Is being a Research Assistant Worth it?

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Ravenclaw23
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Joined: Sat Nov 29, 2014 5:46 pm

Is being a Research Assistant Worth it?

Postby Ravenclaw23 » Tue Mar 24, 2015 1:13 pm

I’ve been asked to be a research assistant in my school’s writing center & I’m trying to decide if it’s worth my time. I’m planning on doing either law review or a journal next year already, so I’m just wondering if the time I’d need to invest in reading/editing a bunch of 1L papers is worth the time away from classes. For those who have been RAs, have people actually asked you about them in interviews? (Specially in the BigLaw context) Did anyone actually care that you did it? Did you see any value from it (other than the $)?

NotMyRealName09
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Re: Is being a Research Assistant Worth it?

Postby NotMyRealName09 » Tue Mar 24, 2015 2:23 pm

I was an RA for a prof. No one ever asked me about it (not NY biglaw for me btw, more like large Detroit firm). If you can get in good with the prof, that's the primary value. Maybe you get a name drop in an article footnote for doing research if you help out a lot. I didn't even really do that. I do still list it on my resume even now - just one line to show I've done different law related jobs and whatnot. This sounds more like you're a research bitch for faculty. Sure its a job though, and maybe you make a few bucks, get to work on research skills. Go ahead, but it's not going to open doors for you by itself.

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Avian
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Re: Is being a Research Assistant Worth it?

Postby Avian » Wed Mar 25, 2015 10:38 am

The main advantage of being a RA for a professor is that you might get a very good letter of recommendation if you want to go the clerkship route at some point. A LOR professor who is actually familiar with your research and writing skills will have more weight that a random professor whose class you got an A in. It sounds like the position you're describing is just a general research assistant for the writing center, will you have close interactions with a particular professor, or just general staff who work in the writing center?

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ph14
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Re: Is being a Research Assistant Worth it?

Postby ph14 » Wed Mar 25, 2015 10:29 pm

I think so.

(1) Depending on the position, you can learn a lot from working as an RA.
(2) You can develop a relationship, which can be very helpful to your professional career. I still keep in touch with a professor I worked for and it's nice having someone there who can provide advice.
(3) Similarly, you will have a much stronger letter of recommendation for clerkships/jobs. The professor will have something more meaningful to say than so and so did well in my class.

For what it's worth, I also recommend doing a supervised writing project for much the same reasons. You can also get class credit for this at some schools.

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bruinfan10
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Re: Is being a Research Assistant Worth it?

Postby bruinfan10 » Thu Mar 26, 2015 11:49 am

ph14 wrote:I think so.

(1) Depending on the position, you can learn a lot from working as an RA.
(2) You can develop a relationship, which can be very helpful to your professional career. I still keep in touch with a professor I worked for and it's nice having someone there who can provide advice.
(3) Similarly, you will have a much stronger letter of recommendation for clerkships/jobs. The professor will have something more meaningful to say than so and so did well in my class.

For what it's worth, I also recommend doing a supervised writing project for much the same reasons. You can also get class credit for this at some schools.

^^^This. Class credit + rec letter. I got a couple semesters of A's out of it and my prof called judges for me. Would recommend.




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