Getting a law-related job

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mgp2675
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Getting a law-related job

Postby mgp2675 » Fri Oct 14, 2011 12:24 pm

I just had a question and I hope I'm posting this in the correct section.

I'll be graduating in May 2012 from Rutgers with an undergrad major in CJ, and minors in Sociology, Psychology and Criminology. I'll be taking the year off from going to law school so I can get the best possible LSAT score and apply early. I would however like to get some type of job in a law firm (preferably) and being a temporary paralegal came to mind. I'd like to get a feel for the hours I'd be working in the field, and be able to put that on my resumee. Besides just locating local law firms and walking in, what is the best way to go about this? Specific types of firms I should be looking at?

Thanks if you have some advice!

Matt

Danteshek
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Re: Getting a law-related job

Postby Danteshek » Sat Oct 15, 2011 4:05 pm

At this point, you are too young and inexperienced to really know what you want. Your understanding of the world is most likely severely limited. Right now you should focus on getting a professional job in another industry. Reassess the law school option in 3-5 years. But you will just ignore me, so I'm not sure what is the point of this exercise.

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Lawquacious
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Re: Getting a law-related job

Postby Lawquacious » Sat Oct 15, 2011 4:11 pm

mgp2675 wrote:I just had a question and I hope I'm posting this in the correct section.

I'll be graduating in May 2012 from Rutgers with an undergrad major in CJ, and minors in Sociology, Psychology and Criminology. I'll be taking the year off from going to law school so I can get the best possible LSAT score and apply early. I would however like to get some type of job in a law firm (preferably) and being a temporary paralegal came to mind. I'd like to get a feel for the hours I'd be working in the field, and be able to put that on my resumee. Besides just locating local law firms and walking in, what is the best way to go about this? Specific types of firms I should be looking at?

Thanks if you have some advice!

Matt


I do think working at a firm pre-law school can be a major boost for getting hired once you are in law school. But you would still have to do well in law school and preferably go to a highly-ranked school. I think some of the discouragement that I interpret to be directed at you in the previous post is due to the fact that the legal market is horrid right now (with few signs of real improvement IMO) and the cost of law school is generally very high with no guarantee of return.

But if you want to pursue law I don't think you should necessarily avoid it or put it off for a long time, as long as you inform yourself about the considerable risks involved in going to law school. I would recommend going for a large scholly at a school near where you want to practice, or perhaps investing sticker price at a top 10 school if you can get into one.

tlstlstls73
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Re: Getting a law-related job

Postby tlstlstls73 » Sat Oct 15, 2011 4:55 pm

No way does having a law-related job give you a leg up in finding a summer associate biglaw job in law school. Being a paralegal or law clerk gives you almost no practical experience as to what the job of an associate is.

Get a job in business, in sales, marketing, or anything -- most entry level jobs will pay more than an entry level paralegal or law clerk job and you will get substantive experience that will both open doors to you when you are applying for legal jobs and if you decide not to pursue law school, which is a whole different can of worms. Having an understanding of sales and business in any industry outside law gives you a valuable perspective that too many lawyers lack--and will serve you much better than a law-related job.

sebastian0622
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Re: Getting a law-related job

Postby sebastian0622 » Sat Oct 15, 2011 5:16 pm

A paralegal job will do basically nothing for you. You're better off in finance, real estate, or sales.

kams
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Re: Getting a law-related job

Postby kams » Sat Oct 15, 2011 5:22 pm

Getting a job as a paralegal for a large law firm will definitely help with getting a 2L summer associate gig. I know a two people who were summer associates at my firm who had so-so grades who said they thought they got the jobs because of their paralegal experience. A good friend of mine who's a 2L recently got a few biglaw offers after having only mediocre grades from BU, and she believes it's because she was a paralegal in the area she got the jobs from for a couple years. Obviously these people might have had other things going for them, and I think going to a highly-ranked school and grades are far more important, but I definitely think being a paralegal will be very beneficial especially since you're taking a year off anyways. I do think being more than just a temp paralegal would be required though. The people I knew had worked full-time for biglaw firms for at least a year.

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Wholigan
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Re: Getting a law-related job

Postby Wholigan » Sat Oct 15, 2011 5:45 pm

sebastian0622 wrote:A paralegal job will do basically nothing for you. You're better off in finance, real estate, or sales.

tlstlstls73 wrote:Get a job in business, in sales, marketing, or anything -- most entry level jobs will pay more than an entry level paralegal or law clerk job and you will get substantive experience that will both open doors to you when you are applying for legal jobs and if you decide not to pursue law school, which is a whole different can of worms.


