Prelaw kobs: How to find jobs as legal support staff

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jarofsoup
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Prelaw kobs: How to find jobs as legal support staff

Postby jarofsoup » Thu Sep 09, 2010 12:40 pm

Hello,

I have been trying to find a job as a legal assistant, legal secretary, or an internship.

I plan on going to law school next fall and have been working towards a paralegal certificate.

I have found the market to be extremely competitive. A lot of people holding these jobs right now are lawyers, or JDs that were laid off in the recession.

How do you find legal work/internships? What are the best search sites?

All I have found are file clerk positions...is this a good job before law school or is it just being the office bitch?

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bk1
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Re: Prelaw kobs: How to find jobs as legal support staff

Postby bk1 » Thu Sep 09, 2010 12:42 pm

Aren't they all office bitch? At this point why does it matter? It isn't going to help your admissions chances and it likely won't help you during OCI. If you want money it's not like it pays any differently than any other entry level desk job.

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Unemployed
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Re: Prelaw kobs: How to find jobs as legal support staff

Postby Unemployed » Thu Sep 09, 2010 12:45 pm

bk1 wrote:it likely won't help you during OCI.


This is false, actually.

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bk1
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Re: Prelaw kobs: How to find jobs as legal support staff

Postby bk1 » Thu Sep 09, 2010 12:46 pm

Unemployed wrote:
bk1 wrote:it likely won't help you during OCI.


This is false, actually.


Really? Being the office bitch for 8 months or so at a small firm makes a difference?

I'm genuinely curious because I was under the impression that it didn't.

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paratactical
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Re: Prelaw kobs: How to find jobs as legal support staff

Postby paratactical » Thu Sep 09, 2010 12:48 pm

Paralegal certificates are shit. They will not help you get any job. Further, no firm that is prestigious enough to help on applications is going to employ someone that only wants to work for 8 months. Go interview at the Gap or Starbucks. HTH

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Unemployed
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Re: Prelaw kobs: How to find jobs as legal support staff

Postby Unemployed » Thu Sep 09, 2010 12:52 pm

bk1 wrote:
Unemployed wrote:
bk1 wrote:it likely won't help you during OCI.


This is false, actually.


Really? Being the office bitch for 8 months or so at a small firm makes a difference?

I'm genuinely curious because I was under the impression that it didn't.


Former biglaw paralegals have a leg up, apparently. They walk in with realistic expectations and are familiar with certain aspects of the practice, especially if they were in corporate or specialist departments.... A lot of median-ish students here feel that their experience (or the lack thereof) was a deciding factor.

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bk1
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Re: Prelaw kobs: How to find jobs as legal support staff

Postby bk1 » Thu Sep 09, 2010 12:54 pm

Unemployed wrote:Former biglaw paralegals have a leg up, apparently. They walk in with realistic expectations and are familiar with certain aspects of the practice, especially if they were in corporate or specialist departments.... A lot of median-ish students here feel that their experience (or the lack thereof) was a deciding factor.


That I can understand but I doubt OP is going to be able to get a biglaw paralegal job at this point for that amount of time.

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Unemployed
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Re: Prelaw kobs: How to find jobs as legal support staff

Postby Unemployed » Thu Sep 09, 2010 12:57 pm

bk1 wrote:
Unemployed wrote:Former biglaw paralegals have a leg up, apparently. They walk in with realistic expectations and are familiar with certain aspects of the practice, especially if they were in corporate or specialist departments.... A lot of median-ish students here feel that their experience (or the lack thereof) was a deciding factor.


That I can understand but I doubt OP is going to be able to get a biglaw paralegal job at this point for that amount of time.


Plenty of biglaw paralegals informally commit to two years but leave after 8 months. It's an at-will employment, after all. However, I can see how quitting early would reflect poorly on the applicant during OCI, so whatever benefit he may derive from paralegaling could be wiped out.

jarofsoup
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Re: Prelaw kobs: How to find jobs as legal support staff

Postby jarofsoup » Thu Sep 09, 2010 1:03 pm

You cant be stupid enough to advertise that you are going to be with them for two years.


I am asking because I want some meaningful employement and want to work hard for a couple months. The paralegal classes are actually interesting and give me an idea of the field I am getting into. Like reading cases, and learning the basics.

I don't want to work at Gap, or Starbucks. I have a job and it is easy, but boring as hell. I need something that I can use my mind.

Most law frims require applicants to have a B.A., and a paralegal certificate or atleast two years of experience. They aren't worthless.

