1l summer advice

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soda mayor
Posts: 32
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2010 7:06 pm

1l summer advice

Postby soda mayor » Sat Jan 15, 2011 3:44 pm

Just got grades and they are not too hot (although not bad). I have a feeling that OCI and Symplicity just aren't going to get me very far. I am interested in family/divorce law and wanted to know if it would be a good idea if googling small divorce law firms and inquiring about an internship might be a different way to go. Of the places I have been checking out so far, none seem to indicate anywhere on their website that they have any sort of internship program but is that to say they don't exist? Are many 1L's taking an approach like this?

sethc
Posts: 208
Joined: Fri Sep 10, 2010 1:55 pm

Re: 1l summer advice

Postby sethc » Sat Jan 15, 2011 4:47 pm

I'm a 1L at a lower-tiered school in my 2nd term. Just as an FYI, I got a B in CrimLaw but I'm still waiting for my other grades to post.


I know I may not look qualified to be answering questions in this sub-forum, but I think I have some great advice for you because it's the approach I'm going to take & though I'm not 100% sure it'll work, I don't think it can hurt! (This depends on many variables, of course)

Anyways, I'm going to SPAM the crap out of my resume in the coming months. Your career development office is a good place to start because they typically have lists of open positions surrounding your school, but using specific online job-banks or even Google would be a great additional idea if you're planning on following my footsteps lol By "spamming" I mean that I'm just going to send a resume & cover letter to just about EVERY single place that I would be willing to work for this summer.

I'm using THREE rules of thumb: (1) make SURE (or pretty sure) they are hiring or are willing to hire 1L-summer employees. Needlessly sending these things to an employer that might even want/have a position for you only burns bridges. Don't do it, IMO.

(2) Type out a good, solid "general" resume & "general" cover letter first, then use it as sort of a rubric by tweaking & adjusting for whoever will be receiving it. Yeah, it's kinda smudging details and exaggeration.. but isn't that what being a lawyer is? lol

(3) Be as sure as possible that you'd be willing to work for where/whoever it is. This sort of goes along with #1, but I felt like it needed explanation. You don't have to immediately decide what area you wanna practice in, sure, but sit down and bullet-list of a handful/areas that you'd most likely love. THEN, you can put more effort into employers who litigate in this areas when you send your shit to them and have a better chance of getting on.

BIG CAVEAT: Accept the idea of volunteer work. 1L-summers are very rarely a paid gig. It sucks total ass, but just accept it and that way it'll be exciting as shit if you get one that pays.

Good luck, and remember there's probably better advice out there than what I've given.

soda mayor
Posts: 32
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2010 7:06 pm

Re: 1l summer advice

Postby soda mayor » Sat Jan 15, 2011 5:13 pm

for step 1, how would you be sure (or pretty sure) that the firms are hiring?

sethc
Posts: 208
Joined: Fri Sep 10, 2010 1:55 pm

Re: 1l summer advice

Postby sethc » Sat Jan 15, 2011 5:23 pm

soda mayor wrote:for step 1, how would you be sure (or pretty sure) that the firms are hiring?


Good question and sometimes it's just a shot in the dark if they are or not. Usually, if there's a listing in your school's job-openings area, then I think it safe to just go on to step 2 for all of those employers. If they weren't accepting resumes/cover letters then they probably wouldn't have an ad there. Beyond that is where it gets dicey. Now, you're using online job banks & Google. Just stay away from Monster/Career Builder etc. unless it's something you REEEALLY wanna apply for or something like that. They're full of scams and it's just a waste of time if you're a law student. Stick with some of the reputable online-banks in terms of law careers. I'm actually in the middle of trying to compile a list of some of the best ones. If you're interested, PM me later and I'll give you what I have.

