TripTrip wrote:Why would not taking a clinic look bad? A quarter of HLS students (myself included!) will never participate in any clinic.
If you're just planning on doing EIP, no problem, but if you're doing PI, no clinics may very well look bad (or at least not great). Especially for either side of criminal law.
Thanks for the clarification. I should stop assuming that everyone just wants to make money.
Legal Eagle87 wrote:1. Rising 2L here with no academic aspirations whatsoever (if anything I harbor a disdain for it).
I was a full-time RA this past summer, which I did for a few reasons:
A. The Prof taught one of my 1L classes; I liked the class, liked the prof and his "passion projects."
B. His email accepting me specified "full-time," and I didn't think it was code for full-time "on the books" only.
C. I actually didn't apply to any of the standard 1L jobs like USAO, judicial intern, state AG, etc, which I'm sure are all good jobs. I didn't because I wanted to "stand out," and my Prof is an eye-popping Prof. But every year, there are dozens if not hundreds of 1Ls who go to their home state's USAO or else EDNY or something, and I didn't want to be "oh great, the 19th person we're interviewing today who did a 1L summer at a USAO."
D. Before starting 1L, I had already spent some summers at legal organizations like state AG, ACLU, etc. Though I was but an undergrad then, the 1L "legal interns" working a desk over didn't seem like they were doing anything they couldn't have done before their 1L "training."<-- This wasn't just my observation, it was in their words when I talked to them on lunch breaks and such.
As it turned out (and I didn't know this going in), my Prof routinely pro hac vices himself into ongoing litigation, so my resume reflects that I got the chance to do some litigation for him, a point I reiterate in interviews (but usually the interviewer mentions it first on a good note because, like I said, eye-popping etc.)
It hadn't even crossed my mind until reading this thread today that taking an RA position full-time during the summer might make employers suspect that I couldn't snag a "real" 1L summer job. That is, I drafted my resume and crafted interview answers highlighting the litigation work I did for the Prof because that's what actually happened, not because I or OCS was concerned about what employers might infer from that being my sole position.
This is a fantastic anecdote and I'm really happy it's in this thread now. Thank you for sharing.
Legal Eagle87 wrote:But it's difficult to say, based on which of my EIP results went one way and which the other, whether solely being an RA implied to employers that "I couldn't have snagged a real 1L job." On the whole, it seemed like having that as a resume line has spurred good interview exchanges & fodder, but
Question (for CBs, going forward, etc.): Do employers really conclude from "s/he only did an RA" that "it must've been because s/he couldn't get a real job"?
The way you framed the experiences above was extremely strategic. You had positive experiences and grew as a legal learner, and you explained those experiences well.
I do want to defend being "the 19th person we're interviewing today who did a 1L summer at a USAO" though, for others reading this thread in the future. Home state USAO jobs are not that hard to get... for Harvard Law Students
. But as a 1L, all your co-interns might be top 10% 2Ls at your in-state regional. Just because something is common at HLS doesn't mean it is bad. As for experience: sure. But the legal experience you get as a first year corporate associate doing due diligence is also
shitty. Fact is: actual experience is not the issue. For your resume it's about perceived
If you have a strong story about the RA experience, I don't think that's going to necessarily imply that you couldn't get a job elsewhere. It's not like you got no-offered; they're looking at the same resume and transcript as your previous potential employers. But they are also hearing stories from other 1Ls who worked directly for the AUSA that is prosecuting their biggest client right now. Some interviewers may assume that you would have wanted that job if you had the opportunity to take it, whether or not that is true.