Approaching Professor-1L Summer Research Assistant Position

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Anonymous User
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Approaching Professor-1L Summer Research Assistant Position

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Nov 03, 2010 6:48 pm

I'm a 1L now, so I've just started thinking seriously about the 1L summer job search. There's a legendary professor at my school whom I'd LOVE to work for this summer. Although I'm taking her/his class now, s/he is also known for having a bit of a prickly personality. For example, s/he actively discourages going to office hours (don't even get me started), so I, unfortunately, haven't had the chance to develop a relationship with the professor yet like I have with some of my other professors.

I realize I probably won't lose anything by asking, but how appropriate/inappropriate would it be for me to approach this professor now inquiring about his/her summer needs, getting my name out there, etc? How would such an approach likely to be received? Do professors ever considering hiring for the summer before 1L grades come in? Anyone have experience with this?

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vamedic03
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Re: Approaching Professor-1L Summer Research Assistant Position

Postby vamedic03 » Wed Nov 03, 2010 7:02 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I'm a 1L now, so I've just started thinking seriously about the 1L summer job search. There's a legendary professor at my school whom I'd LOVE to work for this summer. Although I'm taking her/his class now, s/he is also known for having a bit of a prickly personality. For example, s/he actively discourages going to office hours (don't even get me started), so I, unfortunately, haven't had the chance to develop a relationship with the professor yet like I have with some of my other professors.

I realize I probably won't lose anything by asking, but how appropriate/inappropriate would it be for me to approach this professor now inquiring about his/her summer needs, getting my name out there, etc? How would such an approach likely to be received? Do professors ever considering hiring for the summer before 1L grades come in? Anyone have experience with this?


If they discourage office hours, then they probably wouldn't be very receptive to talking about jobs. And, why would you want to work for someone who discourages office hours?

Anonymous User
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Re: Approaching Professor-1L Summer Research Assistant Position

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Nov 03, 2010 7:12 pm

OP here. Without giving away my anonymity... Basically, the professor in question is a legend in his/her particular field, and I think the RA experience with this specific professor would be particularly edifying.

The anti-office hour thing, I think, is more doctrinal than general douchbaggery. The professor in question is very anti-spoon feeding information, and anyone who has questions is encouraged to ask them during class for the benefit of the whole class, or to work them out themselves or in study groups rather than "wasting" the professor's time during office hours with stupid questions. Non-stupid, more theoretical, questions are definitely allowed and encouraged in office hours.

Anonymous User
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Re: Approaching Professor-1L Summer Research Assistant Position

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Nov 03, 2010 8:30 pm

Two things:

1) Unless you plan to be an academic, you're better off with a real job for the summer rather than being an RA.

2) Often, you get more from being an RA with a less established, lesser known professor. They often are easier to work with, give you more substantive work, and are more willing to help you down the road.

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worldtraveler
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Re: Approaching Professor-1L Summer Research Assistant Position

Postby worldtraveler » Wed Nov 03, 2010 8:48 pm

This professor sounds terrible to work with. Part of the good part about being an RA is that it gives you a good relationship for a future LOR writer or reference. It doesn't sound like this is the person. If she/he is particularly difficult to work with, you could even get a bad one.

Reconsider.

imchuckbass58
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Re: Approaching Professor-1L Summer Research Assistant Position

Postby imchuckbass58 » Wed Nov 03, 2010 8:52 pm

I'll echo the other posters in saying that you're probably better off with another professor who is more likely to give you substantive work and go to bat for you as a reference (should you need one) than just having a nice line on your resume.

That said, if you really think this is the right thing to do, I don't see what you have to lose. I think you would be better positioned, however, if you knocked the class out of the park, then approached him at the beginning of next semester.

Anonymous User
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Re: Approaching Professor-1L Summer Research Assistant Position

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Nov 04, 2010 1:17 am

Thanks everyone. I guess I'll have to give this some thought...

Crim
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Re: Approaching Professor-1L Summer Research Assistant Position

Postby Crim » Thu Nov 04, 2010 11:36 am

To give a different perspective, I don't think we should be ruling this professor out. The fact that he/she seems to be a no-nonsense type of person means that (if you're hired) he/she will probably give you real work with high expectations, which is always better (or at least more useful) than being coddled as an RA. Also, if this person is a bigshot, it would be tremendous to be able to work on whatever they are doing. The surest way to find out would be to find out who RA'd for this prof last year, and ask them about it (if you can't find out who it was/they were informally, you could probably ask your career office to put you in touch anonymously).

I also wouldn't undermine the value of an being RA for whatever you choose to go into later. Firms especially want to see proof of substantive work, and if you can talk intelligently about interesting research and writing you did, it will come across well. At least that was my experience. Then there's the fact that bigshot profs have wide connections, which is always hreat if you want to look for a clerkship or go into academia at some point in the future.




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