How much does not having actual work experience hurt ITE?

(On Campus Interviews, Summer Associate positions, Firm Reviews, Tips, ...)
Forum rules
Anonymous Posting

Anonymous posting is only appropriate when you are revealing sensitive employment related information about a firm, job, etc. You may anonymously respond on topic to these threads. Unacceptable uses include: harassing another user, joking around, testing the feature, or other things that are more appropriate in the lounge.

Failure to follow these rules will get you outed, warned, or banned.
thatsnotmyname
Posts: 256
Joined: Sat Jul 11, 2009 1:31 am

How much does not having actual work experience hurt ITE?

Postby thatsnotmyname » Thu Sep 30, 2010 8:52 pm

So basically, the gist I'm getting from reading some of these OCI threads is that having relevant work experience seems pretty crucial in getting a OCI offer ITE. But is having now work experience ITE a major knock against someone whose grades are in range?

Anonymous User
Posts: 273254
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: How much does not having actual work experience hurt ITE?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 30, 2010 8:56 pm

Firms are really looking at that especially in the schools ranked in the 25-75. A lot of seemingly less qualified folks getting offers over extremely qualified students in which work experience seems to be the key thing differentiating the candidates.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273254
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: How much does not having actual work experience hurt ITE?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 30, 2010 8:59 pm

I think WE is a huge factor in separating people out now; overall it's probably a strong third for hiring, after 1) school rank/location and 2) grades being above the firm's threshold. My WE always came up very positively in OCI interviews and CBs, and even had someone refer to it specifically during an offer call I got from a law firm. So the inverse to that must be that it hurts to not have any.

This won't always be true, but if a firm is choosing between two people at your school whose grades are good enough for them, and they have WE and you don't, they're probably taking the other guy.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273254
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: How much does not having actual work experience hurt ITE?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 30, 2010 9:03 pm

I am a transfer to a T10 with no work experience. I did get a few offers in V100 so its not impossible, but my friends who had WE really cleaned up. Also, I would imagine there would be way more to talk about with WE on one's resume. I found it difficult to answer tough questions (such as asking for examples of leadership or teamwork and why I am interested in the NYC finance world) when I only had education and summer 1L job to reference.

User avatar
rayiner
Posts: 6184
Joined: Thu Dec 11, 2008 11:43 am

Re: How much does not having actual work experience hurt ITE?

Postby rayiner » Thu Sep 30, 2010 9:09 pm

If you don't have great grades then good, relevant work experience is the next best thing.

rcb5142
Posts: 38
Joined: Sun Aug 08, 2010 10:28 pm

Re: How much does not having actual work experience hurt ITE?

Postby rcb5142 » Thu Sep 30, 2010 9:41 pm

You'll just need grades that are higher in their "range" - at some point it will not matter so much but that can be top 15% at one school and 5% at another. So for example maybe you'll need good WE with a 3.5 at some firms, but at 3.7 they are more willing to look past it.

User avatar
dood
Posts: 1639
Joined: Tue Apr 21, 2009 11:59 am

Re: How much does not having actual work experience hurt ITE?

Postby dood » Thu Sep 30, 2010 10:14 pm

...
Last edited by dood on Sun Oct 24, 2010 4:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

bmontminy
Posts: 101
Joined: Mon Apr 20, 2009 4:06 pm

Re: How much does not having actual work experience hurt ITE?

Postby bmontminy » Thu Sep 30, 2010 10:29 pm

So what actually constitutes REAL work experience? Obviously a few years off of full time work is. But what about 20 hr/wk during three years of your undergrad at a law firm? At what point does work pass the normal undergrad crap standard and become 'useful work experience?'

I realize there may not be a hard line to draw, but was curious what the general consensus was.

User avatar
OperaSoprano
Posts: 4410
Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2008 1:54 am

Re: How much does not having actual work experience hurt ITE?

Postby OperaSoprano » Thu Sep 30, 2010 10:48 pm

Just wanted to add that it has to be the right kind of WE to add a substantial boost. Most people have held jobs, and many worked full time or close to it during UG. Taking a year off to work (what I did) seems to be more common than not, but I know I didn't have the background firms wanted, because of the specific kind of WE I had. I have definitely seen corporate and finance work experience make a huge difference at my school. It is true that the very top students won't need it, but a little bit further down it really seemed to matter.