You do realize, don't you, that the rest of the economy is not any better than the legal market? This guy is a Criminal Justice major right out of college. Who is going to hand him a finance, real estate, or marketing job when he has no work experience or academic background in these areas? While I am not in the camp that thinks being a paralegal will give you a leg up in hiring, if OP can get a job in the kind firm that he thinks he wants to work at, he can at least see if he might like that kind of work.

sebastian0622
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Re: Getting a law-related job

Postby sebastian0622 » Sat Oct 15, 2011 5:50 pm

Wholigan wrote:
sebastian0622 wrote:A paralegal job will do basically nothing for you. You're better off in finance, real estate, or sales.

tlstlstls73 wrote:Get a job in business, in sales, marketing, or anything -- most entry level jobs will pay more than an entry level paralegal or law clerk job and you will get substantive experience that will both open doors to you when you are applying for legal jobs and if you decide not to pursue law school, which is a whole different can of worms.


You do realize, don't you, that the rest of the economy is not any better than the legal market? This guy is a Criminal Justice major right out of college. Who is going to hand him a finance, real estate, or marketing job when he has no work experience or academic background in these areas? While I am not in the camp that thinks being a paralegal will give you a leg up in hiring, if OP can get a job in the kind firm that he thinks he wants to work at, he can at least see if he might like that kind of work.


Obviously if it's his only option, then of course he should take it. But if it were his only option, this entire thread would be irrelevant, so I'm assuming he is going to look for and potentially avail himself of other opportunities.

There are a lot of entry-level jobs in finance, real estate, and marketing for college grads, even in this economy. Do you know how many recent college grads, say, Wells Fargo hired last year? I don't know either, but I know a few personally, and I know the number is a hell of a lot more than zero. :D

tlstlstls73
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Re: Getting a law-related job

Postby tlstlstls73 » Sat Oct 15, 2011 5:54 pm

Wholigan wrote:
sebastian0622 wrote:A paralegal job will do basically nothing for you. You're better off in finance, real estate, or sales.

tlstlstls73 wrote:Get a job in business, in sales, marketing, or anything -- most entry level jobs will pay more than an entry level paralegal or law clerk job and you will get substantive experience that will both open doors to you when you are applying for legal jobs and if you decide not to pursue law school, which is a whole different can of worms.


You do realize, don't you, that the rest of the economy is not any better than the legal market? This guy is a Criminal Justice major right out of college. Who is going to hand him a finance, real estate, or marketing job when he has no work experience or academic background in these areas? While I am not in the camp that thinks being a paralegal will give you a leg up in hiring, if OP can get a job in the kind firm that he thinks he wants to work at, he can at least see if he might like that kind of work.


A condescending tone doesn't make your arguments more persuasive. Other industries are in far better shape than the legal market. Sure---paralegal is better than no job. That wasn't the point of the two responses you quoted. Even in this economy, a Rutgers humanities degree can land an entry level job in NYC or NJ. If it pays 40k, take it and don't look back.

kams
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Re: Getting a law-related job

Postby kams » Sat Oct 15, 2011 5:59 pm

tlstlstls73 wrote:
Wholigan wrote:
sebastian0622 wrote:A paralegal job will do basically nothing for you. You're better off in finance, real estate, or sales.

tlstlstls73 wrote:Get a job in business, in sales, marketing, or anything -- most entry level jobs will pay more than an entry level paralegal or law clerk job and you will get substantive experience that will both open doors to you when you are applying for legal jobs and if you decide not to pursue law school, which is a whole different can of worms.


You do realize, don't you, that the rest of the economy is not any better than the legal market? This guy is a Criminal Justice major right out of college. Who is going to hand him a finance, real estate, or marketing job when he has no work experience or academic background in these areas? While I am not in the camp that thinks being a paralegal will give you a leg up in hiring, if OP can get a job in the kind firm that he thinks he wants to work at, he can at least see if he might like that kind of work.


A condescending tone doesn't make your arguments more persuasive. Other industries are in far better shape than the legal market. Sure---paralegal is better than no job. That wasn't the point of the two responses you quoted. Even in this economy, a Rutgers humanities degree can land an entry level job in NYC or NJ. If it pays 40k, take it and don't look back.


In my opinion, a random entry-level job won't look as good as a paralegal job on his resume though. I believe the OP wanted a job for just a year to gain legal experience and to aid in job seeking during his 2L year.

tlstlstls73
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Re: Getting a law-related job

Postby tlstlstls73 » Sat Oct 15, 2011 6:06 pm

kams wrote: In my opinion, a random entry-level job won't look as good as a paralegal job on his resume though. I believe the OP wanted a job for just a year to gain legal experience and to aid in job seeking during his 2L year.


