e.g. geographic commitment, loyalty to the company, unwavering commitment (rain or shine)! Then, claim the quality and support it with the anecdote. Alternatively, tell the anecdote and let them draw the conclusion themselves. (I find this even more effective.)


Ha, how about the time I worked from 7:30am to 8:45pm on December 24th? :D

I had to save Christmas!

rynabrius
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Re: does pre-law school work experiences have an impact on OCI?

Postby rynabrius » Tue Aug 31, 2010 1:45 pm

Adjudicator wrote:
rynabrius wrote:
Adjudicator wrote:Do you think law firms would be impressed by the fact that I've been a US mail carrier?


If you just blandly state you were a US mail carrier, it won't be so impressive. But I bet you have a lot of anecdotes from that job, and some of them display good qualities. What Guerrilla Tactics suggests is that, first, you start with one of those anecdotes. Then, you connect the anecdote to one of the qualities/skills law firms want, e.g. geographic commitment, loyalty to the company, unwavering commitment (rain or shine)! Then, claim the quality and support it with the anecdote. Alternatively, tell the anecdote and let them draw the conclusion themselves. (I find this even more effective.)


Ha, how about the time I worked from 7:30am to 8:45pm on December 24th? :D


That's perfect imo.

Them: "So, you worked as a US mail carrier... tell me about that?"
"Well, it was interesting work, and good exercise, and I think it might have built the commitment that's needed to succeed in any line of work. For instance, when they needed someone to work on December 24th, I was the one who..."

I hate selling myself so I find this kind of stuff slightly distasteful, but a) it will help them remember you, and b) it will give them something to say to the hiring committee. You want them to think, "Hey, let's get that guy who's willing to work on Christmas eve in order to save Whoville!"

[EDITED in conformity with Dr. Seuss joke.]

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Re: does pre-law school work experiences have an impact on OCI?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 31, 2010 1:48 pm

Anonymous User wrote:What is the value of part-time WE, especially not law related ? I worked for two years out of undergrad waiting tables while holding some interesting temp and intern positions, none of which were in law. I have a relatively interesting resume. I had just assumed I would have to start over with a blank one for LS and beyond.


My non-law/non-professional work experience was on my resume because it was interesting. The experience started a lot of conversations.

I think PT WE should get pushed down, or completely off, the resume as you build other experiences through law school. I would pick the most interesting/relevant experience and, as long as it was a recent job, keep it on the resume.

Never undervalue a good work experience, even if it is PT. Remember that a lot of other candidates do not have amazing careers from their pre-law school days. I think there is a sense of intimidation for some law students in placing non-professional WE on a resume, but there really shouldn't be.

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Re: does pre-law school work experiences have an impact on OCI?

Postby Adjudicator » Tue Aug 31, 2010 2:13 pm

Thanks. Good advice.

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Re: does pre-law school work experiences have an impact on OCI?

Postby colforbin » Tue Aug 31, 2010 2:28 pm

Any thoughts/experience on how paralegal work stacks up?

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Re: does pre-law school work experiences have an impact on OCI?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 31, 2010 2:39 pm

colforbin wrote:Any thoughts/experience on how paralegal work stacks up?


a dime a dozen

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Re: does pre-law school work experiences have an impact on OCI?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 31, 2010 3:31 pm

I didn't have work experience, had average grades for the firms with which I was interviewing (good grades, but nothing to get Cravath excited) and I got callbacks pretry much everywhere. I think work experience is good insofar as it gives you something to talk knowledgably about, but as long as you have things on your resume that lead to conversations in which you explain enthusiastically to the interviewer all you learned about something I think the importance of work experience is minimal.

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Re: does pre-law school work experiences have an impact on OCI?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 31, 2010 9:11 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:What is the value of part-time WE, especially not law related ? I worked for two years out of undergrad waiting tables while holding some interesting temp and intern positions, none of which were in law. I have a relatively interesting resume. I had just assumed I would have to start over with a blank one for LS and beyond.


My non-law/non-professional work experience was on my resume because it was interesting. The experience started a lot of conversations.

I think PT WE should get pushed down, or completely off, the resume as you build other experiences through law school. I would pick the most interesting/relevant experience and, as long as it was a recent job, keep it on the resume.

Never undervalue a good work experience, even if it is PT. Remember that a lot of other candidates do not have amazing careers from their pre-law school days. I think there is a sense of intimidation for some law students in placing non-professional WE on a resume, but there really shouldn't be.


I think this is half good advice and half very bad. Employers this year specifically have placed a huge value on my FULL-TIME work experience. It's awesome experience, but they've also emphasized the very fact that it was full time. They want people who are mature and can handle responsibility. I'm 16 for 18 (a couple still out there), including 4 V10s with median grades at HYS. I only applied NYC, but I still feel like I have way outperformed relative to my peers, and I think it's the full-time work experience that matters. (And, this may ruffle some feathers, but I think it should!)

