Employment Advice for a 2L

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cansohei11
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Employment Advice for a 2L

Postby cansohei11 » Tue Oct 04, 2011 3:26 pm

I know there are a million of these threads, but I wanted to get some ideas from TLS'ers on how to improve my employment lot. I'm a current 2L at a lower T50 school, near full scholarship, but horrible grades. I'm currently rocking a 2.91 with median floating at the 3.0-something mark.

My grades consist of an A, some +B's, lots of B's, one -Bs, no C's... And one big, fat D in legal writing from 2nd semester. 1st semester I pulled a B+, but I totally fucked my brief second time around. Don't ask, I just did.

I've been working an externship with the DA this fall, and have two internships from the past summer under my belt [PD's Office and Attorney General], and even had a couple of OCI interviews for Gov agencies and non-profits. I've also been doing well in Moot Court, and have added a few nice points on my resume because of it.

What else can I do? I know I'm bottom 1/2, I know I went to a TTTT school (i.e. not T14), but beyond burning the midnight oil studying (which I'm already doing) and bringing my grades up some, how else can I strengthen my employment picture?

I really want to work in PI or do agency work, but am unsure of how these organizations hire. How does one break into a place like LegalAid? Or Justice Works? Of course I've heard interning at these organizations always helps, but interning alone won't get you a job. Is even PI work these days closed to the bottom 1/2?
Last edited by cansohei11 on Wed Oct 05, 2011 12:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

azntwice
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Re: Employment Advice for a 2L

Postby azntwice » Tue Oct 04, 2011 6:01 pm

PI places care a lot more about your dedication to the issues than your grades. If you try to develop a track record of working in a certain area, it will be very helpful to you.

Void
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Re: Employment Advice for a 2L

Postby Void » Tue Oct 04, 2011 6:26 pm

azntwice wrote:PI places care a lot more about your dedication to the issues than your grades. aren't really hiring. If you try to develop a track record of working in a certain area, it will be very helpful to you. they might let you work there for free after graduation so you don't have a gaping hole in your resume.


ftfy.

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BarbellDreams
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Re: Employment Advice for a 2L

Postby BarbellDreams » Tue Oct 04, 2011 7:07 pm

Void wrote:
azntwice wrote:PI places care a lot more about your dedication to the issues than your grades. aren't really hiring. If you try to develop a track record of working in a certain area, it will be very helpful to you. they might let you work there for free after graduation so you don't have a gaping hole in your resume.


ftfy.


Sadly, I have noticed that this isn't far from the truth.

Renzo
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Re: Employment Advice for a 2L

Postby Renzo » Tue Oct 04, 2011 8:10 pm

Stop burning the midnight oil studying. You can't fix your grades enough to matter at this point. Instead focus on getting a job right now. Find some local firm that will hire you part time to work during the school year, and prove yourself. Try and work steadily from now until you graduate, maybe at one place if there's a chance they'll take you full time, or maybe at a few places to build your network.

Anonymous User
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Re: Employment Advice for a 2L

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Oct 05, 2011 10:12 am

cansohei11 wrote:I know there are a million of these threads, but I wanted to get some ideas for TLS'ers on how to improve my employment lot. I'm a current 2L at a lower T50 school, near full scholarship, but horrible grades. I'm currently rocking a 2.91 with median floating at the 3.0-something mark.

My grades consist of an A, some +B/B's, no -B's or C's... And one big, fat D in legal writing from 2nd semester. 1st semester I pulled a B+, but I totally fucked my brief second time around. Don't ask, I just did.

I've been working an externship with the DA, and have two internships from the past summer under my belt [PD's Office and Attorney General], and even had a couple of OCI interviews for Gov agencies and non-profits. I've also been doing well in Moot Court, and have added a few nice points on my resume because of it.

What else can I do? I know I'm bottom 1/2, I know I went to a TTTT school (i.e. not T14), but beyond burning the midnight oil studying (which I'm already doing) and brining my grades up some, how else can I strengthen my employment picture?

I really want to work in PI or Gov work, but am unsure of how these organizations hire. How does one break into a place like LegalAid? Or JusticeWorks? Of course I've heard interning at these organizations always helps, but interning alone won't get you a job. Is even PI work these days closed to the bottom 1/2?


Just because PI pays a lot lower than biglaw doesn't mean there is a HUGE difference in their requirements for grades. It isn't that easy to get a job in PI. Besides grades, they are really looking for someone that seems dedicated to public service. You have to start now by volunteering at legal aid... alcu... etc. Start building a resume that is geared towards that.

Another option is to cold call/email local 1-10 attorney firms in your home area or school area and ask whether or not they need help. Maybe you can get lucky and get a paid position. If not at least the volunteer work might help your resume for future positions.

Also, you might want to seriously consider dropping out if you are taking on massive debt. The legal market is terrible and isn't getting that much better for schools below the t14.

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rayiner
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Re: Employment Advice for a 2L

Postby rayiner » Wed Oct 05, 2011 11:34 am

Anonymous User wrote:
cansohei11 wrote:I know there are a million of these threads, but I wanted to get some ideas for TLS'ers on how to improve my employment lot. I'm a current 2L at a lower T50 school, near full scholarship, but horrible grades. I'm currently rocking a 2.91 with median floating at the 3.0-something mark.

