Applying for a Paralegal Job as a gap year

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Anonymous User
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Applying for a Paralegal Job as a gap year

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Oct 25, 2009 10:10 am

Hey all,

Posting anonymously because I am currently applying to law schools (as an undergrad) and don't want to broadcast that I would really like to defer for a year, no matter where I get in. Probably paranoid and unnecessary, but anyway...

I'm a fairly young undergrad (would have just turned 22 starting law school, if I go straight through) so I want to defer law school, either to do Teach for America for two years or be a paralegal for one. I would like to do Big Law just to see if working as a lawyer in the field actually interests me, but I realize that these jobs are probably very competitive ITE and would rather be a paralegal somewhere than nowhere. How does one go about finding and applying for these kinds of jobs? I would like to work in a city where I am likely to have friends from undergrad (NYC, DC, Chicago or a big city in the Southeast).

Any advice appreciated. Thanks.

Anonymous User
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Re: Applying for a Paralegal Job as a gap year

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Oct 25, 2009 10:32 am

1) I'm a 22 year old 1L, its not at all young
2) Being a paralegal sucks and doesn't teach yopu much about big law except to show you first had the hours are long and people work hard
3) A lot of people get these jobs by knowing someone at the firm. The jobs are posted on firm websites, local news papers, internet resources and yes, they are hard to get especially in this economy when you can have J.D.'s take the jobs there are so many out there unemployed right now.

I would say don't do it. If you want to take a year off go tour the world and if you need money get any other job, but if you go to law school law will be your life for life, do something else now if for no other reason then to experience something different (a job, a place, a lifestyle...).

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elliefont
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Re: Applying for a Paralegal Job as a gap year

Postby elliefont » Sun Oct 25, 2009 10:35 am

not sure about finding paralegal jobs, but why don't you just apply for the jobs you want and then apply for law school when you're ready to go instead of asking for deferals? no need to apply for law school now, your score stays good for years. the experience will likely help your application, references, etc.

oneforship
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Re: Applying for a Paralegal Job as a gap year

Postby oneforship » Sun Oct 25, 2009 10:36 am

Why are these anonymous?

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underachiever
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Re: Applying for a Paralegal Job as a gap year

Postby underachiever » Sun Oct 25, 2009 11:06 am

oneforship wrote:Why are these anonymous?


I posted 2nd, it was an accident that it was anonymous

ziggysmarley
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Re: Applying for a Paralegal Job as a gap year

Postby ziggysmarley » Sun Oct 25, 2009 7:41 pm

I would suggest taking the time off and working for a year or two. You can learn a lot as a Biglaw paralegal, and work experience will help you when it comes to getting a 2L job. I would suggest checking with your UG's job center for listings, otherwise you can see if there are job openings via firm's individual websites. It may be tough finding a paralegal position in this economy, since support staff were laid off en masse over the last year... but you may get lucky.

Pearalegal
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Re: Applying for a Paralegal Job as a gap year

Postby Pearalegal » Sun Oct 25, 2009 7:52 pm

Anonymous User wrote:1) I'm a 22 year old 1L, its not at all young
2) Being a paralegal sucks and doesn't teach yopu much about big law except to show you first had the hours are long and people work hard
3) A lot of people get these jobs by knowing someone at the firm. The jobs are posted on firm websites, local news papers, internet resources and yes, they are hard to get especially in this economy when you can have J.D.'s take the jobs there are so many out there unemployed right now.


I'm not sure where this person is getting his/her knowledge, but its pretty off. Most large firms have a 1 or 2 year paralegal program that they fill with newly graduated undergrads. In no way would a JD be considered for these positions.

I only know of one paralegal at my firm who knew someone at the firm (out of the 30 currently working, including my year and the year below me).

Being a paralegal can suck, just as being an attorney can suck and everyother job can suck. However, the job does teach you a ton. You assist on basically all levels of litigation and can be a great experience.

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just a girl
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Re: Applying for a Paralegal Job as a gap year

Postby just a girl » Sun Oct 25, 2009 8:05 pm

I had a bunch of friends who got paralegal jobs right out of undergrad in NYC Biglaw firms, and I think most of them required a 2 year commitment. So you may not want to go into there with the intention of leaving in less than a year; most firms probably wouldn't like it, and you may harm your ties if you hope to get a job with the firm after graduation. (I don't know this for a fact, but why chance things?) Also, you shouldn't count on getting a deferral, especially for something like working as a paralegal to avoid the potential OCI problems for another year. If law school applications are up, which they probably are because of the economy, I would think deferrals would be less likely, since they could fill their classes easily and may not want to hold your spot when it could go to someone even better who would matriculate that year.

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Kompressor
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Re: Applying for a Paralegal Job as a gap year

Postby Kompressor » Sun Oct 25, 2009 8:53 pm

just a girl wrote:I had a bunch of friends who got paralegal jobs right out of undergrad in NYC Biglaw firms, and I think most of them required a 2 year commitment. So you may not want to go into there with the intention of leaving in less than a year; most firms probably wouldn't like it, and you may harm your ties if you hope to get a job with the firm after graduation. (I don't know this for a fact, but why chance things?) Also, you shouldn't count on getting a deferral, especially for something like working as a paralegal to avoid the potential OCI problems for another year. If law school applications are up, which they probably are because of the economy, I would think deferrals would be less likely, since they could fill their classes easily and may not want to hold your spot when it could go to someone even better who would matriculate that year.


I don't think firms really care if you leave early to go to law school. I know the one I worked for didn't. It's more designed to keep you from leaving to go to other firms.

sven
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Re: Applying for a Paralegal Job as a gap year

Postby sven » Sun Oct 25, 2009 9:30 pm

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Last edited by sven on Mon Jul 23, 2012 10:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Anonymous User
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Re: Applying for a Paralegal Job as a gap year

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 26, 2009 2:26 pm

As a former paralegal at a "big firm" and current law student, I'd say the advice is fairly accurate.

1) It is possible to get in without connections, but you need to have gone to a TOP UG. If you didn't and you don't know someone, good luck.
2) And the two year time limit is definitely encouraged. And definitely DON'T go in saying you plan on going to law school. They assume most 22 year olds who are applying for para positions eventually want to go to law school, but you don't need to tell them that.
3) And I would agree that 2 years of being a para isn't going to be the golden ticket to score you a good job for your summer. However, it will teach you how to behave like an adult, and will usually help in interviewing unlike some of the kids who go straight through who have no idea what is appropriate and what is not. Also, with similar stats, your two year work history may be beneficial.

Good luck




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