Veteran Starting 2L

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machinebreakfast

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Veteran Starting 2L

Postby machinebreakfast » Fri Jul 21, 2017 3:42 pm

Hello

Not sure if this is the right place for this. I am about to start my 2L year and I am currently waiting for the OCI decisions to come back.

My question is about candidate appeal. I started law school later after serving in the military, my grades are good, not great but good, I am fluent in Mandarin and just got onto a law review. However, it took my 6 months in my 1L to find a job to hire me with no call backs from federal or private firms, while friends right out of college or with customer service/other unrelated firms got hired well before me. I am currently a law clerk at a firm doing personal injury/workman's comp/med mal work, and I am worried I am going to have the same problem for my 2L summer.

So the actual question is, am I not the type of candidate that firms are looking for? Does military experience or language fluency not appeal or is this just a reflection of the market?

I ask as I have a family and we are living off my wife's salary and my savings, but I am going to need a job when I graduate and I know I don't want to do what I am doing now so I would like to get some experience that may help me move to a more interesting field.

TL;DR - Older vet with a foreign language wondering why no one seems to want to hire him

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UVA2B

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Re: Veteran Starting 2L

Postby UVA2B » Fri Jul 21, 2017 3:50 pm

What school range are we talking about here?

Veteran status can be a decent plus in getting hired because of that real world experience, but you still have to have the school, grades, and interviewing skills to find success. You don't want to necessarily "play up" your experiences in the military because you risk going heavily into jargon and stories that the person interviewing you won't really understand, but if you use your experience to highlight why you'll be a good attorney for their firm/position, while avoiding too much military-speak, it could help. It sounds like you've done most things right in law school to this point with good grades and law review (but again, this is all relative to your school's placement where you're applying), so now you just need to hone your job application strategy and interview skills to nail down the job you want.

And don't let 1L hiring discourage you per se, but definitely think about what you did wrong in your 1L job search and see if you can improve on that.

What do you ideally want to do with a law degree?

machinebreakfast

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Re: Veteran Starting 2L

Postby machinebreakfast » Fri Jul 21, 2017 4:21 pm

I am currently going to a Top 100 school, in a town with a very insular legal community. I am also not from here, so I have no contacts.

I don't usually talk about my military experience at all during interviews, and I keep my jargon to a minimum. As for my 1L experience in interviewing for OCIs, I left every interview having a great feeling and having had a good conversation with all of my interviewers, or they faked it at least.

As for what I want to do with the law, I am not sure. I know from my current experience I don't want to work in personal injury type work, however I do like the competitive/adversarial nature of litigation. I am currently taking a lot of international courses in fall, and some language to satisfy a requirement for a grant I have as I feel my background lends itself well to that field. I have no real interest as to where I want to work as I was blessed with the ability to be interested in almost anything, and I love doing research.

I, like everyone else, would love a Biglaw job but not too excited about not seeing my son. I have worked longer hours for way less pay when I served so they don't scare me, and I am pretty sure I can survive it. I ideally want to work somewhere where I can get enough that my wife can work where she wants to work, and we aren't living paycheck to paycheck.

lolwat

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Re: Veteran Starting 2L

Postby lolwat » Fri Jul 21, 2017 4:26 pm

Difficult to post too many coherent thoughts from a phone, so i'll just focus on veteran and language proficiency. I would suspect both are soft pluses that cannot hurt and can only help, but the extent to which they help is limited and circumstantial. You still need the grades, the school recognition* (t13, well-regarded local school, whatever), etc. then veteran and language can give you a boost. Language might add to diversity or whatever but if a firm never has any Mandarin speaking clients or any practice group in which that is helpful then it probably won't help all that much.

Being older might factor in subconsciously but who knows. If you're getting interviews but not callbacks it could be something with the way you present yourself. Also don't be Gregory Berry.

lolwat

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Re: Veteran Starting 2L

Postby lolwat » Fri Jul 21, 2017 4:29 pm

Your first paragraph in the second post might be part of the problem. Okay grades at t100 school is difficult. And then you're in an insular legal market where you don't have ties, which means those in that market will look skeptically at you because they probably think you don't actually want to stay there

machinebreakfast

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Re: Veteran Starting 2L

Postby machinebreakfast » Fri Jul 21, 2017 4:50 pm

Thank you for the feedback UVA28 and lolwat.

Lolwat: I thought those issues might be the problem. Im an outsider, in the middle of the pack and I don't think my unique stuff are carrying me over. I will keep focusing on my interview skills/strategies and hopefully carry the day.



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