- Study abroad program (many law schools have summer programs for which you can get academic credit)
- Research assistant for a professor
- Field work, such as human rights work abroad
- Legislative/policy work
- Paralegal at a law firm
- Management consulting or investment banking
- Working as an in-house counsel for a corporation
By the second summer, you'll be a pro at the job search, and hopefully you'll have one summer's worth of experience to add to your resume. The second summer job search varies from the first. Though the same opportunities present themselves, the process differs.
For those interested in working at law firms, most law schools conduct an extensive on-campus interview period
. Before you leave campus at the end of your first year, make sure you find out when all resumes must be submitted for this process-usually this happens sometime over the summer. Be timely in complying with your law school's procedures, as you do not want to miss out on an interview just because your resume was mailed too late. Also, if you do not get an interview-as slots are limited-take the initiative to contact firms on your own and send your resume to these firms directly.
Some public interest and government organizations also participate in on-campus interviews, but the pickings are much more lean. If you desire one of those jobs, again, be proactive in contacting several employers, but this time around, you can do so right away rather than waiting until December. Also, consider applying for various grants in order to get funding, as most of these jobs are just as limited in terms of funding for second-years as they are for first-years.
Even more so than the first summer, the second summer may be a time to start thinking about where you want to work after graduation. If there is a place that you know gives preference to those who have summered there, and that happens to be a place that interests you, take a serious look and try to land the summer job. Most firms give almost all second-year summer workers full-time offers
; full-time offers are slightly less plentiful in public interest and other types of summer legal work.
First semester, first year of law school can be quite an overwhelming experience: more reading than you know what to do with, memos, briefs, the Socratic Method, and on and on. Add to that a summer job search and you could have a recipe for disaster. Fortunately, one of the first things your law school's career development office will tell you is that, under the American Bar Association guidelines, contact with potential employers should not begin until late in the first semester (after December 1). Take this guideline seriously. The late starting date should come as a relief to you and should take some pressure off at the beginning of an otherwise stressful time. Early in the semester, put the job search in the back of your mind. Get acclimated to law school life and focus primarily on your classes and assignments. Use your energy to prepare each night for the next day's classes, to get involved in law school organizations, and to develop friendships with other classmates. Maybe even treat yourself to a beer night or a movie once in a while.
With this caveat in mind, the rest of this chapter attempts to give you an overview of job possibilities for your first-year summer and some practical tips for approaching the job search as a first-year law student
. At the end of the chapter, there will be a brief description of the second-year summer job search. As this is a book designed primarily for first-years, you will not be burdened with too much information about your job search in the years ahead.
Many students pursue public interest opportunities during their first summer and find the work very rewarding. The jobs seem to be more plentiful for first-years, yet funding seems to be more limited.
You may be asking exactly what does "public interest" work mean. It's what the name says: you can serve various segments of the public, whether through individual representation, impact litigation, or other avenues, such as policy work. Public interest jobs are ideal for those who have a passion for serving others, who are deeply concerned about issues of social importance, who want client contact, and who have an independent source of funding or for whom funding is not a major issue.
Your first summer job can be very rewarding, especially if you take the time up front to find the right type of job for you. Do your research, look for a good fit, weigh heavily your particular interests within the law, and choose wisely. Look upon your two summers as precious opportunities to explore the legal profession, gain practical legal experience, network, and start narrowing your focus as to what you want to do after graduating from law school. Hopefully you will feel as one student reported feeling after her two summers: she wished that she had "a thousand more summers to explore all the exciting and diverse opportunities that the legal profession has to offer!"
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LawCrossing Fact #44: The LawCrossing “FAQ” section is specific to job seekers, recruiters, and employers.