"Relevant Pre-Law Work Experience"

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gellisc
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"Relevant Pre-Law Work Experience"

Postby gellisc » Tue Jun 26, 2012 1:03 pm

I'm not even in law school yet (oct. lsat) and I must honestly say, I'm a little paranoid about job prospects. Although I have heard that the lawyer market should begin to rebound some within the next 2-3 years, can anyone direct me to any websites that expound on that possibility. Also, I was reading another thread in this forum and someone mentioned that having relevant work experience prior to enrolling in law school can be beneficial in obtaining that first summer internship, especially if you dont find yourself in the top 1-20%. Here is my work experience and Im curious to know if/how I could market it as relevant:

1.5 yr banking experience as a Retail Banking Management Trainee at a midsize bank
1 yr as a Nursing Assistant at the worlds leading cancer hospital
2 years as a patient service coordinator (glorified unit secretary)
and several years waiting tables
now none of this is necessarily jaw dropping, but could I use such experiences to my advantage?
Also, if it makes any difference, I am of the African American persuasion.

George

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inthebeginning
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Re: "Relevant Pre-Law Work Experience"

Postby inthebeginning » Tue Jun 26, 2012 1:08 pm

tagging

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thelaststraw05
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Re: "Relevant Pre-Law Work Experience"

Postby thelaststraw05 » Tue Jun 26, 2012 1:43 pm

gellisc wrote:I'm not even in law school yet (oct. lsat) and I must honestly say, I'm a little paranoid about job prospects. Although I have heard that the lawyer market should begin to rebound some within the next 2-3 years, can anyone direct me to any websites that expound on that possibility. Also, I was reading another thread in this forum and someone mentioned that having relevant work experience prior to enrolling in law school can be beneficial in obtaining that first summer internship, especially if you dont find yourself in the top 1-20%. Here is my work experience and Im curious to know if/how I could market it as relevant:

1.5 yr banking experience as a Retail Banking Management Trainee at a midsize bank
1 yr as a Nursing Assistant at the worlds leading cancer hospital
2 years as a patient service coordinator (glorified unit secretary)
and several years waiting tables
now none of this is necessarily jaw dropping, but could I use such experiences to my advantage?
Also, if it makes any difference, I am of the African American persuasion.

George


Honestly, I would expect that experience would be more helpful in that you can utilize connections. The fact that law school will be your entry into a 3rd career in under 5 years won't offer an employer any comfort about how likely you are to stick around.

I think its usefulness all comes down to whether you can make it tell a helpful story about why you would be a good attorney.

NotMyRealName09
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Re: "Relevant Pre-Law Work Experience"

Postby NotMyRealName09 » Tue Jun 26, 2012 1:57 pm

Frame yourself as interested in healthcare law, which seems obvious when I say it, but there you go.

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IAFG
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Re: "Relevant Pre-Law Work Experience"

Postby IAFG » Tue Jun 26, 2012 2:05 pm

NotMyRealName09 wrote:Frame yourself as interested in healthcare law, which seems obvious when I say it, but there you go.

Who is hiring for that though? It doesn't make sense to sell yourself to a very small niche, unless you're applying to one or the rare firms that is prominent in that area. Even then, administrative experience isn't really going to impress firms like that. I think there is a real danger in pitching one's self as wanting to do something specialized.

gellisc
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Re: "Relevant Pre-Law Work Experience"

Postby gellisc » Tue Jun 26, 2012 2:10 pm

yeah I would totally fabricate an interest in healthcare law just to get into law school although I have no desire to practice such law. My undergrad degree is in international studies and econ so Im much more interested in practicing in some capacity under corporate law.
and the time span isnt exactly 5 years. I graduated college in '03 did banking from 05-06 basically and healthcare has been since 09.

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DCDuck
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Re: "Relevant Pre-Law Work Experience"

Postby DCDuck » Tue Jun 26, 2012 2:13 pm

I got a job by selling myself as qualified for a niche practice area based on previous work experience. The trick is to play up your focus for firms with a practice group in that area, and play down specialized experience for more general-practice job. Not all cover letters/resumes need to be identical. Tailor each to the position you're applying for.

Market your health care experience to firms with health law practices, banking experience to firms iwth financial groups, etc. Whether your experience is substantive enough to help you with specific practice groups is another issue. It will depend on how you sell it.

2012JayDee
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Re: "Relevant Pre-Law Work Experience"

Postby 2012JayDee » Tue Jun 26, 2012 2:25 pm

gellisc wrote:I'm not even in law school yet (oct. lsat) and I must honestly say, I'm a little paranoid about job prospects. Although I have heard that the lawyer market should begin to rebound some within the next 2-3 years, can anyone direct me to any websites that expound on that possibility. Also, I was reading another thread in this forum and someone mentioned that having relevant work experience prior to enrolling in law school can be beneficial in obtaining that first summer internship, especially if you dont find yourself in the top 1-20%. Here is my work experience and Im curious to know if/how I could market it as relevant:

1.5 yr banking experience as a Retail Banking Management Trainee at a midsize bank
1 yr as a Nursing Assistant at the worlds leading cancer hospital
2 years as a patient service coordinator (glorified unit secretary)
and several years waiting tables
now none of this is necessarily jaw dropping, but could I use such experiences to my advantage?
Also, if it makes any difference, I am of the African American persuasion.

George


1. These are not careers. They were jobs. A career is one in which you begin at the entry level and work towards progressively more responsibility or more of a managerial capacity. None of your w/e seems to indicate that was the case.
2. You basically have 3.5 years of work experience and the best thing you can do to highlight this experience is to talk about what you learned or what you got from it, how it makes you more mature, understanding of others, blah, blah blah. Maybe you can get a good letter of recommendation from a recent employer.
3. Unless you actually care about health law don't try and spin this like you do. It won't matter if you don't care about health law, or medical malpractice or anything else that tries to weave working in a hospital for a year with going to law school.
4. Your relevant work experience is more relevant if you have attained some actual level of skill that an employer may find beneficial and that shows that you have some kind of knowledge that can be used. If you don't then your work experience is just going to show that perhaps you've lived out in the world in a setting other than academia.
5. I assume "of the African American persuasion" means you are African American. This has nothing to do with work experience. It's just something else that will be considered by the admissions committees, and has nothing to do with your work experience.
6. Your first summer job is not the job you should be the most worried about. Many people take legal jobs after the first summer that don't amount to much afterwards, are in areas of law they have no intention of pursuing, are of little to no interest to them, and do not end up getting a return offer for the following summer.
7. The legal market will probably continue to rebound over the next 2-3 years but the ability to get certain types of jobs out of law school will likely not change too much (i.e., good GPA/rank, law school softs/journal/moot court)

gellisc
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Re: "Relevant Pre-Law Work Experience"

Postby gellisc » Tue Jun 26, 2012 5:24 pm

They definitely were just jobs. I had quite a bit of family pressure to pursue an md, my brother did it, his wife did, I said I wanted to do it as a kid and have 4 cousins that also did it, so I just largely felt, that I'm pretty good in the sciences, its a good/rewarding career so why not. But I couldn't/can't fake it any longer. And the only reason why I switched to healthcare is because this hospital has a GREAT tuition advancement and reimbursement program. In regards to the first summer job, I was under the impression that your first semester grades determine the quality of that 1st internship, and if you suck then you get a sucky internship ie: not big law. I do feel that declaring a specialization would be retarded early on and only see value in doing so in the application process where I could tailor my ps around my experiences in healthcare.

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DCDuck
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Re: "Relevant Pre-Law Work Experience"

Postby DCDuck » Tue Jun 26, 2012 5:35 pm

Biglaw hiring is typically based on first-year grades, but the job is for 2L summer, not 1L. Big firms typically hire people at the beginning of the second year. First year job is not particularly important (except for networking/learning/exposure to the field) so long as it is law-related. That also gives people time to figure out if there are particular practice areas that they are interested in/well-suited for, or at least give people an idea of litigation v. corporate.

linquest
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Re: "Relevant Pre-Law Work Experience"

Postby linquest » Tue Jun 26, 2012 11:43 pm

Pre-LS work experience and 1L jobs CAN help you with legal employment. For example, RN might be helpful credential to get into med-mal, and working as a Compliance Manager in a hospital would probably help with firms that represent a lot of healthcare providers. However, your healthcare industry experience isn't sufficiently relevant or high-level enough to make much of a difference in legal hiring. I don't know enough about the banking trainee job to say how you could spin that for business specialties. Also, the fact that you left banking for a totally different field, and so much time has passed since makes it pretty difficult to feign an interest, or show how any substantive knowledge is relevant, to that specialty.

r6_philly
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Re: "Relevant Pre-Law Work Experience"

Postby r6_philly » Wed Jun 27, 2012 12:22 am

Your jobs were customer service oriented. Law is a customer service profession (both externally to clients, and internally to partners/associates who will be giving you work). You obviously have customer service skills in a professional capacity and in a personal capacity (so it's vastly superior than retail, for example). I don't know anything about health law, but your customer service skills will be valued greatly by any firm if you sell it right. So make sure you make that a part of your presentation.

gellisc
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Re: "Relevant Pre-Law Work Experience"

Postby gellisc » Wed Jun 27, 2012 12:54 am

philly: thanks for that angle. i NEVER thought to touch on that and make it a selling point! And i must say that my track record in customer service is awesome.

vegeta
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Re: "Relevant Pre-Law Work Experience"

Postby vegeta » Wed Jun 27, 2012 1:12 am

I would also post anonymously in the future if you're going to put such unique information that would allow people with enough curiosity to figure out who you are.

r6_philly
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Re: "Relevant Pre-Law Work Experience"

Postby r6_philly » Wed Jun 27, 2012 1:26 am

vegeta wrote:I would also post anonymously in the future if you're going to put such unique information that would allow people with enough curiosity to figure out who you are.


I may be the only person on here to say, so what?

gellisc
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Re: "Relevant Pre-Law Work Experience"

Postby gellisc » Wed Jun 27, 2012 8:02 am

uh, what's the big deal about posting "unique" information? are some people on this site looking for opportunities to derail the academic and professional pursuits of some people by finding out who they are and use generate whatever comments they made to generate some sort of clandestine black list? I seriously don't get it...

dixiecupdrinking
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Re: "Relevant Pre-Law Work Experience"

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Wed Jun 27, 2012 8:11 am

gellisc wrote:uh, what's the big deal about posting "unique" information? are some people on this site looking for opportunities to derail the academic and professional pursuits of some people by finding out who they are and use generate whatever comments they made to generate some sort of clandestine black list? I seriously don't get it...

It's more like you shouldn't make it trivially easy for employers to locate your posts with a quick Google search. Low likelihood of it happening but potentially bad if you end up speaking too candidly about a job, etc.

vegeta
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Re: "Relevant Pre-Law Work Experience"

Postby vegeta » Wed Jun 27, 2012 9:07 am

r6_philly wrote:
vegeta wrote:I would also post anonymously in the future if you're going to put such unique information that would allow people with enough curiosity to figure out who you are.


I may be the only person on here to say, so what?


What if dude ends up posting in another forum about his wild night of drinking? Or next year he forgets he wrote this, and he ends up writing non-anonymously about his sucky summer internship? Why put your personal information if you really don't need to?

(And slowly, your Fourth Amendment rights are disappearing).

Anonymous User
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Re: "Relevant Pre-Law Work Experience"

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jun 27, 2012 9:22 am

Apply for the Divsersity positions, don't do poorly and you will likely get a 1L summer position.

r6_philly
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Re: "Relevant Pre-Law Work Experience"

Postby r6_philly » Wed Jun 27, 2012 11:17 pm

vegeta wrote:
r6_philly wrote:
vegeta wrote:I would also post anonymously in the future if you're going to put such unique information that would allow people with enough curiosity to figure out who you are.


I may be the only person on here to say, so what?


What if dude ends up posting in another forum about his wild night of drinking? Or next year he forgets he wrote this, and he ends up writing non-anonymously about his sucky summer internship? Why put your personal information if you really don't need to?

(And slowly, your Fourth Amendment rights are disappearing).


How about, why post stuff you would not want to own up to on the Internet? You would have nothing to hide from if you don't have nothing to hide from.

So, don't post anything about your wild night of drinking (why would one share that with a bunch of strangers?) or don't post about your sucky summer internship (seriously? No friends IRL? That would be a bigger problem).

See I was brought up before all this social networking/google thing. You learn to be smart and not do stupid things even when you are alone.

Dreas
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Re: "Relevant Pre-Law Work Experience"

Postby Dreas » Thu Jun 28, 2012 12:18 am

.

gellisc
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Re: "Relevant Pre-Law Work Experience"

Postby gellisc » Thu Jun 28, 2012 10:52 am

Exactly. If there is any student pursing a masters + level of education and they post things that are clearly not everyones business, then that person might want to look into the University of Phoenix Masters program in Mastering Common Sense




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