This is fair. But I think many entry level jobs would look better.

crazyblink653
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Re: Getting a law-related job

Postby crazyblink653 » Sat Oct 15, 2011 6:16 pm

while i definitely don't think the paralegal job itself will make a difference, i think it's better for the networking opportunities it presents. i'd bet money that the former paralegals who are successful at getting big law jobs with mediocre grades get them not because they had "Paralegal at XXX Firm" on their resume but because they made connections with attorneys while at the firm, showed genuine interest in the law, and/or proved themselves to be hard workers, leading people who matter at the firm to put in a good word for them.

it's never to early to start building your legal network, and if this guy knows he wants to practice, then he'd be better suited working as a paralegal than doing some entry level shit job for a year where he'll get very little experience. that said, i don't know if working as a temp paralegal will be enough; better to do it full time.

kams
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Re: Getting a law-related job

Postby kams » Sat Oct 15, 2011 6:22 pm

crazyblink653 wrote:while i definitely don't think the paralegal job itself will make a difference, i think it's better for the networking opportunities it presents. i'd bet money that the former paralegals who are successful at getting big law jobs with mediocre grades get them not because they had "Paralegal at XXX Firm" on their resume but because they made connections with attorneys while at the firm, showed genuine interest in the law, and/or proved themselves to be hard workers, leading people who matter at the firm to put in a good word for them.

it's never to early to start building your legal network, and if this guy knows he wants to practice, then he'd be better suited working as a paralegal than doing some entry level shit job for a year where he'll get very little experience. that said, i don't know if working as a temp paralegal will be enough; better to do it full time.


+1

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Wholigan
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Re: Getting a law-related job

Postby Wholigan » Sun Oct 16, 2011 1:07 pm

tlstlstls73 wrote:
Wholigan wrote:
sebastian0622 wrote:A paralegal job will do basically nothing for you. You're better off in finance, real estate, or sales.

tlstlstls73 wrote:Get a job in business, in sales, marketing, or anything -- most entry level jobs will pay more than an entry level paralegal or law clerk job and you will get substantive experience that will both open doors to you when you are applying for legal jobs and if you decide not to pursue law school, which is a whole different can of worms.


You do realize, don't you, that the rest of the economy is not any better than the legal market? This guy is a Criminal Justice major right out of college. Who is going to hand him a finance, real estate, or marketing job when he has no work experience or academic background in these areas? While I am not in the camp that thinks being a paralegal will give you a leg up in hiring, if OP can get a job in the kind firm that he thinks he wants to work at, he can at least see if he might like that kind of work.


A condescending tone doesn't make your arguments more persuasive. Other industries are in far better shape than the legal market. Sure---paralegal is better than no job. That wasn't the point of the two responses you quoted. Even in this economy, a Rutgers humanities degree can land an entry level job in NYC or NJ. If it pays 40k, take it and don't look back.

Your post made it seem rather easy to just snag one of these jobs. I know a fair amount of Rutgers grads (UG), and while some have jobs like you suggest the OP get, some others have non-degree required jobs. I'm pretty sure a marketing firm is not even going to give a $40k entry level job to a Rutgers grad with no marketing internships, no marketing or business major, minor, etc.

Anonymous User
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Re: Getting a law-related job

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Oct 16, 2011 1:52 pm

Find the most interesting job you can get, regardless of whether it is law related. Being a paralegal doesn't give you much of a boost at OCI (but it does make you weirdly insufferable in class--no one wants to interrupt a class to hear how your firm impleaded another party). Not being straight from UG is definitely a plus. Try to find a job where you can take a leadership role, even of a really small project, and that you can talk about at OCI.

mgp2675
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Re: Getting a law-related job

Postby mgp2675 » Mon Oct 17, 2011 8:41 am

Danteshek wrote:At this point, you are too young and inexperienced to really know what you want. Your understanding of the world is most likely severely limited. Right now you should focus on getting a professional job in another industry. Reassess the law school option in 3-5 years. But you will just ignore me, so I'm not sure what is the point of this exercise.


Responses like this are pointless.

mgp2675
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Re: Getting a law-related job

Postby mgp2675 » Mon Oct 17, 2011 8:45 am

Thank you everyone (except for the person I quoted above) for the responses. I'm 25, so I'm a little older than the average person finishing their undergrad because I wasn't going to go to college after high school. I had always planned to own my own business, which might still work out but I have a passion for law and I'm giving it my best attempt. I really appreciate any honest answers and I figured that they would be a little mixed.

I think I'm just going to get whatever job I can that pays decent so I can save up for law school. I could always work with my mom and start at around $60k since she's the dean of a school, but that has absolutely nothing to do with my career choice. We'll see...either way thank you.




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