0L legal employment advice

(On Campus Interviews, Summer Associate positions, Firm Reviews, Tips, ...)
Forum rules
Anonymous Posting

Anonymous posting is only appropriate when you are revealing sensitive employment related information about a firm, job, etc. You may anonymously respond on topic to these threads. Unacceptable uses include: harassing another user, joking around, testing the feature, or other things that are more appropriate in the lounge.

Failure to follow these rules will get you outed, warned, or banned.
Anonymous User
Posts: 273147
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

0L legal employment advice

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Nov 01, 2011 9:59 am

So Im going to law school in 2012 and currently have a low-paying govt. job. I feel like getting a temporary legal job will be good job/networking experience for me, and my employer knows that I am applying to law school and leaving some time in the next year, so the only issue there is I would be leaving a little earlier than that.

Threads about 0L employment seem to say just send out resumes and say you'll do anything. Others say no one will care about your 0L legal work experience. My questions are as follows;

1) Since a lot of places dont seem to advertise much for temporary-type 0L jobs, is there a better way to get employment with them aside from sending a resume to the prospective employer? Is there any difference between doing this with a court vs. a law firm?
2) If I want to work in local/state Govt (legal) one day, will working for a PD firm look bad for 0L? Should I only apply to local circuit/district courts and stay away from criminal defense firms? I would like to at least see what criminal defense is all about before I go all-in prosecuting.
3) Aside from what I could personally get from it, DOES 0L employment really matter if you arent going into something like patent/intellectual property law?

Anonymous User
Posts: 273147
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: 0L legal employment advice

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Nov 01, 2011 10:20 am

After my OCI experience, it seems like the firms responded well when I showed them experiences in the past that I demonstrated commitment to client service, taking responsibility to finish projects, and attention to detail.

You could honestly be a baker or candle-stick maker and have better talking points than doing legal filing for a law firm. Firms will teach you the law. They don't want to have to teach you how to be responsible, to go the extra mile, to understand that the business is driven by clients.

I wouldn't worry too much about the actual type of work you are doing as much as the amount of responsibility and interpersonal skills you are gaining.

lawschoolgrapedme
Posts: 205
Joined: Thu Jun 30, 2011 2:12 pm

Re: 0L legal employment advice

Postby lawschoolgrapedme » Tue Nov 01, 2011 10:23 am

the only pre-law work experience bump I have seen were for people who wanted corp and worked in investment banking or some other high finance field

Anonymous User
Posts: 273147
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: 0L legal employment advice

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Nov 01, 2011 10:39 am

Anonymous User wrote:After my OCI experience, it seems like the firms responded well when I showed them experiences in the past that I demonstrated commitment to client service, taking responsibility to finish projects, and attention to detail.

You could honestly be a baker or candle-stick maker and have better talking points than doing legal filing for a law firm. Firms will teach you the law. They don't want to have to teach you how to be responsible, to go the extra mile, to understand that the business is driven by clients.

I wouldn't worry too much about the actual type of work you are doing as much as the amount of responsibility and interpersonal skills you are gaining.

OP here, I was under the impression that if you want to get into prosecution, showing dedication and interest early on is very important. Is your advice from OCI geared more towards biglaw-type jobs? I know that I would only be doing menial, filing type work as an 0L but I still want to see if I could see myself at a PD firm - I dont want to risk it though if it will hurt my chances at prosecution. I also already have my current job and other internship experiences doing public-interest type work, so I dont think it will be too hard to convince employers that I'm really into this stuff.

c3pO4
Posts: 835
Joined: Wed Oct 19, 2011 1:34 pm

Re: 0L legal employment advice

Postby c3pO4 » Tue Nov 01, 2011 11:07 am

Anonymous User wrote:So Im going to law school in 2012 and currently have a low-paying govt. job. I feel like getting a temporary legal job will be good job/networking experience for me, and my employer knows that I am applying to law school and leaving some time in the next year, so the only issue there is I would be leaving a little earlier than that.

Threads about 0L employment seem to say just send out resumes and say you'll do anything. Others say no one will care about your 0L legal work experience. My questions are as follows;

1) Since a lot of places dont seem to advertise much for temporary-type 0L jobs, is there a better way to get employment with them aside from sending a resume to the prospective employer? Is there any difference between doing this with a court vs. a law firm?
2) If I want to work in local/state Govt (legal) one day, will working for a PD firm look bad for 0L? Should I only apply to local circuit/district courts and stay away from criminal defense firms? I would like to at least see what criminal defense is all about before I go all-in prosecuting.
3) Aside from what I could personally get from it, DOES 0L employment really matter if you arent going into something like patent/intellectual property law?


You are all over the place and getting way ahead of yourself. Stay at your current job. None of the concerns you have are valid and your questions demonstrate that you don't actually have a clue what you want to do, not that you will be able to affect that as an 0L.

PeanutHead
Posts: 78
Joined: Sun Jun 12, 2011 4:01 pm

Re: 0L legal employment advice

Postby PeanutHead » Tue Nov 01, 2011 11:23 am

lawschoolgrapedme wrote:the only pre-law work experience bump I have seen were for people who wanted corp and worked in investment banking or some other high finance field


I disagree with this being the only way to get a WE bump.