In either case - visit the firm/employer's website - if they have one. It's quicker to figure out whether or not they want help. Plus, there's more detail about their practice areas and so on. Usually, just scroll all the way to the bottom and look for "Careers" or "About us" or "Contact us" links. IF it doesn't conclusively say, then just shoot them an email if they sound like a firm you'd like to work for. It's kind of a sneaky way to give them a first-glance at your writing style & professionalism. Think of it as a pre-Cover Letter! Alternatively, if you always sucked at job-interviews or have poor speaking skills then I recommend calling them rather than email. Or better yet, pick a day & dress snazzy and drive around to them. This is honestly an even better way to achieve what I was just talking about.. it just takes more time/$/effort - all of which are minimal during school, agreed?! It is for me! :) Plus when you're spamming to mass employers like this, time is much better spent with the internet as your avenue of contact. But, I have pretty good talking skills (always have) so I'm going the quicker route.

I hope that made sense - let me know if not.

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

Re: 1l summer advice

Postby Aqualibrium » Sat Jan 15, 2011 6:46 pm

1. You weren't going to get a job in family/divorce law at OCI.

2. While I agree that you should ask employers who do not explicitly state so whether they'll be hiring for this summer, I think it's silly to say that sending an application to someone who is ultimately not hiring would "burn a bridge."

3. Do not show up at people's offices all dressed up and unannounced. When you want a job as a secretary, or you want to work at Chilli's, that's fine. Professionals don't do that.

sethc
Posts: 208
Joined: Fri Sep 10, 2010 1:55 pm

Re: 1l summer advice

Postby sethc » Sat Jan 15, 2011 6:53 pm

Aqualibrium wrote:1. You weren't going to get a job in family/divorce law at OCI.

2. While I agree that you should ask employers who do not explicitly state so whether they'll be hiring for this summer, I think it's silly to say that sending an application to someone who is ultimately not hiring would "burn a bridge."

3. Do not show up at people's offices all dressed up and unannounced. When you want a job as a secretary, or you want to work at Chilli's, that's fine. Professionals don't do that.



Yeah you're right about #2 - I was a little too dramatic lol.. but I often type exactly like I speak so I end up doing that sort of thing sometimes. It won't burn a bridge, but if they don't wanna hire anybody then it's probably not going to do anything other than annoy them.

But with #2 & #3 Like I said, I'm not speaking from experience really so a lot of what I said is conjecture/guesswork.. but I can't help but dressing professionally and going in and telling whoever you give your shit to something along the lines of "Heyy! My name yada blah blah... just looking for summer employment & thought I would drop this off.. I was in the area and thought: why not? You guys.. <insert cheesy bullshit reason why they kick ass>" couldn't make you look like a total and complete jackass? Again, you probably know more than I do about it but I figured bullshitting couldn't hurt with a 1L-summer-employment-search lol

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

Re: 1l summer advice

Postby Aqualibrium » Sat Jan 15, 2011 7:00 pm

sethc wrote:Yeah you're right about #2 - I was a little too dramatic lol.. but I often type exactly like I speak so I end up doing that sort of thing sometimes. It won't burn a bridge, but if they don't wanna hire anybody then it's probably not going to do anything other than annoy them.

But with #2 & #3 Like I said, I'm not speaking from experience really so a lot of what I said is conjecture/guesswork.. but I can't help but dressing professionally and going in and telling whoever you give your shit to something along the lines of "Heyy! My name yada blah blah... just looking for summer employment & thought I would drop this off.. I was in the area and thought: why not? You guys.. <insert cheesy bullshit reason why they kick ass>" couldn't make you look like a total and complete jackass? Again, you probably know more than I do about it but I figured bullshitting couldn't hurt with a 1L-summer-employment-search lol



Like I said, don't show up at a firm or other legal employer's office unannounced. It is unprofessional and tacky. You don't walk into a professional's office and hawk your wares.

I won't tell you what to do though...If you think it's a good plan, go for it.

sethc
Posts: 208
Joined: Fri Sep 10, 2010 1:55 pm

Re: 1l summer advice

Postby sethc » Sat Jan 15, 2011 7:09 pm

Aqualibrium wrote:Like I said, don't show up at a firm or other legal employer's office unannounced. It is unprofessional and tacky. You don't walk into a professional's office and hawk your wares.