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bk1
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Re: Prelaw kobs: How to find jobs as legal support staff

Postby bk1 » Thu Sep 09, 2010 1:07 pm

A lot of places won't hire you without informally committing to 1 or 2 years. But, as Unemployed said, even though it is at-will I can imagine that quitting on this commitment to a biglaw firm might hurt you at OCI.

Entry-level paralegal work will likely not be interesting. If you want to do something interesting, quit your job and read a book.

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Re: Prelaw kobs: How to find jobs as legal support staff

Postby Unemployed » Thu Sep 09, 2010 1:08 pm

jarofsoup wrote:You cant be stupid enough to advertise that you are going to be with them for two years.


I am asking because I want some meaningful employement and want to work hard for a couple months. The paralegal classes are actually interesting and give me an idea of the field I am getting into. Like reading cases, and learning the basics.

I don't want to work at Gap, or Starbucks. I have a job and it is easy, but boring as hell. I need something that I can use my mind.

Most law frims require applicants to have a B.A., and a paralegal certificate or atleast two years of experience. They aren't worthless.


Oh my. I don't know how to respond to this.

jarofsoup
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Re: Prelaw kobs: How to find jobs as legal support staff

Postby jarofsoup » Thu Sep 09, 2010 1:17 pm

Unemployed wrote:
jarofsoup wrote:You cant be stupid enough to advertise that you are going to be with them for two years.


I am asking because I want some meaningful employement and want to work hard for a couple months. The paralegal classes are actually interesting and give me an idea of the field I am getting into. Like reading cases, and learning the basics.

I don't want to work at Gap, or Starbucks. I have a job and it is easy, but boring as hell. I need something that I can use my mind.

Most law frims require applicants to have a B.A., and a paralegal certificate or atleast two years of experience. They aren't worthless.


Oh my. I don't know how to respond to this.



Entry level Paralegal jobs/ Legal assistant jobs have become hard to come by because of the reccession. Most firms won't mentor paralegals for two years anymore. They used to take you in for two years and then pay for your LSAT prep, etc. You have to have some basic training beforehand. Firms like Mofo, Skadden, etc. advertise these programs, but it seems that they are looking more for career paralegals.

You can't really tell most mid to low level firms that you want to go to law school. period. They do not like ambition. So you say you are committed, get accepted to law school and leave.

Once you get into law school are the summer internships at firms equivalent to paralegal jobs? I was thinking that working in a law firm could help me get internships during the summers.

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Unemployed
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Re: Prelaw kobs: How to find jobs as legal support staff

Postby Unemployed » Thu Sep 09, 2010 1:25 pm

jarofsoup wrote:Entry level Paralegal jobs/ Legal assistant jobs have become hard to come by because of the reccession. Most firms won't mentor paralegals for two years anymore. They used to take you in for two years and then pay for your LSAT prep, etc. You have to have some basic training beforehand. Firms like Mofo, Skadden, etc. advertise these programs, but it seems that they are looking more for career paralegals.

You can't really tell most mid to low level firms that you want to go to law school. period. They do not like ambition. So you say you are committed, get accepted to law school and leave.

Once you get into law school are the summer internships at firms equivalent to paralegal jobs? I was thinking that working in a law firm could help me get internships during the summers.


I have no idea what we are arguing about. This post seems pretty contradictory to what you said before, to wit "you can't be stupid enough to advertise that you will be with them for two years." In the past at least, firms specifically asked for a two year commitment (obviously the more the better). Are you suggesting that they are only looking for lifers these days? Where does your 8-month plan fit in? My point was that regardless of the time-frame set by the firm, plenty of biglaw paralegals committed to a certain number of years and then chose to leave much earlier. It's only fair- they can fire you at any moment, you can leave at any moment.

As for mentoring and paying for LSAT courses... I have no idea where you are or what kind of firms you are talking about, but I have never heard of such programs.

jarofsoup
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Joined: Tue Jul 01, 2008 2:41 am

Re: Prelaw kobs: How to find jobs as legal support staff

Postby jarofsoup » Thu Sep 09, 2010 1:42 pm

Unemployed wrote:
jarofsoup wrote:Entry level Paralegal jobs/ Legal assistant jobs have become hard to come by because of the reccession. Most firms won't mentor paralegals for two years anymore. They used to take you in for two years and then pay for your LSAT prep, etc. You have to have some basic training beforehand. Firms like Mofo, Skadden, etc. advertise these programs, but it seems that they are looking more for career paralegals.