User avatar
jchoggan
Posts: 94
Joined: Sat May 02, 2009 1:26 am

Re: How much does not having actual work experience hurt ITE?

Postby jchoggan » Thu Sep 30, 2010 10:55 pm

bmontminy wrote:So what actually constitutes REAL work experience? Obviously a few years off of full time work is. But what about 20 hr/wk during three years of your undergrad at a law firm? At what point does work pass the normal undergrad crap standard and become 'useful work experience?'

I realize there may not be a hard line to draw, but was curious what the general consensus was.

This sounds legit enough to help out, definitely. I have 5 yrs work experience in a relevant field and am still working while in the PT program at GULC. It was definitely helpful. I don't think I talked about grades once during a single interview or callback. Mostly, if you can show that you work hard, manage time well, and have leadership potential, they'll like your experience. Working PT while in school FT is just the flip side of the coin. I think you'll be good.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273254
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: How much does not having actual work experience hurt ITE?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 30, 2010 10:56 pm

ITE you can't distinguish yourself on the basis of grades alone. Having no work experience won't necessarily be harmful -- I know people with no work experience who did fine -- but having it does provide a nice way to stand out.

2011Law
Posts: 822
Joined: Wed Jun 30, 2010 3:40 pm

Re: How much does not having actual work experience hurt ITE?

Postby 2011Law » Thu Sep 30, 2010 11:08 pm

Do you count summer internships during law school as WE?

User avatar
Patriot1208
Posts: 7044
Joined: Tue May 18, 2010 11:28 am

Re: How much does not having actual work experience hurt ITE?

Postby Patriot1208 » Thu Sep 30, 2010 11:09 pm

2011Law wrote:Do you count summer internships during law school as WE?


No lol.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273254
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: How much does not having actual work experience hurt ITE?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 30, 2010 11:31 pm

You really want full-time post undergraduate work experience in a relevant field: finance, lobbying, engineering, etc. It's not just a check-box on the evaluation sheet, but something you can incorporate into your pitch to make people think "hey this guy would be valuable at our firm."

Eg: I had 2 years of WE as an engineer and a 1L internship in a related federal agency. Allmost all of my interviews focused 90% on my WE. 3 of my 4 offers were at firms that were reaches for my GPA.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273254
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: How much does not having actual work experience hurt ITE?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 30, 2010 11:59 pm

I didn't have relevant work experience per se (teaching), but it was all about how I spun it. I sold it as getting experience in a setting where there are clients in a sense and that you have to manage competing demands and expectations while managing to get the job done, wear many hats, serve in leadership roles, etc. I am of the opinion that it doesn't matter what kind of work experience you have as long as you have thought beforehand about how the skills you learned from that position would be directly relevant to working at a firm, whether it be direct legal experience or the EQ/soft skills.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273254
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: How much does not having actual work experience hurt ITE?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 01, 2010 12:07 am

Anonymous User wrote:I didn't have relevant work experience per se (teaching), but it was all about how I spun it. I sold it as getting experience in a setting where there are clients in a sense and that you have to manage competing demands and expectations while managing to get the job done, wear many hats, serve in leadership roles, etc. I am of the opinion that it doesn't matter what kind of work experience you have as long as you have thought beforehand about how the skills you learned from that position would be directly relevant to working at a firm, whether it be direct legal experience or the EQ/soft skills.

This. It's important to realize that you're evaluated on what you're bringing to the table in terms of skills and abilities, and if you can sell your work experience as such, it'll be an asset whether it's traditionally "relevant" to law firm work of any particular field or not. I had ~4-6 years of work experience totally unrelated to anything I'll be doing in the law, but that I could pitch to firms as leadership experience in a teamwork setting that demonstrated responsibility. That led to several positive CBs and a couple big offers.

It's all in how you can sell yourself, and WE is a huge advantage because it gives you more ways to do so.

Aqualibrium
Posts: 2011
Joined: Tue Feb 24, 2009 5:57 am

Re: How much does not having actual work experience hurt ITE?

Postby Aqualibrium » Fri Oct 01, 2010 12:14 am

Patriot1208 wrote:
2011Law wrote:Do you count summer internships during law school as WE?


No lol.



Actually, I would say you are wrong Patriot. I had two SA positions 1L summer, and it was a huge boost to go into an interview and talk about the fact that I wrote briefs and motions that were actually filed in court for large, well known firms. In one specific case I got to talk about the intricacies of a case I worked on with the attorneys who happened to be working on that very same case for the other side.