I won't tell you what to do though...If you think it's a good plan, go for it.



Not sure I agree with respect to non-law employment.. but if that's how you feel about 1Ls seeking work for the summer, then seriously thanks. I'm not sure if I would have wound up doing it, but I'll certainly avoid it now. I have to ask out of curiosity though - what was your 1L year + summer like in terms how & what you did?

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

Re: 1l summer advice

Postby Aqualibrium » Sat Jan 15, 2011 7:21 pm

sethc wrote:
Aqualibrium wrote:Like I said, don't show up at a firm or other legal employer's office unannounced. It is unprofessional and tacky. You don't walk into a professional's office and hawk your wares.

I won't tell you what to do though...If you think it's a good plan, go for it.



Not sure I agree with respect to non-law employment.. but if that's how you feel about 1Ls seeking work for the summer, then seriously thanks. I'm not sure if I would have wound up doing it, but I'll certainly avoid it now. I have to ask out of curiosity though - what was your 1L year + summer like in terms how & what you did?


I was only talking about legal employment, and earlier conceded that when seeking a nonprofessional position, something like that is fine.

Finished 1L year top 25% at a t30. Got paid summer gigs at two large, well respected regional firms (one NLJ250).

sethc
Posts: 208
Joined: Fri Sep 10, 2010 1:55 pm

Re: 1l summer advice

Postby sethc » Sat Jan 15, 2011 7:31 pm

Aqualibrium wrote:I was only talking about legal employment, and earlier conceded that when seeking a nonprofessional position, something like that is fine.

Finished 1L year top 25% at a t30. Got paid summer gigs at two large, well respected regional firms (one NLJ250).



Ah ok my apologies we were on different pages then, I thought you meant any employment at all because some places require you come in and stuff.

Grats man, sounds like you were/are top shit.. wish I could say something along those lines. What kind of firms/areas did you work in? Don't worry about revealing the exact employer or anything, I'm just wondering what kind of work you did during 1L summer, specifically.

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

Re: 1l summer advice

Postby Aqualibrium » Sat Jan 15, 2011 7:44 pm

Thanks. First firm was a large plaintiff's shop. Worked on mass/pharma torts stuff (think Merck/Toyota/etc...). Second place was a full service defense firm. Worked on everything from tax code stuff, to admiralty cases, to admin law stuff (I actually wrote a statute that's in use in a small city), to simple civil lit cases (got to write a sj brief as well...case eventually settled though). Overall it was a great experience, and I was fortunate enough to be paired with/be liked by partners who were ok with giving me lots of substantive work and having me stumble around and figure out how to do it right (and most of that is about finding somewhere where it's been done before and just copying and tweaking...I rarely did something completely from scratch). One thing I was really struck by at both places was how often evidence and civ pro issues came up. Made me really happy that I was paying attention in, and did well in, both of those classes.

sethc
Posts: 208
Joined: Fri Sep 10, 2010 1:55 pm

Re: 1l summer advice

Postby sethc » Sat Jan 15, 2011 7:56 pm

Aqualibrium wrote:Thanks. First firm was a large plaintiff's shop. Worked on mass/pharma torts stuff (think Merck/Toyota/etc...). Second place was a full service defense firm. Worked on everything from tax code stuff, to admiralty cases, to admin law stuff (I actually wrote a statute that's in use in a small city), to simple civil lit cases (got to write a sj brief as well...case eventually settled though). Overall it was a great experience, and I was fortunate enough to be paired with/be liked by partners who were ok with giving me lots of substantive work and having me stumble around and figure out how to do it right (and most of that is about finding somewhere where it's been done before and just copying and tweaking...I rarely did something completely from scratch). One thing I was really struck by at both places was how often evidence and civ pro issues came up. Made me really happy that I was paying attention in, and did well in, both of those classes.


