contacting non-NALP firm for 1L SA

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contacting non-NALP firm for 1L SA

Postby target » Sat Aug 20, 2011 2:48 pm

So I understand that we cannot contact firms for 1L SA until Dec 1, and I can't talk to my school career service people until Nov 1. I have no problem with that.

What are about firms or small offices that aren't listed on NALP? Are they associated with NALP? And can I contact them? I just want to know if they are willing to take on 1Ls for summer internship, and really don't want to get into trouble.

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Re: contacting non-NALP firm for 1L SA

Postby BackToTheOldHouse » Sat Aug 20, 2011 2:59 pm

I would like to know the answer to this question as well.


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Re: contacting non-NALP firm for 1L SA

Postby duckmoney » Sat Aug 20, 2011 3:14 pm

I'm not certain on this matter, but I'm pretty sure the NALP rules only apply if the firm chooses to adhere to them. Firms that aren't members won't care, and probably won't even know about the rules. Smaller / satellite offices of NALP firms that aren't listed in the directory probably still adhere to the rules though.

Worst comes to worst you get an email back from the firm saying "NALP rules blah de blah, contact us again after December 1st"


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Re: contacting non-NALP firm for 1L SA

Postby SusanGainen » Tue Aug 23, 2011 8:38 am

By way of introduction, I worked in Law School Career & Professional Development for 17 years, so the NALP rules are part of my DNA. Your question is excellent, and on behalf of career services professionals everywhere, I am delighted to answer it.

IT IS NOT JUST NALP While it is true that the NALP rules need not be followed by non-NALP members, the rules about waiting to contact potential 1L summer employers until after December 1 come not only from NALP but with the complete agreement with the accrediting entities (ABA and AALS). Underlying the rule is the general agreement that the primary duty of a 1L is to learn the difference between a contract and a tort (my interpretation of many complex policy discussions.)

BUT I WANT TO DO SOMETHING That said, you are not precluded from connecting with the speakers who come to your school during the first semester, from re-connecting with the people who were your recommenders, or your friends, neighbors, and friends of your family, who may be lawyers or who may know lawyers and who are eager to help you.

What might you say or ask?

1. SPEAKERS Thank you for coming to visit my school. I enjoyed your presentation and would like to ask some follow up questions next week. May I call you to schedule a meeting? Note that you are looking for information, not asking for a job.

2. RECOMMENDERS Thank you for writing a letter of rec for me. I am here at [law school] and find it (fascinating, frightening, etc.) Can I buy you a cup of coffee to say "thank you" and to ask some questions about my future? Note that you are saying "thank you" and not asking for a job.

3. FRIENDS, FAMILY, etc. This group is the one most likely to ask you for a resume right away. It is difficult to say "no" to your parents, so, quickly, pull up the resume you used for your law school application, add "law school" to the education section, and hand it off to Mom and and Dad.

Remind the parents that you are going to be really really busy during the semester and that should they gin up employment opportunities for you before Thanksgiving that you would probably embarrass yourself in an interview because someone would remember that you weren't supposed to interview until after December 1, making you look like an unethical law student.

In addition, your legal knowledge will be limited to the Case of the Thorns, and not fodder for the kind of interview in which you would be smart and knowledgeable about the work that the prospective employer would need from you.

WHAT IF SOMEONE OFFERS ME A JOB? If, however, someone who is known to you or someone you meet between now and December 1 offers you a job, you are permitted to accept. What the NALP rules preclude you from doing is launching a Massive Summer Job Search Campaign addressed to strangers before December 1.

Helpful note #1: Follow my weekly #lawtweets for 1Ls, 2Ls, and 3Ls at @PTBSusanGainen and my blog at

Helpful note #2: I am a regular speaker at law schools around the country (56 presentations in 18 months including NALP and CLEO), with 5 different programs: "Alternative Careers," "Professionalism Has Attached," "2nd Career Law Students," "The Forever Skill: Job Search Outside of OCI," and "Job Search Skills = Business Development Skills."

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