robotrick wrote:Do you guys have any specific questions about HLEP? I did it both semesters last year, and I'm sure there are some other posters around who know even more about it than I do.
Can 1Ls get involved? If they can, do they actually? What kind of time commitment is it like during the 6-8 weeks where you're working on a project? How competitive is it to get a spot and, if it is competitive, what kind of qualifications are preferred? Overall, how would you rate your experience, and is there anything you wish you had known beforehand?
I'm sure most of this info is available online, but all I found was the hlep.org which seemed more geared towards entrepreneurs who were potentially interested in utilizing HLEP's services. Sorry if I missed something.
1Ls certainly can and do get involved. You can start your very first semester. HLEP will be at the student orgs fair (I assume - they were last year) early in the year and then there's an ethics training thingy you have to do in order to be eligible to participate in any SPOs.
The time commitment, in my experience, is less than 20 hrs spread out over the course of the semester. Here's the way it works: once you're assigned to a team (you get to submit a preference list for projects) you have a meeting with the client, figure out what questions you need to answer, and divvy up the work among the team. Then you write your part, submit the whole team's product for review by an attorney, edit it accordingly, then resubmit it. At the end you have a meeting with the client to go over what you wrote. I always felt like I had plenty of time to get the work done and it didn't interfere with things I had to do for other classes or journals or whatever.
Last year, as far as I know, the only thing you had to do to join was sign up. HLEP has grown significantly, though, and I don't know if that'll result in having a "selection process"." I also don't know if such a thing is even allowed for SPOs.
I loved the experience as a 1L, and I'm definitely going to continue my involvement as a 2L. I wasn't even particularly interested in BigLaw or start-ups when I joined, but it's a heck of a lot of fun and made me reconsider my career goals. You also get to do some research and writing that's a bit different from LRW. Some highlights from my point of view were learning how to conduct a client interview and receiving feedback on my writing directly from a practicing attorney. Since there are real lawyers supervising, they can (and hopefully do!) give valuable advice as you go along. Great experience and I would recommend it highly to anyone even remotely interested in tech, start-ups, business, etc.
Another thing HLEP did for me in my first semester was give me a little more confidence. Perhaps like some other people, I wasn't 100% sure I would be able to "compete" with the people at HLS when I first arrived. As you know, you get little feedback in law school, so seeing my teammates' portions of our HLEP project was actually the first indication I had of how I "measured up". Looking back it seems silly, but at the time it made me feel more at ease.
I'd be happy to answer any other questions you might have either in this thread or via PM!