My grades consist of an A, some +B/B's, no -B's or C's... And one big, fat D in legal writing from 2nd semester. 1st semester I pulled a B+, but I totally fucked my brief second time around. Don't ask, I just did.

I've been working an externship with the DA, and have two internships from the past summer under my belt [PD's Office and Attorney General], and even had a couple of OCI interviews for Gov agencies and non-profits. I've also been doing well in Moot Court, and have added a few nice points on my resume because of it.

What else can I do? I know I'm bottom 1/2, I know I went to a TTTT school (i.e. not T14), but beyond burning the midnight oil studying (which I'm already doing) and brining my grades up some, how else can I strengthen my employment picture?

I really want to work in PI or Gov work, but am unsure of how these organizations hire. How does one break into a place like LegalAid? Or JusticeWorks? Of course I've heard interning at these organizations always helps, but interning alone won't get you a job. Is even PI work these days closed to the bottom 1/2?


Just because PI pays a lot lower than biglaw doesn't mean there is a HUGE difference in their requirements for grades. It isn't that easy to get a job in PI. Besides grades, they are really looking for someone that seems dedicated to public service. You have to start now by volunteering at legal aid... alcu... etc. Start building a resume that is geared towards that.

Another option is to cold call/email local 1-10 attorney firms in your home area or school area and ask whether or not they need help. Maybe you can get lucky and get a paid position. If not at least the volunteer work might help your resume for future positions.

Also, you might want to seriously consider dropping out if you are taking on massive debt. The legal market is terrible and isn't getting that much better for schools below the t14.


PI and government work these days is harder to get than big law. My friends who are top half at T14 are having a rough time finding decent PI gigs.

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gwuorbust
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Re: Employment Advice for a 2L

Postby gwuorbust » Wed Oct 05, 2011 12:17 pm

the problem with public interest is simply that hiring is much more about who-knows-who. I am in a great position to get a public interest gig at graduation because I SAed there over the summer and am still working with them. I am fresh in their minds and they don't give one shit about my grades. But if you are straight-up applying to positions posted on job boards, those are going to be as hard to get as biglaw. My suggestion is to start emailing non-profit organizations directly and see if they need someone to intern/volunteer. Prove yourself and make inroads. And if it doesn't seem like the organization could hire you at graduation, move on to somewhere else. You have basically six shots to do this (this semester, Spring semester, split your summer, and 3L fall, 3L spring). Stop burning the midnight oil and get out there.

Anonymous User
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Re: Employment Advice for a 2L

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Oct 05, 2011 12:17 pm

rayiner wrote:PI and government work these days is harder to get than big law. My friends who are top half at T14 are having a rough time finding decent PI gigs.


Yup. Know a few people who had to "settle" for biglaw because they couldn't get PI. PI as an alternative to biglaw doesn't exist ITE.

cansohei11
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Re: Employment Advice for a 2L

Postby cansohei11 » Wed Oct 05, 2011 12:38 pm

You guys basically summed up what I already thought, which really blows. I have no debt, nor will I have any when I graduate. I think I may be able to pull up my grades somewhat, maybe over the 3.0 mark, but that won't really do anything for me at this point I guess...

My choices now are between working as a SA for a small criminal defense firm, or working at a PIO that does family law. It sounds like from what you guys are telling me I should just shoot for the firm, as PI hiring is pretty much dead these days except for the top 1/4 or better.

My question at this point would be how do you tell if a firm is willing to keep you on after graduation? You can't really ask them straight up this early, and if you wait until the fall it may be too late. Is this just a judgment call on the SA's part? I know at times it is obvious if they will hire you, but other times its not.

Anonymous User
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Re: Employment Advice for a 2L

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Oct 05, 2011 12:42 pm

cansohei11 wrote:You guys basically summed up what I already thought, which really blows. I have no debt, nor will I have any when I graduate. I think I may be able to pull up my grades somewhat, maybe over the 3.0 mark, but that won't really do anything for me at this point I guess...

My choices now are between working as a SA for a small criminal defense firm, or working at a PIO that does family law. It sounds like from what you guys are telling me I should just shoot for the firm, as PI hiring is pretty much dead these days except for the top 1/4 or better.

My question at this point would be how do you tell if a firm is willing to keep you on after graduation? You can't really ask them straight up this early, and if you wait until the fall it may be too late. Is this just a judgment call on the SA's part? I know at times it is obvious if they will hire you, but other times its not.


No debt and you have a chance at a job lined up AS A LAWYER? Don't see anything here that blows. Sounds like you won the lottery.

cansohei11
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Re: Employment Advice for a 2L

Postby cansohei11 » Wed Oct 05, 2011 12:46 pm

I didn't think having the chance to take an SA position at a small firm next summer really means that I have a job lined up, I figured it was just another chance to meet more attorney's and try and network...

lolwat
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Re: Employment Advice for a 2L

Postby lolwat » Wed Oct 05, 2011 12:47 pm

The fact that you have a choice is already much better than most people! To answer your question though, just look at what the job is, most formal summer associate programs at firms are designed as the firm's primary post-graduation hiring strategy. Others are designed to be temporary and just for that summer. If it's unclear, then I think it's likely either temporary or "possible hire" after.