Really?? Wow thanks for the feedback man, hopefully that helps the OP but hell it did a lot for me, I promise lol. Especially since I'm in CivProI right now with (i THINK) a decent professor. Regardless of area, I think I've decided (already?) that I want to be on the defense side of things when it's all said and done.. but I concede that actually getting there is going to take more than that. Which one did you like better? Did you do any criminal work? Also, what about anything specific to computers/cyberlaw? It's an area I've been researching lately and would love to do some work with a firm like that, though they're really thin in terms of being far-and-wide. With 1L-summer, the only thing I REALLY want to avoid is being forced to do truly menial bitchwork like xeroxing, typing up letters that someone else has already handwritten, answering phones, shit like that. I want to do something that lets me apply what I've been learning, you know?

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

Re: 1l summer advice

Postby Aqualibrium » Sat Jan 15, 2011 8:15 pm

I don't think I "liked"one better than the other. The thing I noted most about the Plaintiff's firm was that the people there definitely had a "slant" with regards to how they viewed corporations. For the most part, they felt like they played the role of industry watchdogs more than anything, and the suits they took on conveyed that. There is a long list of products that the firm I worked for seized on and litigated out of production.My biggest issue was I didn't have that same "fire" to get "justice." My concept of what justice is really doesn't have anything to do with the outcome...I don't think I'd work for a Plaintiff's firm because I just don't have that same passion.

As far as substantive work goes, as I said before, I was fortunate enough to get a lot of it at the defense firm, but I tend to think that working at a larger plaintiffs firm will give you more opportunities to do that. My day at the plaintiffs firm was 7 to 6. No fancy lunches and dinners, no baseball games, no weekend boat trips. Just real work. I worked on every possible part of a lawsuit, and my work was always at least somewhat important to the case. From what I've heard, that's generally the case with plaintiffs firms for a variety of reasons. That tends to be the case if you're fortunate enough to be offered an associate position as a fresh grad as well;a lot of the people I talked to who had been in that position spoke of having 5+ cases under their belt as first chair by the time they were 4-5 year associates. Of course the trade off is that the pay isn't as good early and the job isn't as "prestigious." From what I saw though, if you stick around long enough to be a shareholder, when the big windfalls come, it's well worth it.

As far as computer/cyber law goes, I just don't know. I've never done any work on that before, and I don't know of any firms that have large practices devoted to that. One corollary of that I think may be eDiscovery, which is a big deal in civil litigation these days. One of the firms I'll be working for this summer has a rather large eDiscovery practice, so I've taken an interest. From what I understand, most attorneys and judges don't know a damn thing about it, so it'd probably be a good thing to try to gain some knowledge in (although, as I understand it, very few schools offer courses that delve deep into eDiscovery as of right now).

Didn't do any criminal stuff. That was outside the scope of the firms I worked at. Also I sucked at Crim Law :p

sethc
Posts: 208
Joined: Fri Sep 10, 2010 1:55 pm

Re: 1l summer advice

Postby sethc » Sat Jan 15, 2011 10:39 pm

Aqualibrium wrote:I don't think I "liked"one better than the other. The thing I noted most about the Plaintiff's firm was that the people there definitely had a "slant" with regards to how they viewed corporations. For the most part, they felt like they played the role of industry watchdogs more than anything, and the suits they took on conveyed that. There is a long list of products that the firm I worked for seized on and litigated out of production.My biggest issue was I didn't have that same "fire" to get "justice." My concept of what justice is really doesn't have anything to do with the outcome...I don't think I'd work for a Plaintiff's firm because I just don't have that same passion.

As far as substantive work goes, as I said before, I was fortunate enough to get a lot of it at the defense firm, but I tend to think that working at a larger plaintiffs firm will give you more opportunities to do that. My day at the plaintiffs firm was 7 to 6. No fancy lunches and dinners, no baseball games, no weekend boat trips. Just real work. I worked on every possible part of a lawsuit, and my work was always at least somewhat important to the case. From what I've heard, that's generally the case with plaintiffs firms for a variety of reasons. That tends to be the case if you're fortunate enough to be offered an associate position as a fresh grad as well;a lot of the people I talked to who had been in that position spoke of having 5+ cases under their belt as first chair by the time they were 4-5 year associates. Of course the trade off is that the pay isn't as good early and the job isn't as "prestigious." From what I saw though, if you stick around long enough to be a shareholder, when the big windfalls come, it's well worth it.

