Coursework, Summers, and Goals

A forum for applicants and admitted students to ask law students and graduates about law school and the practice of law.

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Joined: Mon Jun 11, 2012 7:41 pm

Coursework, Summers, and Goals

Postby sweetfrenchtoast » Fri Mar 15, 2013 10:52 pm

0L here.

Please let me know if this has already been covered somewhere else. I think it would be really helpful to see what courses people elect to take, what types of summer placements they gun for, and where they end up after graduation.

I have friends who plan to go into Big Law but are spending their law school careers in legal theory and PI courses. Similarly, I have other friends racking up corporate law and tax courses but hope to go into PI. Does coursework matter at all? Are employers looking at your transcript...or are they just looking at numbers? Once you get a position, will relevant coursework help you at all?

While I'm sure a few posters will address these questions/comments directly (and of course, do as you please!), I propose that those interested in posting their "coursework, summers, and goals" use [something similar to] this format:

0L GOAL POST-LAW SCHOOL: "save the world," "big law," "academia," etc.
COURSEWORK: (either by listing specific classes, specific course topics, how much you stuck to a particular "focus" or how all-over-the-place your course selection was, etc)

Thanks in advance, y'all.

EDIT: After looking at this post, it looks a little stalker-ish. Be as vague as you'd like. You obviously don't have to list that you're working at X...just give us a general idea!

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Re: Coursework, Summers, and Goals

Postby quiver » Fri Mar 15, 2013 11:42 pm

sweetfrenchtoast wrote:Does coursework matter at all?
Not really.
sweetfrenchtoast wrote:Are employers looking at your transcript...or are they just looking at numbers?
Mostly just numbers.
sweetfrenchtoast wrote:Once you get a position, will relevant coursework help you at all?
I'm sure it can help for having a base set of knowledge (eg: going into corporate in biglaw without ever taking corporations would be a rough learning curve absent relevant pre-law school WE and/or an advanced business degree).

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A. Nony Mouse

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Re: Coursework, Summers, and Goals

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sat Mar 16, 2013 12:39 am

I agree that coursework doesn't really matter. I think there are a few exceptions. I don't think you're likely to get a job as a tax attorney if you haven't taken tax, ideally more than one tax course. (Of course, if you haven't taken tax, you probably don't *want* to be a tax attorney.) Bankruptcy may be the same (though I'm less confident about that). And if you're doing a particular "save the world" kind of cause lawyering, you also probably should take *something* connected to the area (for instance, I think you will have a hard time getting an immigration law job without taking immigration law, or an environmental law job without taking any environmental law classes, although for the latter you might get away with just taking admin law).

The flip side to this is that if you can get strong summer experience in those fields (e.g. immigration, environmental), the coursework is likely much less significant, because really you're signaling interest in the field more than you're showing that you actually know something about it. The flip side to the flip side is that the coursework can help you get that summer experience...

But overall I agree that what grades you get matters more than what courses you get them in. And you could always take a slew of bar courses, which are sort of generic, and go for the "well rounded" approach - the courses wouldn't make you look particularly suited for any one specific position, but they wouldn't rule you out of any, either, if that makes any sense.

(I am a federal clerk...and I never took Federal Courts. I am going into prosecution...and I never took Crim Pro. I don't actually recommend either of those things, but my path into prosecution was not something I foresaw in school. I did a judicial internship one summer and worked for a civil litigation firm the second summer.)

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