Pre-Law School Employment

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quesadilla10
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Joined: Fri Oct 23, 2009 5:08 pm

Pre-Law School Employment

Postby quesadilla10 » Fri Nov 05, 2010 3:43 pm

I'm a 0L (I know, I know) and am just wondering about work experience prior to law school. Does it matter a lot? I took a year off of undergrad and am currently working, but not as anything professional (read: sales), but am tossing the idea around of taking another year off before 1L for other reasons. Should I be worried about not having a more meaningful position (not sure I could get one anyway) if I do this? Does it reflect poorly on me to be out of undergrad for 2 years and have no legal or truly professional work experience to show for it? Will it affect my chances at getting a 1L summer position, or are they more focused on grades?

Thanks in advance :)

Unshake
Posts: 90
Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2010 3:00 pm

Re: Pre-Law School Employment

Postby Unshake » Fri Nov 05, 2010 3:51 pm

It seems like the consensus, at least on TLS, is that any work experience so long as it isn't fast food is beneficial.

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Kohinoor
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Re: Pre-Law School Employment

Postby Kohinoor » Fri Nov 05, 2010 4:27 pm

quesadilla10 wrote:I'm a 0L (I know, I know) and am just wondering about work experience prior to law school. Does it matter a lot? I took a year off of undergrad and am currently working, but not as anything professional (read: sales), but am tossing the idea around of taking another year off before 1L for other reasons. Should I be worried about not having a more meaningful position (not sure I could get one anyway) if I do this? Does it reflect poorly on me to be out of undergrad for 2 years and have no legal or truly professional work experience to show for it? Will it affect my chances at getting a 1L summer position, or are they more focused on grades?

Thanks in advance :)

Nonpolitical work experience never hurts. Some work experience doesn't help.

Anonymous User
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Re: Pre-Law School Employment

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Nov 05, 2010 5:03 pm

ITE you may as well work to (a) better time your relevant OCI year with the economic recovery (if any), and (b) save money to reduce your debt load

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vanwinkle
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Re: Pre-Law School Employment

Postby vanwinkle » Fri Nov 05, 2010 5:16 pm

Working gives exposure to the real world and allows you to mature. It means you understand what a real working environment is like, and how it's different from academic environments, something kids who go HS -> UG -> Law School don't have. A lot of it is how you sell yourself with it, but it gives you a way to sell yourself.

And sales experience can be sold as pertinent to practicing law. After all, as a partner you'd be trying to sell your firm's services to new clients. Not everything has to be directly related to the law to be relevant or useful in selling yourself to firms.

Anonymous User
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Re: Pre-Law School Employment

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Nov 06, 2010 11:49 am

Don't downplay the importance of your previous work experience. Sales is extremely important to the private practice of law. I've heard some partners say it's just as important if not more important than the actual practice of law.

Not all sales jobs are as helpful. If you are doing some customer service/.followup with the sale it's probably a plus, if you are doing face-to-face sales (not telemarketing) it's a plus. Prior WE is all about how you pitch it. Keep track of your sales numbers and make sure you include those on your resume if they are impressive. Find a way to pitch to your interviewers that the prior WE will be helpful in your future career...but don't oversell it. Work hard this next year so you can put down some impressive sales numbers on your resume, and it will come up naturally in the interview.

I had a prior background in sales and it was a huge help in OCI, though my background was not traditional sales really.

bdubs
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Re: Pre-Law School Employment

Postby bdubs » Sat Nov 06, 2010 11:57 am

vanwinkle wrote:And sales experience can be sold as pertinent to practicing law. After all, as a partner you'd be trying to sell your firm's services to new clients. Not everything has to be directly related to the law to be relevant or useful in selling yourself to firms.


I'm going to disagree, as someone who has done both consumer goods sales and professional services sales there are almost no common skills across both. If you are a total a-hole you won't be able to sell things in either environment, but professional sales is much more about polish and presentation while consumer goods sales is a matter of psychological manipulation.

Bottom line, your average toaster buyer and your average consumer of legal services are quite different.

quesadilla10
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Joined: Fri Oct 23, 2009 5:08 pm

Re: Pre-Law School Employment

Postby quesadilla10 » Sat Nov 06, 2010 3:40 pm

Thanks for the advice, I never really considered selling myself from that perspective, but that is very helpful.

If I chose not to take another year off, how much would it matter? Is 2 years WE significantly more advantageous than only 1? And I guess at this point, since I just started, not even 1. More like 10 months. My worry is that I did work a little through undergrad, but like, 10-25 hours a week in retail/tutoring. This is my first full-time job. I just don't want to show up at an interview for a firm and have them laugh out loud at my pathetic work history. Are these valid fears?

edited for clarity

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Cmoss
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Re: Pre-Law School Employment

Postby Cmoss » Mon Nov 08, 2010 11:53 am

Anonymous User wrote:Don't downplay the importance of your previous work experience. Sales is extremely important to the private practice of law. I've heard some partners say it's just as important if not more important than the actual practice of law.

Not all sales jobs are as helpful. If you are doing some customer service/.followup with the sale it's probably a plus, if you are doing face-to-face sales (not telemarketing) it's a plus. Prior WE is all about how you pitch it. Keep track of your sales numbers and make sure you include those on your resume if they are impressive. Find a way to pitch to your interviewers that the prior WE will be helpful in your future career...but don't oversell it. Work hard this next year so you can put down some impressive sales numbers on your resume, and it will come up naturally in the interview.

I had a prior background in sales and it was a huge help in OCI, though my background was not traditional sales really.


so my 5 years in sales will pay off in the legal field? yesssssss!

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crazycanuck
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Re: Pre-Law School Employment

Postby crazycanuck » Mon Nov 08, 2010 2:43 pm

vanwinkle wrote:Working gives exposure to the real world and allows you to mature. It means you understand what a real working environment is like, and how it's different from academic environments, something kids who go HS -> UG -> Law School don't have. A lot of it is how you sell yourself with it, but it gives you a way to sell yourself.

And sales experience can be sold as pertinent to practicing law. After all, as a partner you'd be trying to sell your firm's services to new clients. Not everything has to be directly related to the law to be relevant or useful in selling yourself to firms.


^This. Partners are salespeople.

You also will learn some decent public speaking/thinking on your feet skills which is nice to have.




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