Quick question and I appreciate your help and information whoever responds...
For those of you getting summer work outside of the Champaign/Chicago/Illinois area what are you planning to do and what kind of leg work do you have to do on your own? How helpful is the career center?
I'll take a shot at this. I decided to stay in Champaign for the summer for a gig with a federal judge here but there are definitely a lot of people I know who have decided to work out of state for the summer. It's pretty much the same application process no matter where you decide to work. Most people do externships because paying jobs are few and far between (especially in this economy). The school allows you to work for 2-4 credits depending on how many hours you put in and you can apply those credit hours toward your fall semester so you don't have to pay summer tuition and can potentially have a slightly smaller class load in the fall.
It seems that the most common jobs are federal judges, state judges, state's attorney, attorney general etc so it's just a matter of deciding where in the country you want to work and sending out materials because you'll find these types of jobs no matter where you're looking. Wherever you want to work (in IL or out) you'll still be responsible for putting together your own materials and sending them out. Most people waited until after grades came out to send out materials (so basically the first week of school in Jan). Career services is really helpful with resumes, cover letters, and also figuring out how to find opportunities wherever you want to work. They're always available and willing to help.
I would say the only benefit of staying in Illinois is that you can apply to jobs through Symplicity, which is an online system with job postings specifically for Illinois law (and also comes into play during OCI both 1L year and 2L year). There were a couple firms that did do on campus interviews for 1Ls but for the most part it was judges and law offices looking for externs and you submit your cover letter and resume directly through Symplicity. However, Career Services has tons of resources where you can find listings for the rest of the country and there were definitely listings from across the country on Symplicity, just not as many as for in the state. I haven't talked to anyone who wanted to work outside of Illinois and had trouble finding plenty of places to send resumes to and finding something to do there. Just off the top of my head I know people doing internships in Texas, Colorado, four in California, and a couple in NY and I'm sure there are many more that I don't know about. All the advice I've gotten is that it's not so important what
you do over the summer so long as it's some sort of legal position and you have some good experiences to talk about during OCI the next fall.
Hope that helps