So yes, summer positions do count as work experience. One thing to keep in mind though is that working for a small firm like mom & pop llc may actually look worse on your resume.

User avatar
Patriot1208
Posts: 7044
Joined: Tue May 18, 2010 11:28 am

Re: How much does not having actual work experience hurt ITE?

Postby Patriot1208 » Fri Oct 01, 2010 12:21 am

Aqualibrium wrote:
Patriot1208 wrote:
2011Law wrote:Do you count summer internships during law school as WE?


No lol.



Actually, I would say you are wrong Patriot. I had two SA positions 1L summer, and it was a huge boost to go into an interview and talk about the fact that I wrote briefs and motions that were actually filed in court for large, well known firms. In one specific case I got to talk about the intricacies of a case I worked on with the attorneys who happened to be working on that very same case for the other side.

So yes, summer positions do count as work experience. One thing to keep in mind though is that working for a small firm like mom & pop llc may actually look worse on your resume.


I actually misread it as summer internships in undergrad. But even though i'm sure a good SA position 1L year will help but those are so hard to come by. And I doubt anything else is really going to give someone a boost that actual full time work experience before law school is going to do.

User avatar
vanwinkle
Posts: 9740
Joined: Sun Dec 21, 2008 3:02 am

Re: How much does not having actual work experience hurt ITE?

Postby vanwinkle » Fri Oct 01, 2010 12:42 am

Aqualibrium wrote:Actually, I would say you are wrong Patriot. I had two SA positions 1L summer, and it was a huge boost to go into an interview and talk about the fact that I wrote briefs and motions that were actually filed in court for large, well known firms. In one specific case I got to talk about the intricacies of a case I worked on with the attorneys who happened to be working on that very same case for the other side.

So yes, summer positions do count as work experience. One thing to keep in mind though is that working for a small firm like mom & pop llc may actually look worse on your resume.

Your summer internships and what you do in them can make a difference, yes, but what people talk about when they discuss "work experience" on this forum is usually pretty specifically referring to years of work experience between UG and law school, which makes a difference in a different and sometimes much bigger way. They do count in the hiring process, but they don't count as "WE" as it's being discussed here.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273254
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: How much does not having actual work experience hurt ITE?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 01, 2010 7:36 am

Aqualibrium wrote:One thing to keep in mind though is that working for a small firm like mom & pop llc may actually look worse on your resume.


Why's that? I worked for a solo practitioner for a year after undergrad, and it certainly seems to have been a positive to firms with whom I took CBs.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273254
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: How much does not having actual work experience hurt ITE?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 01, 2010 7:52 am

I think solid, full-time work experience is a very important factor, more important than extracurriculars in law school.
However, if you have good grades, but not necessarily great grades, you definitely do not need work experience to land a job.

rynabrius
Posts: 225
Joined: Sun Jun 08, 2008 9:34 pm

Re: How much does not having actual work experience hurt ITE?

Postby rynabrius » Fri Oct 01, 2010 8:25 am

Regarding type of w/e/--strive to work for the type of clients you will be working with as a lawyer. Unless you plan on representing drug smugglers or something.

Aqualibrium
Posts: 2011
Joined: Tue Feb 24, 2009 5:57 am

Re: How much does not having actual work experience hurt ITE?

Postby Aqualibrium » Fri Oct 01, 2010 10:49 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Aqualibrium wrote:One thing to keep in mind though is that working for a small firm like mom & pop llc may actually look worse on your resume.


Why's that? I worked for a solo practitioner for a year after undergrad, and it certainly seems to have been a positive to firms with whom I took CBs.



That was post undergrad though, not during law school. Post/during undergrad work at a firm is probably a good way to demonstrate that you've at least seriously thought about your decision to enter the practice of law, and have some experiences that guided that decision.

Working for a solo that doesn't at least have a reputation as "the guy" in "x" field as a law student is very often a death knoll. Law firms are elitist, and will generally look down on such experience. Several professors and attorneys have said this to me on different occasions.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273254
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: How much does not having actual work experience hurt ITE?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 01, 2010 10:56 am

Yes. I was top-3rd-ish at HYS with no experience, and had 0 callbacks out of 20.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273254
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: How much does not having actual work experience hurt ITE?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 01, 2010 11:14 am

Would having experience as being a paralegal for a few years count?




Return to “Legal Employment”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.