3L - Working vs. Trial Team, please help!

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3L - Working vs. Trial Team, please help!

Postby Anonymous User » Wed May 30, 2012 1:10 pm

Hi all,

I'm in a bit of a predicament and it's one I need to figure out in the next few hours, so any advice would be greatly appreciated. First, a little background about me - I go to a Tier 2 school, and am a rising 3L. In terms of stats, I'm in the top 20% of my class (just below top 15%), have moot court experience but no law review. This summer I'm working at a plaintiff's employment/civil rights firm, but I don't think I'll be able to leverage a job out of it because they don't hire new attorneys.

One of my biggest concerns is finding post-graduate employment. That being said, I have 2 potential options of things I can do next year:
- Option 1: I've been offered a spot on my school's most competitive trial ad team. The team is a Top 10 program according to U.S. News, is pretty highly regarded and has a network of alum who have done the team that are successful trial attorneys. However, most people that do this team are 2Ls, and the time commitment for it is extremely intense - possibly 40+ hours a week on top of classes. While I would be able to network with alum from the team and attorneys that get brought in during training, I'm also not sure that being on the team would directly help my resume at all or help with my job search. Being on this team would mean I could not work at all next year.

- Option 2: Work clerkships/internships during my 3L year, continue to network and hope that something I land next year eventually turns into a job. At the very least, I'll have more experiences on my resume.

Basically, given my situation it almost seems that I'd be working my tail off next year to do an extracurricular that might not even look that great to any potential employers that aren't directly connected to the team in some way. Any thoughts on all of this? Thank you!

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kalvano
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Re: 3L - Working vs. Trial Team, please help!

Postby kalvano » Wed May 30, 2012 1:46 pm

I would go option 2. The more people you can talk to about possible jobs, the better.

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Re: 3L - Working vs. Trial Team, please help!

Postby Anonymous User » Wed May 30, 2012 3:46 pm

Do whatever you think will open the most doors to jobs and networking. FWIW, based on my experience on my school's moot court team and friends on trial team, I don't think competition teams help much in networking unless you're really involved with them.

I'm also a huge proponent of judicial externships. I think you learn a ton and judges are always well connected and, from my experience, the vast majority are willing to help you out. Most of them seem to look at externs as mentees and take that to heart.

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Re: 3L - Working vs. Trial Team, please help!

Postby Anonymous User » Wed May 30, 2012 4:19 pm

OP, I think you are seriously overestimating the trial team commitment. 20 hours a week? Maybe. 40+? If you're putting that much time into it during non-competition weeks, you're doing it wrong. (I say this having ranked near the top of national tourneys 2L and 3L year and placing similarly at moot nationals.) Not even undergrad mockers, who can kick the shit out of 99.9% of law students at STAC/AAJ nationals, put in that much time.

I would say it's going to be a wash either way, unless one of these hypothetical internships/work opportunities has the potential to lead to post-grad employment. Another option is a for-credit externship or in-house clinic, if those are available. That way you are still doing some networking and gaining experience, and pounding out some credits. Obviously this is not an option at every school.

Also, as a trial team and moot team alum, I would say the bigger value is the skillset and resume-boost you get, not the networking with "successful trial team alums." (Though, to be fair, I do know of two people who got job offers at mock trial competitions from attorney-judges/spectators.) People on here like to shit on trial team/moot court, but in the real world a lot of employers see them as valuable. Sure, Biglaw firms likely are concerned about other things; but for the vast majority of law grads, they are still very helpful. Especially if you want to go public sector (pros/PD/govt litigation). I know several county attorneys' offices (Midwest state) that don't even look at applicants without some combination of trial team/externship/internship experience, given the craptastic quality of litigators they get when they hire "top" students.




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