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Re: does pre-law school work experiences have an impact on OCI?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 31, 2010 9:49 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:What is the value of part-time WE, especially not law related ? I worked for two years out of undergrad waiting tables while holding some interesting temp and intern positions, none of which were in law. I have a relatively interesting resume. I had just assumed I would have to start over with a blank one for LS and beyond.


My non-law/non-professional work experience was on my resume because it was interesting. The experience started a lot of conversations.

I think PT WE should get pushed down, or completely off, the resume as you build other experiences through law school. I would pick the most interesting/relevant experience and, as long as it was a recent job, keep it on the resume.

Never undervalue a good work experience, even if it is PT. Remember that a lot of other candidates do not have amazing careers from their pre-law school days. I think there is a sense of intimidation for some law students in placing non-professional WE on a resume, but there really shouldn't be.


I think this is half good advice and half very bad. Employers this year specifically have placed a huge value on my FULL-TIME work experience. It's awesome experience, but they've also emphasized the very fact that it was full time. They want people who are mature and can handle responsibility. I'm 16 for 18 (a couple still out there), including 4 V10s with median grades at HYS. I only applied NYC, but I still feel like I have way outperformed relative to my peers, and I think it's the full-time work experience that matters. (And, this may ruffle some feathers, but I think it should!)


Agree with this. A lot of the questions employers have center around WE, which makes it rough for straight out of ugrads like me who only have PT WE.

Obviously grades are the most important element, but I think good full-time WE has greater value than extracurriculars, including journals, during LS.

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Re: does pre-law school work experiences have an impact on OCI?

Postby frost » Tue Aug 31, 2010 10:20 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
colforbin wrote:Any thoughts/experience on how paralegal work stacks up?


a dime a dozen


Biglaw paralegals are a dime a dozen, but I worked for a well-known government agency as a paralegal. The work I did was brought up in every single interview, and it definitely helped my interviews since I was doing almost the same thing as junior attorneys. Similarly, one of my close law school friends worked for a small firm that specialized in criminal defense and she got a lot of great experience that she said really spiced up her interviews.

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Re: does pre-law school work experiences have an impact on OCI?

Postby Indubitably » Tue Aug 31, 2010 10:29 pm

Anonymous User wrote:After the grade cutoff, the interviewers will callback the people they remember the most. Good WE is a definite asset in setting you apart from people- "call back the guy who worked in finance," or "the engineer."

This made me chuckle. I think that I have started every interview so far with "Well, as a former engineer..."

It has worked really well. I interview horribly (because I was a former engineer), but work experience is an unqualified positive. I am convinced that I would have zero callbacks without it.

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Re: does pre-law school work experiences have an impact on OCI?

Postby Adjudicator » Tue Aug 31, 2010 10:39 pm

Indubitably wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:After the grade cutoff, the interviewers will callback the people they remember the most. Good WE is a definite asset in setting you apart from people- "call back the guy who worked in finance," or "the engineer."

This made me chuckle. I think that I have started every interview so far with "Well, as a former engineer..."

It has worked really well. I interview horribly (because I was a former engineer), but work experience is an unqualified positive. I am convinced that I would have zero callbacks without it.


Nice. I'll have to start off every interview with, "Well, as a former mailman..."

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Re: does pre-law school work experiences have an impact on OCI?

Postby colforbin » Wed Sep 01, 2010 2:37 pm

frost wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
colforbin wrote:Any thoughts/experience on how paralegal work stacks up?


a dime a dozen


Biglaw paralegals are a dime a dozen, but I worked for a well-known government agency as a paralegal. The work I did was brought up in every single interview, and it definitely helped my interviews since I was doing almost the same thing as junior attorneys. Similarly, one of my close law school friends worked for a small firm that specialized in criminal defense and she got a lot of great experience that she said really spiced up her interviews.


I understand that Biglaw paralegals are common, but common does not necessarily equal "bad" work experience, correct? Is it one of the "least" regarded positions? Worse than no w/e at all?

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Re: does pre-law school work experiences have an impact on OCI?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 02, 2010 7:58 pm

colforbin wrote:I understand that Biglaw paralegals are common, but common does not necessarily equal "bad" work experience, correct? Is it one of the "least" regarded positions? Worse than no w/e at all?


I would be surprised if that were the case. Here are some ways I think one could use a paralegal WE:

1) It's a job. You went to work on time, worked collaboratively, dealt with deadlines and workflow, and so on. (You probably also put in considerable overtime when necessary.)
2) You've seen the BigLaw life and are at least somewhat aware of what it entails. It didn't scare you away.
3) Associates work with paralegals, and it's good to have some awareness of what it's like to be a paralegal.

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Re: does pre-law school work experiences have an impact on OCI?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 02, 2010 8:36 pm

I had no related work experience (I was a teacher abroad for a few years), but it was definitely one of my biggest talking points during my interviews. I think it is that I had a unique experience that was still work that got me through those questions. Not necessarily law-related, but still interesting.




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