Anonymous User wrote:it seems like the firms responded well when I showed them experiences in the past that I demonstrated commitment to client service, taking responsibility to finish projects, and attention to detail.


This is much more on point, at least in my experience. I started a small business straight out of UG (non professional field oriented), and got tons of positive feedback on this. I hammered home every chance i had that the most important thing is dealing with clients, being responsible, putting in whatever hours are needed to get the job done, blah blah blah.

I would stay at your current job and when it comes to OCI just have a good story about how you learned client relation skills and so on. You'll be competing against a bunch of kids straight outta UG, so any real world experience is better than what they have.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273147
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: 0L legal employment advice

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Nov 01, 2011 11:48 am

c3pO4 wrote:You are all over the place and getting way ahead of yourself. Stay at your current job. None of the concerns you have are valid and your questions demonstrate that you don't actually have a clue what you want to do, not that you will be able to affect that as an 0L.

Could you maybe elaborate?
PeanutHead wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:it seems like the firms responded well when I showed them experiences in the past that I demonstrated commitment to client service, taking responsibility to finish projects, and attention to detail.


This is much more on point, at least in my experience. I started a small business straight out of UG (non professional field oriented), and got tons of positive feedback on this. I hammered home every chance i had that the most important thing is dealing with clients, being responsible, putting in whatever hours are needed to get the job done, blah blah blah.

I would stay at your current job and when it comes to OCI just have a good story about how you learned client relation skills and so on. You'll be competing against a bunch of kids straight outta UG, so any real world experience is better than what they have.

TBF, I dont have much experience with clients at my current job and when school starts Ill only have been here a little over 2 years and that will have been the extent of my "professional career."

So basically what I am hearing is that there is no personal/experiential/networking value in working for a law firm as an 0L? Not even worth it to get employment somewhere to see if I would like it?

I'm appreciating the advice from everyone!

c3pO4
Posts: 835
Joined: Wed Oct 19, 2011 1:34 pm

Re: 0L legal employment advice

Postby c3pO4 » Tue Nov 01, 2011 11:52 am

Anonymous User wrote:
c3pO4 wrote:You are all over the place and getting way ahead of yourself. Stay at your current job. None of the concerns you have are valid and your questions demonstrate that you don't actually have a clue what you want to do, not that you will be able to affect that as an 0L.

Could you maybe elaborate?


Bored in class, so I'll bite.

You mention criminal defense, prosecution, and IP in the same breath. Also, you probably only want to do prosecution because you like Law and Order.

The bottom line has already been stated over and over ITT and elsewhere---0L employment is great but it doesn't matter what you do. You can spin being a janitor into a positive because you are willing to "get down on your knees and get dirty," which firms like. Firms like people with WE because most law school kids are entitled idiots who either came strait from UG or from an MA program and have no clue what it actually means to work every day.

Also, working in the legal field as a secretary/paralegal is arguably something that hurts you unless its at a biglaw firm where you want to go back, because your interviewers might look down on you as the help (newsflash: lawyers are dicks).

Just chill at your job and relax because 1L is hell ITE; the stakes are super high. Don't switch jobs less than a year before you matriculate.

PeanutHead
Posts: 78
Joined: Sun Jun 12, 2011 4:01 pm

Re: 0L legal employment advice

Postby PeanutHead » Tue Nov 01, 2011 11:54 am

Anonymous User wrote:TBF, I dont have much experience with clients at my current job and when school starts Ill only have been here a little over 2 years and that will have been the extent of my "professional career."


Ok. At least in my opinion you are missing the point. Yes it would be great if you had tons of client interaction and had worked at GS for 6 years before deciding that a legal career would be just too incredibly awesome to pass up. The reality is that is a very small amount of law school students. You "don't have much experience" but the trick is figuring out how to articulate what you learned from that experience to future employers. I think legal employers really look to hear just basic stuff. I learned to call clients back, I learned to listen to all their concerns and try to address them, I learned to try and spend time thinking of creative solutions to some random problem they were having. You don't want to overstate what you have done b/c that will be obvious as well, but just create a couple positive narratives about what you have learned and be ready to plunk them down when given the opportunity.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273147
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: 0L legal employment advice

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Nov 01, 2011 12:52 pm

Since you specifically asked about IP/patent law, I have a relevant answer:
I am currently a 1L and have 2 patent firms interested in hiring me, but nothing official. I have work experience with both software and hardware and attend a T14 and I have an EE degree. I believe my work experience played an important role since it is directly related to my future in IP. Both my EE academic and work credentials are stellar.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273147
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: 0L legal employment advice

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Nov 01, 2011 1:08 pm

Stay at your job. Jumping around to some other short term temp thing makes you look flaky, and unless that's outweighed by what a great experience you'll have (it won't be), it's not worth it.

If you really want to try PD, then intern part-time during the school year.




Return to “Legal Employment”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.