The Importance of Work Experience

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loadkal
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Joined: Mon Mar 14, 2011 6:45 pm

The Importance of Work Experience

Postby loadkal » Sat Mar 19, 2011 2:15 am

After reading various articles in newspapers and online, it feels like the legal industry isn't what it used to be. I am interested in corporate law or working at a medium sized law firm in Chicago. I was wondering how important work experience is for employment prospects after law school.

Here is my situation.
I graduated from a my state's flagship university with a Bachelor in Economics. After graduating college I studied for the LSAT and took it in October. I applied that fall and got into T2 schools in Chicago(Loyola and Kent). Because of the LSAT and partly me being lazy, I was unable to get a meaningful full-time job. I was originally planning on going straight to law school but after reading about the current market I'm having second thoughts.

Could somebody who is a 3L or currently working answer a few of my questions?
- Should I defer for a year or two and get some work experience?
- Will my 1 year gap between UG and Law school look bad to future employers at OCI?
- Do employers (mainly law firms) care about your work experience before law school?

Things are a little tricky because I've been out of school for almost a year and its getting harder to find a meaningful job in the business world. Right now the only thing I have setup is a analyst job for the federal government but I'm still waiting for my start date (which could take several months).

Danteshek
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Re: The Importance of Work Experience

Postby Danteshek » Sat Mar 19, 2011 2:19 am

Work experience is very important. This is especially if your credentials are not top-notch. If I were you I would pursue the government job and revisit the law school idea in three years. You are just too young and inexperienced to be intelligently considering a T2 law school.

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MrPapagiorgio
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Re: The Importance of Work Experience

Postby MrPapagiorgio » Sat Mar 19, 2011 2:21 am

loadkal wrote:Because of the LSAT and partly me being lazy, I was unable to get a meaningful full-time job.
What the hell does this mean?
loadkak wrote:- Should I defer for a year or two and get some work experience?
- Will my 1 year gap between UG and Law school look bad to future employers at OCI?
- Do employers (mainly law firms) care about your work experience before law school?
Yes, no and it depends.

loadkal
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Joined: Mon Mar 14, 2011 6:45 pm

Re: The Importance of Work Experience

Postby loadkal » Sat Mar 19, 2011 2:28 am

I spent the summer studying for the LSAT and "casually" looked for a job. At that time I was optimistic about how well I would do on the LSAT, and I decided to focus on job searching once the application cycle was over. In retrospect I should have aggressively looked for a job even as I was studying for the LSAT.

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kapachino
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Re: The Importance of Work Experience

Postby kapachino » Sat Mar 19, 2011 2:32 am

I'm kind of in the same boat, as I'm debating on whether I should apply after taking the LSAT in October, or go teach abroad like I want to and apply for Fall 2013. It's a hard decision to make. Maybe my LSAT score will help me decide, lol. I want to practice with an American firm that has offices in/does business with Asia, and the easiest way to get work experience in Asia is through TEFL. Still, the desire to be in school in a year instead of two years from now is overwhelming. Is there anyone here who has experience with this?

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powerlawyer06
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Re: The Importance of Work Experience

Postby powerlawyer06 » Sat Mar 19, 2011 2:58 am

I am interested in this as well. I am in a better situation than OP. I have several years of professional and managerial experience in the financial world. I will be attending a T14 next year and I am wondering if my work experience will give me an edge at OCI interviews.

Obviously my management experience has helped my interviewing skills but I am wondering if law firms care about w/e before law school.

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MrPapagiorgio
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Re: The Importance of Work Experience

Postby MrPapagiorgio » Sat Mar 19, 2011 3:03 am

powerlawyer06 wrote:I am interested in this as well. I am in a better situation than OP. I have several years of professional and managerial experience in the financial world. I will be attending a T14 next year and I am wondering if my work experience will give me an edge at OCI interviews.

Obviously my management experience has helped my interviewing skills but I am wondering if law firms care about w/e before law school.