You can't really tell most mid to low level firms that you want to go to law school. period. They do not like ambition. So you say you are committed, get accepted to law school and leave.

Once you get into law school are the summer internships at firms equivalent to paralegal jobs? I was thinking that working in a law firm could help me get internships during the summers.


I have no idea what we are arguing about. This post seems pretty contradictory to what you said before, to wit "you can't be stupid enough to advertise that you will be with them for two years." In the past at least, firms specifically asked for a two year commitment (obviously the more the better). Are you suggesting that they are only looking for lifers these days? Where does your 8-month plan fit in? My point was that regardless of the time-frame set by the firm, plenty of biglaw paralegals committed to a certain number of years and then chose to leave much earlier. It's only fair- they can fire you at any moment, you can leave at any moment.

As for mentoring and paying for LSAT courses... I have no idea where you are or what kind of firms you are talking about, but I have never heard of such programs.


I am actually agreeing with you. I dont think I communicated correctly... You can leave after 8 months, just dont tell them this if they want you for two years.

Are you in law school? If so what are the summer internships like?

Anonymous User
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Re: Prelaw kobs: How to find jobs as legal support staff

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 09, 2010 2:05 pm

I worked as a paralegal in a V-50 firm for 2 years right out of college. I'm a sub-median student at CCN, but received 7 callbacks, several of which are at V-20 firms. I credit a lot of this to the two years I spent working in BigLaw, and the questions I've received during interviews have basically confirmed this.

I found the job through my undergrad's Career Services, which held something similar to OCI for positions with law firms, publishing companies, and a few other industries. It took me about a month to actually "secure" the offer, because the process is similar to OCI in that it involves one on-campus interview, several callback sessions, and several weeks of waiting.

I interviewed with about 7 V-50 firms when looking for a paralegal position. All of them required a 2-year commitment, although as someone above mentioned, this isn't contractual. However, it looks really, really bad if you leave after 8 months. If the firm knows you're planning on going to law school next fall (and it'll be hard to hide when you're attempting to study for the LSAT, write your Personal Statement, etc.), they likely will not hire you.

Futhermore, if you quit after 8 months, you're probably giving up an extremely valuable reference - and isn't that the point of why you want a paralegal job, anyway? Not using a reference from your work at a law firm might not matter in your law school application (although it certainly helps, I'd say), but if you plan on using this paralegal experience to aid you in your 2L OCI and you leave after 8 months, effectively surprising your employer and screwing over the people on your team, well...yeah. No. Nobody is going to want to be your reference for OCI. And if you put your time at X-Firm on your resume, employers are probably going to be wondering why you didn't list an associate from X-Firm as a reference. Suddenly, employers are wary of your BigLaw skills, period.

jarofsoup
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Re: Prelaw kobs: How to find jobs as legal support staff

Postby jarofsoup » Thu Sep 09, 2010 2:16 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I worked as a paralegal in a V-50 firm for 2 years right out of college. I'm a sub-median student at CCN, but received 7 callbacks, several of which are at V-20 firms. I credit a lot of this to the two years I spent working in BigLaw, and the questions I've received during interviews have basically confirmed this.

I found the job through my undergrad's Career Services, which held something similar to OCI for positions with law firms, publishing companies, and a few other industries. It took me about a month to actually "secure" the offer, because the process is similar to OCI in that it involves one on-campus interview, several callback sessions, and several weeks of waiting.

I interviewed with about 7 V-50 firms when looking for a paralegal position. All of them required a 2-year commitment, although as someone above mentioned, this isn't contractual. However, it looks really, really bad if you leave after 8 months. If the firm knows you're planning on going to law school next fall (and it'll be hard to hide when you're attempting to study for the LSAT, write your Personal Statement, etc.), they likely will not hire you.

Futhermore, if you quit after 8 months, you're probably giving up an extremely valuable reference - and isn't that the point of why you want a paralegal job, anyway? Not using a reference from your work at a law firm might not matter in your law school application (although it certainly helps, I'd say), but if you plan on using this paralegal experience to aid you in your 2L OCI and you leave after 8 months, effectively surprising your employer and screwing over the people on your team, well...yeah. No. Nobody is going to want to be your reference for OCI. And if you put your time at X-Firm on your resume, employers are probably going to be wondering why you didn't list an associate from X-Firm as a reference. Suddenly, employers are wary of your BigLaw skills, period.


Thank you. Thats a good thing to keep in mind. Maybe I will just stick to temp agencies, etc.




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