It’s never too early to plan your career as a law student, about where you will live, how hard you have to work, and if you will top of the class. Spend some time and effort thinking about the long legal career ahead. Time flies and you will soon search for jobs with no time left to decide about your life. It’s important to be prepared early, and avoid missing out on interesting opportunities. Send in applications for summer jobs by the first week of December of the first year, as your school may have prior deadlines for summer funding.
What are your Aims in Life?
The law school is no default option without adding more unhappy lawyers in the world. If you’re not sure you want to practice law, and if you don’t have a pretty clear idea of what type of law you want to practice, take a year off before jumping in. Discuss with lawyers and former-lawyers about their lawyerly lives. Find and apply for an entry-level job (get started here) in a reputed law firm or even a public interest organization, or you could volunteer with the local bar association. Understand what a lawyer’s life as is really like. You’ll be better off financially without going into debt for a year of law school before quitting, even if you only can secure minimum wages during your year off.
Don’t Focus Only on School
Law school grades are important, and excellent grades can expand career opportunities. Spend some time each week to focus on career goals and to develop the habit of meeting new people routinely to explore new options. Never isolate yourself without connections and no relevant experience, when the job search process heats up. Spend time every week building your career and professional network, even if only for an hour, working on your resume /cover letter or to chat over a cup of coffee with an interesting lawyer.
Cultivate Your Professors
There are plenty reasons to go during office hours and cultivate your professors better, as they may help you in your career, directly or indirectly. A professor could recommend favorite students for a job, and letters of recommendation are required for clerkship applications and solid references are required because some law firms insist on them before hiring new associates.
Prepare Application Materials Carefully
Prepare your resume and cover letter before classes begin as interesting opportunities could emerge. Copies of all existing educational transcripts should be readied for availability when needed along with potential references from former professors / employers. Your goal is to apply for interesting career opportunities within hours so that everything is collected, scanned, formatted, and ready at all times.
Ace the Interview
When a firm grants you an interview, you’ll be asked-Why this law firm?” as part of the process. Keep your answer ready after researching the firm online, so that your answer is knowledgeable and personalized. Find out what others say about the firm, their self- perceptions and important achievements. You’ll be asked why you chose your law school, and why you pursue a career in law. Prepare your answers thoroughly, but avoid sounding rehearsed. Finally, ask questions about your future role in the firm and delve deeper into comments and data provided by interviewers.
Enjoy your law school stint, while taking definite and firm steps towards your preferred career.