Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

A forum for applicants and admitted students to ask law students and graduates about law school and the practice of law.
User avatar
TripTrip
Posts: 2740
Joined: Fri Sep 07, 2012 9:52 am

Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby TripTrip » Sat Aug 22, 2015 10:25 pm

crookedjaws wrote:Thanks to those who answered! Just to bump my last question a bit - is it at all unheard of to allow someone to spend their first week working from home? I can certainly do that and be able to start end of May rather than June.

That's probably not going to happen. 1L internships are not going to have anything for you to do at home before you even get there. As a research assistant sure, because you would work out assignments with the professor beforehand. But I don't know anyone who was only a research assistant for their summer. I know a lot of people who did research for a professor while working an internship for their resume, but none that only RA'd.

Legal Eagle87 wrote:2. I ranked the transactional clinic #1 and got it for one of Spring/Fall, but because of scheduling reasons, I'm considering dropping my current spot and switching to the OTHER semester. But my WL# is in the 60s for that other semester, and the program capacity is 17. If I drop my current enrollment, will I risk not getting the chance to take it at all as a 2L? Does taking no clinics as a 2L look bad?

Yes, you risk not getting it. Why would not taking a clinic look bad? A quarter of HLS students (myself included!) will never participate in any clinic.

User avatar
crookedjaws
Posts: 36
Joined: Thu Nov 20, 2014 6:48 pm

____________

Postby crookedjaws » Sun Aug 23, 2015 2:17 am

____________
Last edited by crookedjaws on Sat Aug 06, 2016 12:21 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
TripTrip
Posts: 2740
Joined: Fri Sep 07, 2012 9:52 am

Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby TripTrip » Sun Aug 23, 2015 7:22 am

crookedjaws wrote:
TripTrip wrote:That's probably not going to happen. 1L internships are not going to have anything for you to do at home before you even get there. As a research assistant sure, because you would work out assignments with the professor beforehand. But I don't know anyone who was only a research assistant for their summer. I know a lot of people who did research for a professor while working an internship for their resume, but none that only RA'd.



Thanks for the reply. I was sort of expecting as much :? Is there anything "wrong" with being only a research assistant for the summer? As in, could you be sort of docked for not doing something that offers more hands-on or practical experience?

To be honest, I have never heard of a full-time summer research assistant position. Maybe they exist, I don't know, but from the best I can tell all of these are meant to be done in conjunction with real life legal experience, not on their own. My instinct is to say that yes, you would be docked for not actually working somewhere, or at least doing a formal fellowship instead of just being a prof's research assistant.

Maybe someone will come along and say they were just an RA for the summer. I just have never have heard of that.

robotrick
Posts: 153
Joined: Fri Jun 06, 2014 11:53 am

Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby robotrick » Sun Aug 23, 2015 8:03 am

OCS told me last year that it looks much better to have an internship than to only be an RA for the summer.

I didn't ask why, but my guess is that it has to do with gaining skills, being exposed to real legal work, and having something to talk about at EIP. It may also look like you couldn't get an internship.

tomwatts
Posts: 1551
Joined: Wed Sep 16, 2009 12:01 am

Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby tomwatts » Sun Aug 23, 2015 10:37 am

The only person I've ever known who was just an RA for 1L summer was gunning for academia. You don't want to signal to pretty much anyone except academics that you're gunning for academia.

lawlorbust
Posts: 265
Joined: Mon Feb 24, 2014 11:50 am

Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby lawlorbust » Sun Aug 23, 2015 11:05 am

... or someone who got completely shut out of other jobs. Not a good look either way.

tomwatts
Posts: 1551
Joined: Wed Sep 16, 2009 12:01 am

Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby tomwatts » Sun Aug 23, 2015 2:58 pm

On the broader issue, I started one summer internship at the beginning of July (because I was splitting the summer, though doing 8 weeks at each). It's certainly possible to find internships that will let you start late (even very late, as I did), but it's a little limiting.

rathgra
Posts: 53
Joined: Fri Dec 13, 2013 9:30 am

Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby rathgra » Sun Aug 23, 2015 6:27 pm

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.

Legal Eagle87
Posts: 47
Joined: Fri Aug 07, 2015 4:03 pm

???

Postby Legal Eagle87 » Sun Aug 23, 2015 7:41 pm

???
Last edited by Legal Eagle87 on Fri Oct 23, 2015 6:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
TripTrip
Posts: 2740
Joined: Fri Sep 07, 2012 9:52 am

Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby TripTrip » Sun Aug 23, 2015 8:53 pm

rathgra wrote:
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 experience.

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.

robotrick
Posts: 153
Joined: Fri Jun 06, 2014 11:53 am

Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby robotrick » Sun Aug 23, 2015 11:50 pm

I also want to point out that that RA experience is nothing like mine or any of my friends'. We're doing cite checking, editing, general research and writing. Some are doing econ statistical analysis. So that RA experience sticks out to me as being highly unusual - perhaps the "exception to the rule".

hlsperson1111
Posts: 239
Joined: Sun Jul 22, 2012 11:10 pm

Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby hlsperson1111 » Mon Aug 24, 2015 7:48 am

(1) Yes, you can get a DS in a clinic. Grading varies by clinic.

(2) I knew a few people who did an RA their entire summer. Some had exceptional credentials (the person who won the Fay Diploma my year did an RA his/her entire 1L summer, I think), some did not. I think it's pretty unusual but not unheard of, and you sometimes see professors soliciitng full-time summer RA's on AdUp.

