Chances of Landing Summer Associate Gig

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RMW
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Joined: Wed Jul 06, 2011 1:47 pm

Chances of Landing Summer Associate Gig

Postby RMW » Wed Jul 06, 2011 2:10 pm

Before pitching my question, here is some background for reference. I currently finished my 1L year at a tier 4 school. I was
accepted to some respected tier 1 universities; however, unexpectedly, I received a full scholarship from a tier 4 school. I consulted the partners at the firm where I was previously employed, and the overwhelming advice was to take the money. Being in a financially
tight spot, and with little assistance from my parents, this is exactly what I did. After my first year, I have met my grade
requirements to keep my scholarship and finished within the top 25% of my class. In addition, I made both Moot Court and International Moot Court (results for law review are still pending), and am the president of two established organizations. I am currently interning at a patent firm in Europe this summer.

Here’s my worry: I am beginning to look for summer associate positions with a large firm next summer (particularly within the
Washington, D.C. area). However, I’ve noticed that most of these firms usually employ students attending tier 1 universities. Is there
anything I can do when applying to for these positions to make myself standout or minimize the fact that I attend a low-tier university? I am concerned that many firms will have an extremely hard time overlooking this fact, despite my experience and resume.

I realize that competition is extremely high when applying for these positions. Likewise, I understand that other applicants have
resumes that are equivalent, if not better, than mine. I’m aware that one of the tradeoffs of attending a lower-tier university in exchange for money is the loss of possible job prospects. However, I’m determined (as I’m sure all other law students are) to obtain a summer associate position next summer, despite these obstacles.

Any advice would be highly appreciated. Recommendations regarding other possible routes of legal employment are welcomed as well. One approach I’m considering exploring is alumni connections, but this will probably take me only so far. Law school is competitive, and I’m aware that, at the end of the day, the accomplished are all vying for the same positions. However, I’m holding out hope that there is a way to make myself standout, despite the status of the university I attend. Thanks in advance!

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GeePee
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Re: Chances of Landing Summer Associate Gig

Postby GeePee » Wed Jul 06, 2011 2:44 pm

Start networking at your old firm ASAP. If they aren't in need of your services, see if the partners know anyone who does and would be willing to make a call. Get a local bar association student membership and talk to more attorneys there.

At a tier 4 school, you can get a job, but that's most likely if you have established lawyers backing you up.

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Cavalier
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Re: Chances of Landing Summer Associate Gig

Postby Cavalier » Wed Jul 06, 2011 2:51 pm

Likewise, I understand that other applicants have resumes that are equivalent, if not better, than mine.

That's a bit of an understatement.

Aston2412
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Joined: Wed Apr 21, 2010 11:23 am

Re: Chances of Landing Summer Associate Gig

Postby Aston2412 » Wed Jul 06, 2011 2:57 pm

Cavalier wrote:That's a bit of an understatement.


What Cavalier means to say is that it's an uphill battle for top 5% from a T4. This doesn't mean you're out of luck but you'll need to work incredibly hard going forward (in the job search).

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Cavalier
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Re: Chances of Landing Summer Associate Gig

Postby Cavalier » Wed Jul 06, 2011 3:32 pm

Aston2412 wrote:
Cavalier wrote:That's a bit of an understatement.


What Cavalier means to say is that it's an uphill battle for top 5% from a T4. This doesn't mean you're out of luck but you'll need to work incredibly hard going forward (in the job search).

No, that's not what I meant to say at all.

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5ky
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Re: Chances of Landing Summer Associate Gig

Postby 5ky » Wed Jul 06, 2011 3:44 pm

Cavalier wrote:
Aston2412 wrote:
Cavalier wrote:That's a bit of an understatement.


What Cavalier means to say is that it's an uphill battle for top 5% from a T4. This doesn't mean you're out of luck but you'll need to work incredibly hard going forward (in the job search).

No, that's not what I meant to say at all.


Not to mention that OP is top 25% at a T4, not top 5%.

Aston2412
Posts: 466
Joined: Wed Apr 21, 2010 11:23 am

Re: Chances of Landing Summer Associate Gig

Postby Aston2412 » Wed Jul 06, 2011 4:04 pm

5ky wrote:
Cavalier wrote:Not to mention that OP is top 25% at a T4, not top 5%.


That's the point I was trying to make.

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Sentry
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Joined: Tue Mar 02, 2010 6:38 pm

Re: Chances of Landing Summer Associate Gig

Postby Sentry » Wed Jul 06, 2011 4:24 pm

Aston2412 wrote:
5ky wrote:
Cavalier wrote:Not to mention that OP is top 25% at a T4, not top 5%.


That's the point I was trying to make.

Top 25% with a great resume can get you shut out of DC even from a T13.

UCLAtransfer
Posts: 334
Joined: Wed Nov 18, 2009 11:36 pm

Re: Chances of Landing Summer Associate Gig

Postby UCLAtransfer » Wed Jul 06, 2011 4:31 pm

This is going to sound really harsh, but in your position, I would not spend your time trying to get a job at any big firm that you don't have ties to/connections with, and certainly don't waste your time on D.C. (by far the most competitive place for getting a SA, where top 25% from T14 schools can often find themselves shut out).

Unfortunately, without connections, top 25% from a T4 is going to give you such a miniscule chance at landing a gig at a big firm anywhere that it's not even worth you taking the time to pursue them, as this will be time that you should spend trying to land a job someplace that you actually have a shot at.

Instead, work your connections from the firm that you mentioned you worked at previously, try to hustle for positions in the market your school is located in, in any other secondary markets that you have ties to, and network your ass off.

09042014
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Joined: Wed Oct 14, 2009 10:47 pm

Re: Chances of Landing Summer Associate Gig

Postby 09042014 » Wed Jul 06, 2011 4:45 pm

You are working with a patent firm this summer, do you have an engineering or science degree? Having a good tech background will make you competitive at some IP botiques in DC. But you should have done the Loyola Patent Fair.




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