Go network. Volunteer. Intern. Talk to people, find out from them who else you can talk to, and talk to those people. Talk to everyone (without being desperate, obv.) Your grades aren't going to get you anything, so it's up to networking, proving yourself through your work product, and getting people to like you enough to ignore your grades.

Anonymous User
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Re: Employment Advice for a 2L

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Oct 05, 2011 12:50 pm

cansohei11 wrote:I didn't think having the chance to take an SA position at a small firm next summer really means that I have a job lined up, I figured it was just another chance to meet more attorney's and try and network...


I said you have a chance at having a job lined up. That's a lot more than most people.

showNprove
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Re: Employment Advice for a 2L

Postby showNprove » Wed Oct 05, 2011 12:56 pm

PI employers often have a 3.0 cutoff. If you need a goal, that should be it.

Anonymous User
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Re: Employment Advice for a 2L

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Oct 05, 2011 1:20 pm

I've done two public interest internships, Bronx DA's office, and another which I won't name. They generally don't care about grades. The second didn't ask for a transcript, I don't remember if the Bronx DA's office did but grades never came up in the interview. PI is much more interested in your commitment to public interest so having a background that you can point to is a huge plus. Focus more on volunteer work and internships during the school year than dedicating every waking moment to your grades.

cansohei11
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Re: Employment Advice for a 2L

Postby cansohei11 » Wed Oct 05, 2011 4:11 pm

On kind of a random side note, would working as a SA for a biglaw firm be pointless for me with my grades? Friend of my dad owes him a few big favors, and has repeatedly said I could work at the local satellite office as a SA, unpaid of course. Would this just be pointless, as it would obviously not lead to permanent employment? I almost did it last summer, but decided against it on those grounds.

I know with my interest in PI or small law, it probably wouldn't really help. But I can't help but wonder whether having a prestigious name on my resume would help in the end.

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5ky
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Re: Employment Advice for a 2L

Postby 5ky » Wed Oct 05, 2011 4:22 pm

cansohei11 wrote:On kind of a random side note, would working as a SA for a biglaw firm be pointless for me with my grades? Friend of my dad owes him a few big favors, and has repeatedly said I could work at the local satellite office as a SA, unpaid of course. Would this just be pointless, as it would obviously not lead to permanent employment? I almost did it last summer, but decided against it on those grounds.

I know with my interest in PI or small law, it probably wouldn't really help. But I can't help but wonder whether having a prestigious name on my resume would help in the end.


No, not of course. That would be unacceptable. A "big favor" does NOT involve you working as an SA and not getting paid.

Renzo
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Re: Employment Advice for a 2L

Postby Renzo » Wed Oct 05, 2011 8:42 pm

cansohei11 wrote:On kind of a random side note, would working as a SA for a biglaw firm be pointless for me with my grades? Friend of my dad owes him a few big favors, and has repeatedly said I could work at the local satellite office as a SA, unpaid of course. Would this just be pointless, as it would obviously not lead to permanent employment? I almost did it last summer, but decided against it on those grounds.

I know with my interest in PI or small law, it probably wouldn't really help. But I can't help but wonder whether having a prestigious name on my resume would help in the end.


Likely to hurt more than help. If you get one of those names on your resume and don't have an offer to come back, everyone will assume it's because you're a fuckup they didn't want back, and you will have to work to overcome this (unfair, particularly in this economy) assumption.

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BarbellDreams
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Re: Employment Advice for a 2L

Postby BarbellDreams » Wed Oct 05, 2011 8:47 pm

I'm not sure if its legal to work for big firms unpaid.

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gwuorbust
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Re: Employment Advice for a 2L

Postby gwuorbust » Wed Oct 05, 2011 8:52 pm

pretty sure there is this thing called "minimum wage."

cansohei11
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Re: Employment Advice for a 2L

Postby cansohei11 » Tue Feb 07, 2012 6:22 pm

I figured I'd revive this old thread just to get a pulse on how my situation has, or perhaps has not, changed since last semester.

I managed to pull my GPA up quite a bit, from a 2.91 to a 3.052. I'm still under the median, as it is a moving target, but now that I am over a 3.0 (and within a HAIR of top half) I wanted to know if my employment picture has improved at least somewhat. The answer is probably no, but what the hell I figured I'd ask.

As for the whole "work for free as an SA" thing, yeah that would have been stupid on my part. I DID want to know how important connections are in big law though. Are some solid connections enough to overcome a mediocre GPA? What if the school you attend is the best in it's "market?"

Lastly, how do you get a shitlaw job with a slip 'n fall shop/crim defense shop, short of trolling craigslist? These places are almost all solo joints. Any advice? I figure THESE are the jobs I need to get cooking on.

Sorry for the long, rambling post.




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