User avatar
crookedjaws
Posts: 36
Joined: Thu Nov 20, 2014 6:48 pm

____________

Postby crookedjaws » Mon Aug 24, 2015 8:45 am

____________
Last edited by crookedjaws on Sat Aug 06, 2016 12:21 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
TripTrip
Posts: 2740
Joined: Fri Sep 07, 2012 9:52 am

Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby TripTrip » Mon Aug 24, 2015 9:37 am

crookedjaws wrote:If I end up going this route rather than pursuing an internship with a later start date, would it be a poor decision to sort of preemptively explain why? As in, have a short line in a cover letter or something about recovering from surgery?

If you're applying through the normal route via EIP, firms not allowed to ask for cover letters. (Thank god.)

So a pre-emptive explanation is out of the question. If it comes up it comes up. Otherwise just highlight the positive experiences.

User avatar
codyoneill
Posts: 166
Joined: Thu Nov 14, 2013 12:31 am

Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby codyoneill » Mon Aug 24, 2015 9:48 am

TripTrip wrote:
crookedjaws wrote:If I end up going this route rather than pursuing an internship with a later start date, would it be a poor decision to sort of preemptively explain why? As in, have a short line in a cover letter or something about recovering from surgery?

If you're applying through the normal route via EIP, firms not allowed to ask for cover letters. (Thank god.)

So a pre-emptive explanation is out of the question. If it comes up it comes up. Otherwise just highlight the positive experiences.


Also most 1L's work summer internships at public interest non-profits at no cost to the organization. Some places might be accommodating to adjust the internship dates to work with your surgery either because they are the type of organization that cares about being accommodating and supporting their interns or because you are free labor and they will take what they can get. Talk to OPIA about it when you are able.

Depending on whether or not you do Law Review competition, you can get another week of your summer. And the Law Review competition can be done remotely. So, while I would not recommend it, you could double down on your suffering by recovering from surgery and doing the LR competition at the same time.

NEdelton1987
Posts: 33
Joined: Sat Mar 22, 2014 6:57 am

Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby NEdelton1987 » Mon Aug 24, 2015 9:52 am

robotrick wrote:I also want to point out that that RA experience is nothing like mine or any of my friends'. We're doing cite checking, editing, general research and writing. Some are doing econ statistical analysis. So that RA experience sticks out to me as being highly unusual - perhaps the "exception to the rule".


This is an important point. Not all RA positions are the same. Most RA positions are academic in nature and involve cite checking, editing, general research, and writing. A few professors have vibrant private practices. If you're staffed on private practice projects, you get to work on cutting-edge cases directly with foremost experts and get paid private practice rates, which can be better from both learning and monetary perspectives than any other internships during the 1L summer and activities including law review during the academic term.

User avatar
nothingtosee
Posts: 865
Joined: Tue May 03, 2011 12:08 am

Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby nothingtosee » Mon Aug 24, 2015 9:55 am

NEdelton1987 wrote:
robotrick wrote:I also want to point out that that RA experience is nothing like mine or any of my friends'. We're doing cite checking, editing, general research and writing. Some are doing econ statistical analysis. So that RA experience sticks out to me as being highly unusual - perhaps the "exception to the rule".


This is an important point. Not all RA positions are the same. Most RA positions are academic in nature and involve cite checking, editing, general research, and writing. A few professors have vibrant private practices. If you're staffed on private practice projects, you get to work on cutting-edge cases directly with foremost experts and get paid private practice rates, which can be better from both learning and monetary perspectives than any other internships during the 1L summer and activities including law review during the academic term.


Image

Legal Eagle87
Posts: 47
Joined: Fri Aug 07, 2015 4:03 pm

???

Postby Legal Eagle87 » Mon Aug 24, 2015 10:39 am

???
Last edited by Legal Eagle87 on Fri Oct 23, 2015 6:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
TripTrip
Posts: 2740
Joined: Fri Sep 07, 2012 9:52 am

Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby TripTrip » Mon Aug 24, 2015 11:04 am

Legal Eagle87 wrote:I guess I started the question asking about DSes but it's not even clear how H's are assigned in clinics.

To be fair, that's also true of most classes.

hlsperson1111
Posts: 239
Joined: Sun Jul 22, 2012 11:10 pm

Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby hlsperson1111 » Mon Aug 24, 2015 11:43 am

I got a DS in one of the clinics run by the Legal Services Center. You should PM me if you want more details. I can't speculate on how other clinics - including the transactional clinic - are graded.

rathgra
Posts: 53
Joined: Fri Dec 13, 2013 9:30 am

Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby rathgra » Mon Aug 24, 2015 12:42 pm

...
Last edited by rathgra on Sat Jan 23, 2016 12:46 am, edited 1 time in total.

Indifference
Posts: 535
Joined: Sat Nov 16, 2013 3:01 am

Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby Indifference » Mon Aug 24, 2015 8:59 pm

Since no one else asked I guess I will. Earlier years of this thread mention that there is no real dress code for orientation. Does this still hold true?

User avatar
TripTrip
Posts: 2740
Joined: Fri Sep 07, 2012 9:52 am

Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby TripTrip » Mon Aug 24, 2015 9:14 pm

mujiali wrote:Since no one else asked I guess I will. Earlier years of this thread mention that there is no real dress code for orientation. Does this still hold true?

Yes.

Indifference
Posts: 535
Joined: Sat Nov 16, 2013 3:01 am

Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby Indifference » Mon Aug 24, 2015 9:23 pm

Thanks as always.

Legal Eagle87
Posts: 47
Joined: Fri Aug 07, 2015 4:03 pm

???

Postby Legal Eagle87 » Tue Aug 25, 2015 9:45 pm

???
Last edited by Legal Eagle87 on Fri Oct 23, 2015 6:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.




Return to “Ask a Law Student / Graduate”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests