Can coursework peg you into a specific field?

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Can coursework peg you into a specific field?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 25, 2011 2:59 pm

If my schedule for 2L year looks particularly heavy on one specialized field (not going to specify, but something like r.e./tax/t&e), is that going to peg me into that field even though my interests are broader? I'm interested in transactions generally, would like to do the specialty work but am not completely dedicated to it and don't want to be needlessly closing myself off from offers if a specialty department isn't hiring but the general corporate department is. I'll also be taking basic classes like Corporations, but no advanced transactional classes other than the specialty field.

Thanks in advance.

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ObLaDiObLaDa
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Re: Can coursework peg you into a specific field?

Postby ObLaDiObLaDa » Mon Jul 25, 2011 3:15 pm

I think so. Through some complications with scheduling my internship, I was forced to take two environmental law classes (since they were the only ones open at the time) during my 2L year. I also had our environmental group listed as one of my activities on my resume, because I stupidly thought having anything was better then having nothing.

I had an interview for a summer attorney position at a large international bank and of the six attorneys I interviewed with, two spent the majority of the time discussing their previous work in environmental law and places I should look into for employment if I want to continue with environmental. Despite my many tax classes, it was very difficult to convince them of my interest in financial legal work when some of my coursework and activities pointed to another kind of law. Of course, I didn't get the job and it instead went to a classmate of mine who had taken a majority of tax/corporations/financial classes.

This may not have been the main reason I didn't get the job, but I feel like it had a significant effect.

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Re: Can coursework peg you into a specific field?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 25, 2011 3:31 pm

Very interested in this. Other than legal ethics, taking a very transaction heavy course load as I want to go into transactional work. Don't really have any background in finance/econ (developed the interest after undergrad, so my major rather than finance/business/econ was one of the usual useless liberal arts bachelors), and am taking a corporations class, a bankruptcy/restructuring class and a class that's essentially analyzing financial data for lawyers. GPA is a 3.0 at a T10, and given my lousy legal writing grade and my worst grade as civ pro, but best grade being contracts + interest in transactional/corporate work, hoping that at least it creates SOME selling point with NYC firms

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ObLaDiObLaDa
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Re: Can coursework peg you into a specific field?

Postby ObLaDiObLaDa » Mon Jul 25, 2011 3:41 pm

I think you really just have to find a way to really drive home your interest during your interview. Try not to let the interviewer steer the interview in another direction (like what happened with me) if you can.

On top of having your coursework to point to, I would also attempt to join some things that will also become talking points. For example, I'm leaning towards labor and employment law so I am currently looking into becoming a member of the ABA's labor and employment section.

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Aberzombie1892
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Re: Can coursework peg you into a specific field?

Postby Aberzombie1892 » Mon Jul 25, 2011 3:43 pm

Yeah you should be conscious of what courses you are taking if your school/gpa don't peg your for a large firm. If you are top X% after 1L (depending on school) just take fluff. Hiring partners won't be happy, but you will be fine.

If you aren't, then the courses you take can be used to persuade people to hire you (or not hire you depending). If you want transactions, take a mix of transactional courses and don't say in the interview that you are open to doing litigation.

NotMyRealName09
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Re: Can coursework peg you into a specific field?

Postby NotMyRealName09 » Mon Jul 25, 2011 8:12 pm

My courses had no bearing on my ending up in litigation. My interest in litigation did (as did Law Review and class rank). I didn't take a single mock trial or appellate type class.

Although, I did intern with a federal district and circuit judge, so maybe that showed I was interested.

I would say it's not the classes, it's how you present yourself.

Just frame them how you want - like "I took a lot of tax classes because I wanted to lay a foundation for structuring mergers." Or something (I never liked tax).

NotMyRealName09
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Re: Can coursework peg you into a specific field?

Postby NotMyRealName09 » Mon Jul 25, 2011 8:15 pm

ObLaDiObLaDa wrote:I think you really just have to find a way to really drive home your interest during your interview. Try not to let the interviewer steer the interview in another direction (like what happened with me) if you can.

On top of having your coursework to point to, I would also attempt to join some things that will also become talking points. For example, I'm leaning towards labor and employment law so I am currently looking into becoming a member of the ABA's labor and employment section.



Here's a secret about law firm interviews, especially medium sized and above - the are not looking to hire intelligent young lawyers who just want to become well rounded. They are hiring to fill a specific position in a specific practice because that is where they have a need.

So you can talk all day about how much you really want to do transactional work, but the person interviewing you might not have a need for a transactional lawyer, and your top grades and winning smile still won't get you a call back.

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Re: Can coursework peg you into a specific field?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 26, 2011 2:06 pm

NotMyRealName09 wrote:Although, I did intern with a federal district and circuit judge, so maybe that showed I was interested.


man, that shows your a super qualified gunner for lit.
with that kind of experience under your belt, who cares whether you are interested in lit or not. i would want you if i were a hiring partner, just for the sake of getting the best people.




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