The value of work experience depends on the interviewer. Some like the experience because they know you will work hard and you do not have to be babied (believe it or not, many law school grad's first job is their associate offer--scary, but true). Others don't like it because they want you to be trained to work their way (and when I say trained, I mean brainwashed). In this case, work experience is correlated with age, meaning that less work experience also means younger, and more easily manipulated.

cool of law
Posts: 177
Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2011 12:57 pm

Re: The Importance of Work Experience

Postby cool of law » Sat Mar 19, 2011 3:12 am

loadkal wrote:After reading various articles in newspapers and online, it feels like the legal industry isn't what it used to be. I am interested in corporate law or working at a medium sized law firm in Chicago. I was wondering how important work experience is for employment prospects after law school.

Here is my situation.
I graduated from a my state's flagship university with a Bachelor in Economics. After graduating college I studied for the LSAT and took it in October. I applied that fall and got into T2 schools in Chicago(Loyola and Kent). Because of the LSAT and partly me being lazy, I was unable to get a meaningful full-time job. I was originally planning on going straight to law school but after reading about the current market I'm having second thoughts.

Could somebody who is a 3L or currently working answer a few of my questions?
- Should I defer for a year or two and get some work experience?
- Will my 1 year gap between UG and Law school look bad to future employers at OCI?
- Do employers (mainly law firms) care about your work experience before law school?

Things are a little tricky because I've been out of school for almost a year and its getting harder to find a meaningful job in the business world. Right now the only thing I have setup is a analyst job for the federal government but I'm still waiting for my start date (which could take several months).


OP,
1. What have you been doing since graduation job wise?
2. I am not a huge proponent of retake and reapply, but if you are going to take a few years off, it might be worth it.
3. Work experience not only helps with jobs later on, it can make you a [much] more valuable candidate for law school admission. I feel that it helped me in my cycle. It will also give you time to mull over whether you really want to be a lawyer (which law school applicants often forget is the goal)

loadkal
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Mar 14, 2011 6:45 pm

Re: The Importance of Work Experience

Postby loadkal » Sat Mar 19, 2011 1:24 pm

Since graduating I have not done anything meaningful in terms of jobs. I started Day trading a few months ago and have been getting by on my earnings.

Im just curious if I should simply get "any" job, even if its working in a factory or selling insurance. This whole time I've been looking for jobs at investment banking firms and other similar industries with not success.

gloriacollins
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Joined: Mon Sep 12, 2011 3:10 am

Re: The Importance of Work Experience

Postby gloriacollins » Mon Sep 12, 2011 5:01 am

.

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HarveyBirdman
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Re: The Importance of Work Experience

Postby HarveyBirdman » Tue Sep 13, 2011 4:14 pm

I'm not yet in law school, but my original intent was to finish undergrad as quickly as possible with a criminology degree and then move back home and commute to the closest tier III law school while continuing my job at a grocery store for spare change.

Then I found TLS...an icy bucket of urine to the face kind of wake up call. I realized if I did the above, I would probably never find a decent job as an attorney and would be depressed and debt ridden for years to come.

So.....I switched schools and my major to accounting to stand out from the liberal arts crowd and have something to fall back on. I decided to work at the shitty grocery store 40 hours a week while also attending school full time. But I felt like I still needed to get a "real job" and do that for a year or two before law school. The market around here is complete shit. I don't know where you guys get these fancy sounding jobs...analyst for the government...consultant...whatever. I know so few people my age who have actual real jobs it's scary. I managed to find one that most of you probably would scoff at, but it's in a small law firm and it's a start. I also continue to work Sundays at the grocery store and am in my last semester of college, thank god. Law school target date is fall 2013.

The job market should scare the hell out of you, OP. To the point where you realize you have to gain every advantage you possibly can. Like someone else said, you really don't want your first job or first "real" job being the junior associate position you're applying for out of law school. The effort we are expected to put in can seem quite exhausting sometimes...




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