Extracurriculars: Time sucks, traps, or opportunities?

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SaulGoodmansEvilTwin

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Extracurriculars: Time sucks, traps, or opportunities?

Postby SaulGoodmansEvilTwin » Wed Sep 07, 2016 2:57 am

Entering my second month at school, I see a huge number of possible activities that students are becoming involved in. To name a few:

-Barbri/Themis/Lexis/Westlaw student rep
-Student associations/student bar
-1L class tutor/TA (for 2L/3Ls)
-Study abroad

While "I enjoy doing this and it doesn't affect my free time/study time very much" is a valid reason to get involved in an activity, I can't help but think that many of these are honey-coated poison pills.

Are there any real, tangible benefits (beyond the one mentioned above) to most of these activities? Will anyone ever care that you were a student rep, on the SBA, or spent your 1L summer studying in Poland?

I particularly wonder about the class tutors. That obviously takes a lot of time, and other than the goodwill of the professor, I fail to see the advantage of it.

Most of these seem to be huge, huge time sucks for very little return. Am I wrong? Are there non-obvious benefits that justify the amount of time and effort?

bluthmodelhome

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Re: Extracurriculars: Time sucks, traps, or opportunities?

Postby bluthmodelhome » Wed Sep 07, 2016 3:15 am

At my school, TA jobs are paid, and they're only 10hrs/week.

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gsy987

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Re: Extracurriculars: Time sucks, traps, or opportunities?

Postby gsy987 » Wed Sep 07, 2016 4:58 am

At Michigan, being a TA gives you a full tuition credit (seriously.) I think that qualifies as a worthwhile activity..

iliketurtles123

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Re: Extracurriculars: Time sucks, traps, or opportunities?

Postby iliketurtles123 » Wed Sep 07, 2016 6:06 am

Extracurriculars are good for a couple things:

1. Making your resume look better
2. Having something to talk about during your interview
3. Broadening your demonstrated interest and hopefully allowing you to break into a practice area
4. Networking
5. Making money
6. Social activities to meet new people

Being a bar course rep is probably only good for making money and getting a free/discount course so that depends on your financial situation.
Being a TA is good for networking (professors can go a long way).
I think student bar associations are important. Don't underestimate the importance of building your network during law school. I know recruiting during law school is very structured but after law school it's all about networking.

Otherwise, no one can answer how much these can help you since they're all different and it depends on your situation. Use your judgment. Generally, I'd say do them though. Don't overthink. As a graduate looking back, I wish I had just sucked it up and done more things.

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A. Nony Mouse

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Re: Extracurriculars: Time sucks, traps, or opportunities?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Wed Sep 07, 2016 9:23 am

Good will of a prof can be a big deal, if you want to apply for clerkships, publish something, develop a public interest fellowship project, or maybe go into teaching.

Study abroad is totally about whether you'd enjoy spending a summer/semester somewhere cool. I don't think anyone is going to sell it as any other kind of benefit except in very specific situations (you are one of the few making a legit push to do international law).

Being a Westlaw etc rep is about making some money and/or getting a free bar course. Only you know whether that's worth it to you.

Student associations range from really helpful to completely neutral. Depends on what the group is and how it relates to your goals and what you make of it. You probably shouldn't feel the need to do one of these if there's nothing that draws you to any of them, but it's pretty unlikely they're going to hurt anyone, or be THAT much of a time suck.

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thesealocust

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Re: Extracurriculars: Time sucks, traps, or opportunities?

Postby thesealocust » Thu Sep 08, 2016 8:30 am

2L and 3L are much better times to get super involved in student orgs. Basically you shouldn't be a total hermit 1L year, because a resume with 0 extracurricular legal items isn't a good look. Otherwise I'd say most things are time sucks or traps.

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star fox

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Re: Extracurriculars: Time sucks, traps, or opportunities?

Postby star fox » Thu Sep 08, 2016 3:00 pm

The one total trap for 90 % of people that almost everyone gets involved in is Journal. They will trick you into thinking you need it or you will strike out. But it's not true. But I guess you stand out for not having it, so you'll probably do it anyways.

The other stuff... if you're interested, go for it. If you can make some money go for it. If you want to network and shit, go for it. I wouldn't necessarily sign up for stuff just to sign up but you should probably have at least one student club or something on your resume.

FascinatedWanderer

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Re: Extracurriculars: Time sucks, traps, or opportunities?

Postby FascinatedWanderer » Fri Sep 09, 2016 10:46 am

The only extracurriculars judges I interviewed with cared about were RA and TA gigs. Firms did not care at all. No one cared about journal either.

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A. Nony Mouse

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Re: Extracurriculars: Time sucks, traps, or opportunities?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Fri Sep 09, 2016 10:52 am

Not asking you about it doesn't mean they didn't pay attention to whether you had it, though.

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