How many of you had relevant work experience pre-LS?

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cl101
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How many of you had relevant work experience pre-LS?

Postby cl101 » Fri Jul 05, 2013 9:55 am

How many of you who went K-JD had work experience (in the form of internships/summer gigs/research assistantships) that related directly to the legal profession/business/economics/something relevant (ie not volunteering at an animal shelter or hostessing at a restaurant for some extra cash). I've heard there are some schools, even in the top 14, which don't care quite as much about this stuff. Which are those? Also, would extremely high achievement in the performing arts throughout highschool and college years qualify as a decent soft? I realize it's not a conventional one, but shouldn't it at least show I'm ambitious, driven and unique. I guess law schools probably aren't looking for the same kind of diversity of candidates as undergrad?...Anybody still manage to swing a big scholarship from a t14 school simply (not that it's simple to achieve this lol) with a high GPA, great LSAT, good recommendation letters and solid personal statement?

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Monochromatic Oeuvre
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Re: How many of you had relevant work experience pre-LS?

Postby Monochromatic Oeuvre » Fri Jul 05, 2013 12:16 pm

First off, you may want to consider changing the title to reflect that you're just talking about K-JDs. Also, for the purposes of law school admissions, "work experience" is almost always defined as full-time paid work, which K-JDs almost never have, by definition.

How many of you who went K-JD had work experience (in the form of internships/summer gigs/research assistantships) that related directly to the legal profession/business/economics/something relevant (ie not volunteering at an animal shelter or hostessing at a restaurant for some extra cash).


I'm a K-JD in what you could call a "legal internship" right now, in that I work directly under the supervision of the legal department at my office. Obviously I can't draft contracts or anything like that, but I can read proposals, write basic memos on subjects the attorneys don't feel like concerning themselves with, and do the other grunt work that I'm happy to do for free. I also have three other internships under my belt, all in DC: One in political media, one on Capitol Hill, and one in a think tank. Other K-JDs sometimes have published research in school or something along those lines, but by and large, unless they took time off before graduating, nothing a K-JD will do is all that advanced or prestigious, and that's just the way it is.

I've heard there are some schools, even in the top 14, which don't care quite as much about this stuff. Which are those?


In the T14, only Northwestern will seriously downgrade someone for being a K-JD, and that's because they have a class profile that's unique to them. Every other school is comprised of, I believe, around 30% K-JD (if I'm wrong, someone please correct me) students. It won't really matter except to the extent someone's WE is uniquely impressive. By and large, it's a numbers game and a numbers game only.

Also, would extremely high achievement in the performing arts throughout highschool and college years qualify as a decent soft?


Possibly. The strength of your softs are determined pretty much on an individual basis. Some schools may be more impressed by certain things than others would be. "Majored in Theater and acted in every play" is going to be different than "youngest person ever invited to play in the New York Philharmonic." Worth keeping in mind that something that stands out at a T14 is usually exceptional--having done things that are merely "cool" or "interesting" is pretty much par for the course--having "good" softs really means you're average, and having "typical" softs really means you're going to be weaker than most other applicants in that area.

I realize it's not a conventional one, but shouldn't it at least show I'm ambitious, driven and unique.


Everyone applying to T14 schools is ambitious, driven and unique. Everyone is unique, and anyone with the numbers to be competitive at T14s is likely to be ambitious and driven.

I guess law schools probably aren't looking for the same kind of diversity of candidates as undergrad?...


Not in a non-racial context. Again, it's mostly a numbers game.

Anybody still manage to swing a big scholarship from a t14 school simply (not that it's simple to achieve this lol) with a high GPA, great LSAT, good recommendation letters and solid personal statement?


If you have a high GPA and great LSAT by the school's standards, nothing else will really matter. If you're not in the ballpark with either, nothing else will really matter. Softs matter on the margins. So yes, if your GPA and LSAT were high enough, and your recs and PS weren't absolutely awful, you could have an empty resume and still be accepted to a great school.

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jbagelboy
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Re: How many of you had relevant work experience pre-LS?

Postby jbagelboy » Fri Jul 05, 2013 2:55 pm

Ive interned summers at a law firm, and I can tell you pretty clearly, you gain much more valuable WE skills outside of legal internships in other professional career areas than as a legal intern. Doing "legal" work to prepare for law school admissions is a flame, unless its in a particular practice area that you want to specialize in and you realize its not for you.

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jbagelboy
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Re: How many of you had relevant work experience pre-LS?

