Research Assistant.

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wildhaggis
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Research Assistant.

Postby wildhaggis » Mon Oct 01, 2012 11:40 am

How does it look on your resume to be a research assistant for a professor? I'm not talking about in comparison with an SA position or any other summer legal job. Rather, if you do this in your spare time over the course of a semester, do firms view this kind of thing favorably, or do they pay it no mind/think it's a joke?

Thanks in advance for the help.

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YankeesFan
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Re: Research Assistant.

Postby YankeesFan » Mon Oct 01, 2012 11:43 am

I have found it to be very beneficial and several interviewers have commented on about. During multiple interviews attorneys have told me that speaks well of my research/writing abilities and that they are confident that when they take RAs, they get good writers.

For reference I split my summer and spent one half as an RA and I am working as an RA/TA this year.

Gorki
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Re: Research Assistant.

Postby Gorki » Mon Oct 01, 2012 12:42 pm

wildhaggis wrote:How does it look on your resume to be a research assistant for a professor? I'm not talking about in comparison with an SA position or any other summer legal job. Rather, if you do this in your spare time over the course of a semester, do firms view this kind of thing favorably, or do they pay it no mind/think it's a joke?

Thanks in advance for the help.


I am RAing right now, and while I can't speak for all RA positions, I like it. The prof understands that I am a full time student and keeps the work load low. If anything, you will hopefully make a great impression and have a solid professor to write a clerkship LOR for you... Tons better than asking a random doctrinal class prof who is only casually aware of your abilities through class participation.

It is either brought up and is always a plus, or my interviewers do not even mention it (and while I cannot be sure, I believe it was a negative). I am RAing with a professor who is pretty well known in the legal community, and a lot of my interviewers had at least heard of the prof and their work.

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kalvano
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Re: Research Assistant.

Postby kalvano » Mon Oct 01, 2012 3:25 pm

I'm RA'ing for a prof now, and it's, at worst, a neutral thing. Some places seem to have liked it a lot, some don't care. It definitely won't hurt you.

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Br3v
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Re: Research Assistant.

Postby Br3v » Mon Oct 01, 2012 3:44 pm

(OL here) but the idea of being an RA seems like something I would be very interested in doing in law school. Is the process to become one (i undeerstand it probably varies by school) pretty formal? Informal? Are they highly sought after? I see multiple posters have stated that they are currently RA'ing. I imagined it being a summer gig, though I suppose that is not always the case then? Are they paid?

Lots of questions, anyone who can answer any of them without hijacking OP's thread, it would be greatly appreciated.

NotMyRealName09
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Re: Research Assistant.

Postby NotMyRealName09 » Mon Oct 01, 2012 5:03 pm

Really a case by case thing I think. In all my interviewing, I don't think it came up once. People were much more interested in my federal judicial externships, but your experience may vary.

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ph14
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Re: Research Assistant.

Postby ph14 » Mon Oct 01, 2012 5:06 pm

Br3v wrote:(OL here) but the idea of being an RA seems like something I would be very interested in doing in law school. Is the process to become one (i undeerstand it probably varies by school) pretty formal? Informal? Are they highly sought after? I see multiple posters have stated that they are currently RA'ing. I imagined it being a summer gig, though I suppose that is not always the case then? Are they paid?

Lots of questions, anyone who can answer any of them without hijacking OP's thread, it would be greatly appreciated.


Range from informal (going to visit a professor and asking) to formal (applying for a listed RA position). Lots of people do it. It could be a summer gig (although if it's your 2L summer a SA is preferable). At my school at least, most RA positions are paid.

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Br3v
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Re: Research Assistant.

Postby Br3v » Mon Oct 01, 2012 5:07 pm

ph14 wrote:
Br3v wrote:(OL here) but the idea of being an RA seems like something I would be very interested in doing in law school. Is the process to become one (i undeerstand it probably varies by school) pretty formal? Informal? Are they highly sought after? I see multiple posters have stated that they are currently RA'ing. I imagined it being a summer gig, though I suppose that is not always the case then? Are they paid?

Lots of questions, anyone who can answer any of them without hijacking OP's thread, it would be greatly appreciated.


Range from informal (going to visit a professor and asking) to formal (applying for a listed RA position). Lots of people do it. It could be a summer gig (although if it's your 2L summer a SA is preferable). At my school at least, most RA positions are paid.


Thanks. In the event one had lofty goals eyeing academia, would this be something good to do (assuming it's not in place of a SA), detrimental, or just another line on the resume?

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ph14
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Re: Research Assistant.

Postby ph14 » Mon Oct 01, 2012 5:09 pm

Br3v wrote:
ph14 wrote:
Br3v wrote:(OL here) but the idea of being an RA seems like something I would be very interested in doing in law school. Is the process to become one (i undeerstand it probably varies by school) pretty formal? Informal? Are they highly sought after? I see multiple posters have stated that they are currently RA'ing. I imagined it being a summer gig, though I suppose that is not always the case then? Are they paid?

