Thursday, November 18, 2010

1L Job Search Options

Part of the reason the blog has not been updated regularly is that I've started researching possibilities for my 1L summer. While I understand that the vast majority of the Zen of 180 readers are worried about the December 2010 LSAT--how's that endurance training working out for you?--it's also time to start comparing law schools that you've been accepted to, applied to, are or are thinking about applying to.

Those topic and concluding sentences are actually related, I promise, in that I want to share some personal experiences I've had that slightly add to my list of things to consider when applying to law schools

One of my very first clients had to compare NYU, Yale, and Harvard law schools; in fact, those were the only places she applied. She knew that she was exclusively interested in public interest law, probably working for the government, and could tailor her comparison of the schools in that lens. When she visited the schools' accepted student weekends, she made sure to visit their respective offices of career services/development.  But Harvard had an office explicitly devoted to public interest law, and her interactions with those advisors greatly impacted her decision to choose Harvard.

Do not forget that law school is a trade school, and the vast majority of graduates from the top schools are not going to be starting their own practices. You will need to either make connections with people in the field you hope to be employed or go to a well-regarded school with strong national or regional placement in law firms. A huge part of doing either route is made easier with a well-developed career services office.

While Yale's calendar of events is not open to the public, it appears that Harvard's--and thus at least some other schools'--will show you the types of events and services provided by the law school's placement offices. I'm especially interested in entrepreneurial law, intellectual property, and business law.  You'd think I should be at one of the Bay-Area schools.But when I visited Harvard and spoke to potential employers, I was convinced that my career options would be similar despite being on the east coast.  I'll keep you posted on my 1L job search after it's complete.

While some of this may be premature for those of you getting ready for the LSAT, please be aware of the problems of going to a top law school without knowing what you want to do.  Anymore, it's a whole lot of time and money for a market that is both extremely competitive and unrewarding for people who end up at a firm but don't want to be there.