Postby jbagelboy » Fri Jul 05, 2013 2:57 pm

Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:First off, you may want to consider changing the title to reflect that you're just talking about K-JDs. Also, for the purposes of law school admissions, "work experience" is almost always defined as full-time paid work, which K-JDs almost never have, by definition.

How many of you who went K-JD had work experience (in the form of internships/summer gigs/research assistantships) that related directly to the legal profession/business/economics/something relevant (ie not volunteering at an animal shelter or hostessing at a restaurant for some extra cash).


I'm a K-JD in what you could call a "legal internship" right now, in that I work directly under the supervision of the legal department at my office. Obviously I can't draft contracts or anything like that, but I can read proposals, write basic memos on subjects the attorneys don't feel like concerning themselves with, and do the other grunt work that I'm happy to do for free. I also have three other internships under my belt, all in DC: One in political media, one on Capitol Hill, and one in a think tank. Other K-JDs sometimes have published research in school or something along those lines, but by and large, unless they took time off before graduating, nothing a K-JD will do is all that advanced or prestigious, and that's just the way it is.

I've heard there are some schools, even in the top 14, which don't care quite as much about this stuff. Which are those?


In the T14, only Northwestern will seriously downgrade someone for being a K-JD, and that's because they have a class profile that's unique to them. Every other school is comprised of, I believe, around 30% K-JD (if I'm wrong, someone please correct me) students. It won't really matter except to the extent someone's WE is uniquely impressive. By and large, it's a numbers game and a numbers game only.

Also, would extremely high achievement in the performing arts throughout highschool and college years qualify as a decent soft?


Possibly. The strength of your softs are determined pretty much on an individual basis. Some schools may be more impressed by certain things than others would be. "Majored in Theater and acted in every play" is going to be different than "youngest person ever invited to play in the New York Philharmonic." Worth keeping in mind that something that stands out at a T14 is usually exceptional--having done things that are merely "cool" or "interesting" is pretty much par for the course--having "good" softs really means you're average, and having "typical" softs really means you're going to be weaker than most other applicants in that area.

I realize it's not a conventional one, but shouldn't it at least show I'm ambitious, driven and unique.


Everyone applying to T14 schools is ambitious, driven and unique. Everyone is unique, and anyone with the numbers to be competitive at T14s is likely to be ambitious and driven.

I guess law schools probably aren't looking for the same kind of diversity of candidates as undergrad?...


Not in a non-racial context. Again, it's mostly a numbers game.

Anybody still manage to swing a big scholarship from a t14 school simply (not that it's simple to achieve this lol) with a high GPA, great LSAT, good recommendation letters and solid personal statement?


If you have a high GPA and great LSAT by the school's standards, nothing else will really matter. If you're not in the ballpark with either, nothing else will really matter. Softs matter on the margins. So yes, if your GPA and LSAT were high enough, and your recs and PS weren't absolutely awful, you could have an empty resume and still be accepted to a great school.


For example, interning at a think tank sounds much more impressive/interesting and probably was more instructive than interning at a law firm

cl101
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Re: How many of you had relevant work experience pre-LS?

Postby cl101 » Fri Jul 05, 2013 6:24 pm

Thanks for the insight everyone...I'd say I fall somewhere in between...I've achieved A LOT in the performing arts, and I'm sure most law school applicants haven't gotten anywhere near the level I have, but that being said, I'm not a world-class famous opera singer or something. Sounds like it may give me a bit of a boost if I'm already nearly in the school, but won't be a big factor. I already know GPA and LSAT are what it really comes down to, so I'm just going to make sure I keep my GPA high for the rest of undergrad and prepare well for the exam.

Sounds like not having real work experience really matters either, which is a relief. In some ways, it's sort of nice to hear law school really is just a numbers game. For those of us that took an unconventional path in college and didn't just major in some typical pre-law area at an Ivy with DC/NYC internships every summer, it's comforting to know it'll really come down to intellect, with and consistent performance throughout college rather than striking it big with a single job and then thriving off those connections for years to come (not saying everyone who gets good summer internships does that, but I do think it's pretty common)

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dr123
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Re: How many of you had relevant work experience pre-LS?

Postby dr123 » Fri Jul 05, 2013 6:25 pm

Internships and summer gigs arent really work experience.

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Monochromatic Oeuvre
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Re: How many of you had relevant work experience pre-LS?

Postby Monochromatic Oeuvre » Fri Jul 05, 2013 6:43 pm

cl101 wrote:with and consistent performance throughout college rather than striking it big with a single job and then thriving off those connections for years to come (not saying everyone who gets good summer internships does that, but I do think it's pretty common)


Image

I'm going to guess you never had a summer internship. I promise you, they aren't keys to the Gatsby life.




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