As far as computer/cyber law goes, I just don't know. I've never done any work on that before, and I don't know of any firms that have large practices devoted to that. One corollary of that I think may be eDiscovery, which is a big deal in civil litigation these days. One of the firms I'll be working for this summer has a rather large eDiscovery practice, so I've taken an interest. From what I understand, most attorneys and judges don't know a damn thing about it, so it'd probably be a good thing to try to gain some knowledge in (although, as I understand it, very few schools offer courses that delve deep into eDiscovery as of right now).

Didn't do any criminal stuff. That was outside the scope of the firms I worked at. Also I sucked at Crim Law :p


I can see how the P's firm would have that slant very easily - I had a professor (read: lawyer) in grad school that did Labor Law for 30+ years and was a TOTAL dick, too. He definitely had that slant you're talking about, especially with regard to unions lol. But yeah, I agree with you when you say your definition of justice differs from theirs - I can at least relate to that. That's why I don't want to do that sort of law either, though I'd certainly jump on the opportunity you had just the same. I'm not sure about the hours you worked (7-6 every day?) The "perks" that most people associate with being a lawyer I could not honestly care less about.. I mean shit yeah they would all be nice one day but I really am concentrating on learning & applying this stuff. As for CrimLaw - no worries man.. it's like everything else, you know.. you either get it and like it or "you don't & you don't", so to speak. Fortunately with public defenders and shit like that, criminal law stuff is pretty widely available.. at least to TRY for anyway.

You REALLY brought up a good point with eDiscovery, man. Seriously. I KNEW deep in my mind about that aspect and it just never clicked until I read your post. I worked for a prosecutor for awhile during/after college as a courier/gopher type job. So, I was pretty deeply involved in the actual USE of eDiscovery & you're right - very few know jack shit about it because most of the attorneys/judges/court staff in the USA, for the most part, are largely still part of that baby-boomer generation or at least not far from it. So, their overall knowledge about computers and technology in general is causing the justice system to seriously lag behind in that regard. That's my take on it anyway and after what you said, regardless of failing, not being a good lawyer, whatever you wanna say - it's something I'm keeping in the back of my mind. In short? Thanks.

However, about the tech thing, I do have 1 specific question I bet you could answer. As far as eDiscovery - did you have any experience, interaction, or communication with any specific "3rd-party" companies that assist or service in this manner? By that I mean is there some kind of "LexisNexis" or "PACER" equivalent to what we're talking about? That'd be a good place to start IMHO, unless you meant "eDiscovery" was an actual company, in which case MY BAD!! Everything still applies all the same, though.

linquest
Posts: 143
Joined: Sat Apr 12, 2008 11:06 am

Re: 1l summer advice

Postby linquest » Mon Jan 17, 2011 4:50 am

soda mayor wrote:Just got grades and they are not too hot (although not bad). I have a feeling that OCI and Symplicity just aren't going to get me very far. I am interested in family/divorce law and wanted to know if it would be a good idea if googling small divorce law firms and inquiring about an internship might be a different way to go. Of the places I have been checking out so far, none seem to indicate anywhere on their website that they have any sort of internship program but is that to say they don't exist? Are many 1L's taking an approach like this?


You're smart to use this approach. Most small firms don't have "internship programs" per se since caseload or ability to pay is less predictable than BigLaw; they may not even hire every year or advertise. They're more likely to hire through cold-calling and networking.

I created one summer internship using this approach. First, I phone called every specialty firm in the area I could find through Google and specialty bar association directories. I asked if they would consider hiring a summer intern, and if so, whom I should address my application to. Next, I asked professors and lawyers in that specialty for contacts for job leads as well as informational interviews. It took a couple months, but the firm that I ended up contacting three different ways finally hired me even though they'd already filled the number of positions they'd initially planned on. Persistence is the key!




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