i thought 1L was the most important?

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sangr
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Joined: Sun Jun 07, 2009 4:45 pm

i thought 1L was the most important?

Postby sangr » Thu Mar 08, 2012 5:14 pm

hi guys,

one thing im a little confused about.

we all know 1L is the most important year. i thought thats because after first semester we go interviewing with big law firms in order to see if we can become summer associates the following summer (1L)

why am i reading on the boards that "generally 1Ls dont do paid SA positions at big law firms"

im a bit confused!

id appreciate it if someone could enlighten me :) thank u

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bk1
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Re: i thought 1L was the most important?

Postby bk1 » Thu Mar 08, 2012 5:20 pm

1L grades are most important because 2L OCI starts before and during the first semester of 2L (when your only grades are 1L grades). Offers from 2L OCI are for employment as an SA during your 2L summer and, if things go correctly, you will be extended an offer of full time employment for postgraduation.

A guide to the mechanics of 2L OCI can be found here: viewtopic.php?f=23&t=161018

1L OCI does exist and it does occur during 2nd semester of 1L. However hiring from it is very limited because very few 1L SA spots exist. The vast majority of SA spots go to 2L's.

duckmoney
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Re: i thought 1L was the most important?

Postby duckmoney » Thu Mar 08, 2012 5:23 pm

Very few firms hire summer associates for their 1L summers. Most law students, even at the best schools, spend their summers working unpaid for governments, public interest law organizations, or as research assistants at the law school. Very few students land paid work, and even fewer actually get SA positions. Most firms don't hire 1L summer associates.

In the fall of your 2L year, firms recruit for the following summer. Almost all firms hire the vast majority of their summer associates for this summer, and most summer associates receive permanent employment offers. At that point (fall of 2L), when firms make the hiring decision that will probably dominate the first 3 - 8 years of your career, firms will have all your 1L grades, and no more. That is why 1L grades are so important.

sangr
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Re: i thought 1L was the most important?

Postby sangr » Thu Mar 08, 2012 5:28 pm

thanks so much guys,

wasnt expecting such great answers.

so for 1L summer...is there that one (or two, or three) job that people generally try to shoot for? it was mentioned
that most people do unpaid in various areas, but what is generally the type of job one shoots for if he/she wants big law eventually? (or any other high goal)

(like how 1Ls try to shoot for their 2L summer at big law)

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skw
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Re: i thought 1L was the most important?

Postby skw » Thu Mar 08, 2012 5:33 pm

I can see how this would be confusing. Prior to the economy tanking, paid 1L SA gigs at big law firms were far more plentiful than they are today. I can only speak from my experience, which is going after "big law" in NC (which arguably isn't really big law at all, but that's a discussion for a different post). I'm at UNC where any firm offering an SA program to 1Ls in NC interviewed at OCI. There were a total of about 6 I would consider NC big law in the immediate area and probably a grand total of 8-10 if you look across all of NC. Each of the firms interviewing at UNC also interviewed at Duke, Wake, and Campbell (plus some headed to UVA and schools in that area too). So for each paid 1L SA spot in the area, there were probably 100 or more qualified (from a GPA perspective) applicants. I was fortunate to get a couple of offers, one with my 'dream firm', and I am convinced it is because in addition to excellent grades, I had extensive work experience (as in an entire career before law school). Many younger students with very good grades struck out on paid 1L SA gigs simply because there are a huge number of qualified applicants competing for very few positions. Firms are in a position to select the best of the best grades, and then compare prior WE and other qualities (none of which is weighted as high as WE from what I've been told by attorneys and recruiters). It is not my intent to discourage those who do not have prior WE -- just be aware WE is a desirable asset and come up with a way to spin whatever you have done in a way that makes you seem mature, professional and capable of taking on general law firm interactions without a lot of guidance.

I have met with attorneys from many local firms, all of whom have confirmed their 1L SA programs are either gone or drastically reduced (in terms of class size and also sometimes reduced to just one or two office locations instead of all offices as it used to be in the boom years). So, while it is certainly the goal of every big law minded 1L to obtain a paid 1L SA, there just aren't enough to go around to all the qualified applicants, so many 1Ls end up doing unpaid or lower paid summer work. That does not mean they won't get 2L gigs though. Firms have to recruit from somewhere and 2L SA recruiting is where they find new talent. But hiring is DOWN and firms are hesitant to start bringing on tons of newbies. They will hire, but they will do so in a more measured and strategic way than they did in the 90s and early 2000s. So, yes, 1L paid SAs are the desirable way to spend your summer, but there simply are not many available.

I suspect, but do not know for sure, that this is similar for big law in places like NY, DC, Atlanta. There are probably more 1L SAs in the larger markets, but also more qualified candidates gunning for them, so again, supply is just not keeping up with demand.

HWS08
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Re: i thought 1L was the most important?

Postby HWS08 » Fri Mar 09, 2012 3:54 pm

sangr wrote:thanks so much guys,

wasnt expecting such great answers.

so for 1L summer...is there that one (or two, or three) job that people generally try to shoot for? it was mentioned
that most people do unpaid in various areas, but what is generally the type of job one shoots for if he/she wants big law eventually? (or any other high goal)

(like how 1Ls try to shoot for their 2L summer at big law)


My take is that there is not really.

I spoke with a big law partner who is an alum of my school and have also talked to associates at big firms and people at small firms and they've all described 1L summer employment as a pass/fail kind of requirement. As long as you did SOMETHING even sort of related to the legal field so you have something to discuss at OCI, you're fine. I asked the big law partner if, all else being equal, it would make a difference whether one 2L summer associate candidate worked for a judge and another worked as a research assistant. To my surprise, he wouldn't view one as better than the other. Note that this only applies to what you did your 1L summer; I've been told by this partner and other people on big firm hiring committees that having a couple years of work experience before law school will give you much more of an edge during OCI than having a "prestigious" 1L internship (if there even is such a thing).

The 1L jobs that people seem to want most, at least at my school, are internships with courts or internships at small firms. These are kind of hard to get because so many 2Ls and even 3Ls or people who graduated last year but were shut out of big firms are willing to take these types of jobs.

I was lucky enough to find a position with a state agency that pays pretty well, so that's what I will be doing.

justinp
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Re: i thought 1L was the most important?

Postby justinp » Fri Mar 09, 2012 4:11 pm

0L here, so... y'know, I have no idea.

But based on the conversations I've had with current law students/lawyers, 1L summer can be a good time to get government or public interest experience on your resume if you want to go into those sectors after a few years at a firm. Not sure of the extent to which agencies/nonprofits actually care, but it seems reasonable that they'd be a bit more willing to hire a firm lawyer who had interned at an agency/nonprofit than one who had no demonstrated interest in gov/PI work at all.

HWS08
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Joined: Wed Jul 22, 2009 10:32 am

Re: i thought 1L was the most important?

Postby HWS08 » Sat Mar 10, 2012 12:55 pm

justinp wrote:0L here, so... y'know, I have no idea.

But based on the conversations I've had with current law students/lawyers, 1L summer can be a good time to get government or public interest experience on your resume if you want to go into those sectors after a few years at a firm. Not sure of the extent to which agencies/nonprofits actually care, but it seems reasonable that they'd be a bit more willing to hire a firm lawyer who had interned at an agency/nonprofit than one who had no demonstrated interest in gov/PI work at all.


From what I can tell this is true for really public interest focused work (like legal aid organizations), but not as true for gov't agencies, although it wouldn't hurt. I have no interest in PI so I haven't looked into it too much, but from what I've heard from ppl who do want to go into PI, those organizations like to see you demonstrate a commitment to that type of work.




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