Do prospective employers care what you did in your year off?

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lexicon
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Oct 22, 2012 7:56 pm

Do prospective employers care what you did in your year off?

Postby lexicon » Mon Oct 22, 2012 8:07 pm

The year between graduating undergrad and starting law school, I didn't really do much of anything. I worked retail at the mall for a bit and then did some data entry for a friend's business. All less than 20 hours per week. I mostly relaxed.... and studied for the LSAT prior to October.

I did TRY to find a real, full-time job for a long time but there just aren't jobs out there.

Will prospective employers hold it against me that I didn't really use my degree?

I'm a 1L now btw.

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FlanAl
Posts: 1474
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2010 4:53 pm

Re: Do prospective employers care what you did in your year off?

Postby FlanAl » Mon Oct 22, 2012 8:15 pm

I'm not sure how much it hurts but it also depends on what you did in college as well. People with finance backgrounds at any point in time seem to fair better than those without. I had retail brought up in a lot of interviews. It usually goes "so did you do something in between college and law school?" "Yeah I worked retail spot". Conversation usually stops at that. Every other question get a "interesting, tell me about that." retail they just seem to give you a pass and not force you to bs how it was a great experience or whatever.

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FlanAl
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Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2010 4:53 pm

Re: Do prospective employers care what you did in your year off?

Postby FlanAl » Mon Oct 22, 2012 8:16 pm

ahh for 1L interviews they'll probably want to talk about it. Some bs about being a team player would probably work.

hookem14
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Joined: Thu Aug 30, 2012 12:07 am

Re: Do prospective employers care what you did in your year off?

Postby hookem14 » Mon Oct 22, 2012 8:28 pm

My prior but limited work experience definitely helped me. Quite a few partners commented that they like to see substantive experience just so they know the person can function outside of school. That being said, my grades were on the cusp for a lot of firms. Stellar 1L grades can overcome almost any deficit (it seems).

mrwhoppers
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Joined: Tue Oct 23, 2012 1:34 am

Re: Do prospective employers care what you did in your year off?

Postby mrwhoppers » Tue Oct 23, 2012 2:47 am

In general, I think prior WE can only help and poses little negative risk--with the caveat that it might matter more for 1L firm gigs, which are few and far between. Might also make a difference as a boost for some PI places that expect to see demonstrated interest, both 1L & 2L. For 2L OCI, good work experience can help, but I don't think lack of substantive experience hurts you so long as you cast it in the appropriate light.

I independently tutored for the LSAT during my year off, so I'd answer year off questions with something like, "Oh, I tutored for the LSAT to save some money, which I used to travel some and to visit various law schools I was considering." Interviewers would sometimes follow up with "So where'd you visit?" to which I'd reply with a canned answer about places I had previously visited (though not necessarily during the year off). Or they'd ask what schools I visited/considered, which was a good opportunity to humble brag. If that doesn't allay your fears, I feel relatively certain I got one callback in part because I explained to the interviewer what it was like to work in a factory during undergrad. He found blue collar work extremely amusing.

Anyhow, like others have/will say, grades are by far the most important thing. A K-JD with a 4.0 will find a biglaw home somewhere so long as he/she is a decent interview (read: possessed of average social skills and a little knowledgeable about OCI interviewing process).




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