GOAL: MEANINGFUL EMPLOYMENT
A law student’s top 2 goals within 6 months of graduation are to pass the bar exam and get a job. Create your plan for meaningful employment now.
- Start networking and making connections with lawyers to learn about legal practice areas and the various types of jobs lawyers do.
- Meet with an OCM Career Coach 1:1 to set-up your career action plan (schedule your initial meeting by Sept 30). Follow up with another quick check in at the start of spring semester to ensure you stay on track.
- Create your legal professional resume, get it reviewed by OCM, and have it ready to send out to legal employers
- Develop your legal cover letter template so it is ready to personalize for each position you apply to
- Connect with 5-10 attorneys doing work you might like and learn about what they do (networking and informational interviewing)
- Identify 1-3 legal practice areas of interest you’d like to explore
Summer After 1L Year:
- Get some legal experience. It doesn’t matter what specific type (because you’ll be honing the most common legal skills no matter what type of legal job you do) or if the work is part time or full time; paid or unpaid; or for credit or voluntary. Try something legal and evaluate the experience to know what you want to try next.
- Know hiring timelines for the employers you are interested in for 2L summer.
- Update your resume with your 1L summer experience. Once updated, schedule a Resume Review appointment with OCM.
- Schedule an appointment with OCM at the start of spring semester to discuss your career goals.
- Deeply evaluate what you liked and didn’t like about your summer experience. Don’t just focus on what you did on a daily basis; evaluate what you saw 3rd and 4th year attorneys doing at your summer employment to really know if you’re interested in this field. You’ll be a junior attorney sooner than you think.
- Consider getting some experience during the school year – eg: a clinic, externship, pro bono work, work for a firm or corporation part time during the year, and/or volunteer at a non-profit. This is a good way to get more experience, build your skills and your relationships.
- Continue networking and connecting with attorneys, learning more about various career options lawyers have, and trying out what you can.
Summer After 2L Year:
- If you are at a large firm, certain government agencies, or anywhere with an expectation that this 2L summer experience could lead to full time post graduate employment, your entire summer is an interview. Treat it as such if you are hoping for an offer of post-graduate employment.
- If you are working at an employer you like with no guarantee of post graduate employment, still treat it like your entire summer is an interview, and if you like it there, consider trying to stay on during your 3L year. Every year, a small number of graduates indicate that they started working for an employer during law school, and even though there was no expectation (from employer or law student) of getting a post-graduation offer, they did.
- Update your resume with your 2L summer experience. Once updated, schedule a Resume Review appointment with OCM.
- Meet with OCM at the start of, and midway through your 3L year to discuss post-bar opportunities and plans.
- The goal in 3L year is less about graduating with a job in hand (because most employers can’t predict their hiring needs that far in advance) and more about utilizing 3L year to build relationships in the legal field that you wish to enter post grad.
- Working during the school year (if feasible for you) is a great way to build those relationships.
- Keep meeting and speaking with attorneys doing the type of work you are interested in.
- Update OCM with any offer of post-graduate employment.
Part Time Students (have an additional summer and 4L year):
- Contact OCM directly to schedule before or after hours appointments if the career coaches schedules do not fit with your work schedule.
- Meet with OCM periodically, at least 1x a year, to discuss career goals, job search strategy, and updates to your resume.
- Many part time students work full time while in law school. While some of them are in law school to advance within their current field, many are in law school to switch fields and advance.
- It is essential for part time law students to get some legal experience during law school. Employers expect it. Get creative in how you get this experience. Can you take vacation days once a week from your current job to do a clinic? Can you shadow an attorney during winter break? Can you find a position that is 3-4 weeks in summer and take leave from your current position. It is not easy, but if you can get some legal experience during law school, it will majorly help in the post-graduation job search when switching fields.
Post Grad Employment:
- It is common for law students to graduate without a job lined up post- graduation. Usually after graduating, students study for the bar exam (for several months) and pick up the job search again afterward. In a strong legal market, grads can find jobs while awaiting bar results. In any event, hiring picks up after bar results come out.
- Work with OCM in your last year of law school to create a career action plan to maximize building connections while still a student and to be prepared for your post-bar job search.