kosullivan23 wrote: . . . just have a few questions . . .
When I was a 1L, someone gave me some really good advice, which was that if you want to get a job at a good PD office, you need to be, basically, one of the top 250 PD candidates across the country who come on the job market in your year. All of the candidates for jobs at the top offices are going to have clinical experience, and PD internships, and lots of other PI/crim stuff on their resumes. I may have created a false impression by making an ordered list that purported to rank experiences from best to worst that somehow if you do the exact right combination of things, you'll get exactly what you want. But PI hiring isn't like OCI. It's not a formula where having the right grades/journal/moot/whatever guarantees that you'll grab the golden ring. And a lot of the stuff I tried to draw distinctions between is probably all one big morass of stuff that will be vaguely good, but is basically the job equivalent of a "soft" factor. Just like, in admissions, you basically have LSAT > GPA > everything else
, in PD hiring, it may well be something like in-court criminal experience in a well-regarded office/school clinic > other criminal/indigent client/in-court experience > everything else
. All of the candidates for jobs at the top offices are going to have all of those things in spades, so what's really going to decide whether you or the other guy gets the job is things like references and personality.
I think that for most of the questions you've asked, it's probably, on balance, about the same either way, and it'll depend on what you do with those experiences. And, as with all of this, to a large degree, it'll just depend on luck and chemistry. Once you've made relatively good choices about how to structure your law school experience, based on sound reasoning, there's really no way to know whether a different, also relatively good choice would have turned out better. You just have to take a deep breath, make a choice, and then pursue every possible opportunity available to you going forward. Then you have to trust that you're good enough that you'll impress the hell out of people and that they'll want to help you, and eventually, hire you.
1. This, for example, is a situation where I don't think these factors should be dispositive. I think that both of those sound like perfectly fine options, and there are probably other factors that can help you decide between the schools (PI career services support; LRAP/financial aid; how desirable the area is to you, both to live in for three years and as a place to build ties to that might make you a stronger candidate for jobs in that area; etc.)
2. A year might be better, mostly because it gives you a better chance of actually getting a case to trial, but again, weigh that against other factors. Also, ask whether the semester is a hard limit. A lot schools actually allow the top clinical students to do a second semester, or at the very least, to keep their cases after the semester ends.
3. I can't see this mattering. Only one place I applied ever actually asked for my transcript, so they'd likely never know. What I will say is that you might want to look into whether having a criminal trial ad course is a signal that the school has other strong crim-specific resources. It may or it may not, but it's worth inquiring.
4. Not a significant factor, no. It's good experience, and it's nice to have the opportunity, but it's not nearly as important as lots of other things. Wherever you go, do some sort of volunteer work with relevant populations as a 1L, but I seriously doubt that whether you did administrative hearings as a 1L will ever be a deciding factor.
5. I think there are a few where you can do pretty minor stuff. In Philly, I think the 1L interns do video arraignments, which means that you might get to do a bail argument every now and again. The problem is that as a 1L, you won't have taken evidence, which means that you're largely useless for any real trial work. Most state bars realize that, and so they don't let 1Ls practice. But I'm sure there are exceptions, and it certainly doesn't hurt to ask, though you should have some humility about the fact that you don't really know anything.
I can say definitively that you should do a crim clinic if you can, and you should do as many other PD internships as you can, but the bottom line is that you need to show that you're committed to this work and talented at this work, and how exactly you show that is going to be some combination of your experiences and your personality. Whether your clinic was 2L or 3L year, or what kinds of fake cases you argued in your trial ad class, aren't going to get you the interview, and they're certainly not going to convince the interviewers that you're the best possible new PD they could hire. They're going to pick you (or not) for a job based on a couple of pieces of paper and a couple of hours of interviewing you, at most. So your goal, throughout law school, is to get yourself a pedigree on paper that makes them think, "we should really talk to her, because she seems like our kind of people," and then be able to prove when you get to the interview that you actually are their kind of people.