Lots of questions, anyone who can answer any of them without hijacking OP's thread, it would be greatly appreciated.


Range from informal (going to visit a professor and asking) to formal (applying for a listed RA position). Lots of people do it. It could be a summer gig (although if it's your 2L summer a SA is preferable). At my school at least, most RA positions are paid.


Thanks. In the event one had lofty goals eyeing academia, would this be something good to do (assuming it's not in place of a SA), detrimental, or just another line on the resume?


Definitely! Get a chance to work pretty closely with a professor, which helps with connections and also depending on the work to contribute to a law review article (and learn how they are written). It's not going to make a difference in getting hired just from listing it on the resume. But it's worth doing for the reasons above.

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Br3v
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Re: Research Assistant.

Postby Br3v » Mon Oct 01, 2012 5:16 pm

ph14 wrote:
Br3v wrote:
ph14 wrote:
Br3v wrote:(OL here) but the idea of being an RA seems like something I would be very interested in doing in law school. Is the process to become one (i undeerstand it probably varies by school) pretty formal? Informal? Are they highly sought after? I see multiple posters have stated that they are currently RA'ing. I imagined it being a summer gig, though I suppose that is not always the case then? Are they paid?

Lots of questions, anyone who can answer any of them without hijacking OP's thread, it would be greatly appreciated.


Range from informal (going to visit a professor and asking) to formal (applying for a listed RA position). Lots of people do it. It could be a summer gig (although if it's your 2L summer a SA is preferable). At my school at least, most RA positions are paid.


Thanks. In the event one had lofty goals eyeing academia, would this be something good to do (assuming it's not in place of a SA), detrimental, or just another line on the resume?


Definitely! Get a chance to work pretty closely with a professor, which helps with connections and also depending on the work to contribute to a law review article (and learn how they are written). It's not going to make a difference in getting hired just from listing it on the resume. But it's worth doing for the reasons above.


Thank you. Little advice like this which I wouldn't have known otherwise is why I come to this site.

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ph14
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Re: Research Assistant.

Postby ph14 » Mon Oct 01, 2012 5:32 pm

Br3v wrote:
ph14 wrote:
Br3v wrote:
ph14 wrote:
Range from informal (going to visit a professor and asking) to formal (applying for a listed RA position). Lots of people do it. It could be a summer gig (although if it's your 2L summer a SA is preferable). At my school at least, most RA positions are paid.


Thanks. In the event one had lofty goals eyeing academia, would this be something good to do (assuming it's not in place of a SA), detrimental, or just another line on the resume?


Definitely! Get a chance to work pretty closely with a professor, which helps with connections and also depending on the work to contribute to a law review article (and learn how they are written). It's not going to make a difference in getting hired just from listing it on the resume. But it's worth doing for the reasons above.


Thank you. Little advice like this which I wouldn't have known otherwise is why I come to this site.


Glad to help. Another benefit of RA'ing is to develop relationships and get to know professors so you have better letters of recommendations if you want to clerk (and it's a good thing to have on the resume if you want to enter academia).

fluffybunny
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Re: Research Assistant.

Postby fluffybunny » Mon Oct 01, 2012 5:41 pm

I hated being an RA at first. The professor was cranky and incredibly demanding and the gig didn't pay that well.

Even so, it has been more than worth it. I got a law review publication out of the deal and, despite the professor's grumpy affect, he likes me and he consistently goes the extra mile to help me get my career off on the right foot. My connection to him got me a great job my 1L summer and I got a clerkship that's WAY out of my league because the professor called his judge friend to enthusiatically recommend me. Plus I got the usual stuff mentioned above (better research and writing skills, insight into legal academic, line on the resume, and so on).

Most professors aren't as prickly as this one, so I imagine many RAs get the benefits described above without the hassle. And even if a professor is particularly prickly, learning to work with difficult people is a shockingly important job skill.

RA work = good

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cinephile
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Re: Research Assistant.

Postby cinephile » Mon Oct 01, 2012 5:56 pm

You get more practice writing, get a better relationship with a professor, and get paid. That's why I'm doing it during the year. It was either this or an unpaid externship and quite frankly I prefer to get paid.

Gorki
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Re: Research Assistant.

Postby Gorki » Mon Oct 01, 2012 7:31 pm

Plus, RAing with a prof opens doors to meet other profs and practitioners in your market that you would never meet. My prof introduced me to a lot of other professors on campus and vouched for my abilities (this helped when I needed some direction on my LR note). He also introduced me to a few of his past RAs, one of whom is still a 3L, so I got to meet people I would otherwise never have reason to talk to. Just do remember its a job and you should treat it like one. I have not heard of many people getting canned from an RA position, but I have heard of profs being glad to be rid of their RAs at the end of the period, and I can only assume a prof would write very weak LORs for lazy/non-serious students.




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