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Friday, November 5, 2010

Frequently Asked Questions About the First Year Job Search

Each year our office receives a number of questions from first year students regarding their job search. Below please find the answers to the most frequent questions we receive.

When do I need to start looking for summer employment?
Based on NALP guidelines, first year students are not permitted to have contact with employers prior to December 1st. In general, large law firms who hire first year students ask students to apply as soon after December 1st as possible. Government and public interest internship deadlines typically fall in January, February, and mid-March, at the latest. Mid-sized and small firms usually hire on an as-needed basis and many smaller firms do not begin to think about their summer hiring needs until well into the spring semester. Review the job search time-line included in your CSO orientation folder for a month-by-month guide to your job search.

How do most students find their jobs?
To find summer employment, you will need to do more than just apply to jobs that are posted. According the our most recent summer job survey, most New England Law students found their job through informal means, whether it was through someone they knew, networking, or self-initiated contact. All students are encouraged to schedule an appointment with a counselor as soon as possible to go over their individual job search strategy.

What if I want to do a study abroad program instead? 
If you decide to participate in a study abroad program, plan on finding a volunteer or internship opportunity for when you return. Many of the study abroad programs end in the early summer, so you still have the rest of the summer to gain experience. 

Are most summer internships unpaid? How do I find funding for an unpaid internship?
Of the students who reported they were employed during the summer of 2010,  43% worked in paid positions and 57% worked in unpaid positions.There are a number of resources for students seeking funding for an unpaid summer internship. Eligible students may be able to receive Federal Work Study for work with a non-profit or for-profit organization. Students working for a public interest organization during the summer should also visit the Summer Funding Resources page on the PSLawNet website for a comprehensive list of grants available.

Can I receive credit for an unpaid summer internship?
No. Credit is available only for work done through the school's clinical program during the academic year.

Will I limit my career options if I work in a practice area I am not sure I want to practice in after graduation? 
No. Any legal experience you gain in the summer after your first year is valuable and will help you in finding future legal employment. Many of the skills you gain in one practice area (i.e. research, writing, interpersonal skills, etc.) can be applied to another field of law.

When do most first year students find summer employment?
There is no single time of year when most 1Ls find their jobs. Some students know where they will be working by February while others won't find something until April. Small firms will continue to look for summer law clerks throughout the late spring. Even if you have not found a job by the end of April, know that there are still employers out there looking for summer help. The first step is scheduling an appointment with a counselor in the Career Services Office. Call the office at 617-422-7229 to get started on your job search today! 

The Career Services Office is located at 31 St. James Avenue (the Park Square Building) on the 3rd floor, Suite 350. All visitors must present a picture I.D. at the security desk by the elevators on the first floor upon arrival. Click here for complete directions.  
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Monday, October 25, 2010

Spotlight on Post-Graduate Fellowships

The following is a blog post originally posted in February 2010. 
For many law students looking for public interest work after graduation a fellowship can be the best way to gain an entry-level position with a nonprofit. While many public defender offices and legal services agencies hire new attorneys each year, many other public interest organizations do not. Fellowships typically last for one or two years and may not lead to permanent positions within the organization, however they provide new attorneys excellent training and exposure to a particular field which will make them better qualified for other positions within the public interest arena.

In general, fellowships fall into two categories: organization-based or project-based. An organization-based fellowship is sponsored by the organization for which the fellow is working. A project-based fellowship is sponsored by an outside organization and allows the fellow to work within a host organization on a specific project within a particular area of law or serving a particular community. PSLawNet provides an informative overview of public interest fellowships and is also the best resource for finding positions and sponsoring organizations.

For further information on applying for a post-graduate fellowship attend the CSO/PILA program Fellowship Application Tips, Wednesday, October 27th, 5:00pm - 6:00pm in the Cherry Room.

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Monday, October 4, 2010

5 Questions for a Practitioner: Richard J. Sweeney '00, Sullivan and Sweeney LLP

Richard J. Sweeney is a partner at the firm of Sullivan and Sweeney in Quincy, MA and is currently the Secretary of the Norfolk Bar Association. He is a retired Boston Police sergeant and former instructor at police academies statewide. His practice is primarily handling criminal defense matters in District, Superior and Federal Court. He began as a law clerk at his present firm while a second year law student at New England Law and rose to full partner in 2006. In addition to his other cases he has sat as second chair in several homicide cases with his partner and has successfully obtained several six figure settlements in personal injury cases for his clients.  He is a 2000 graduate of New England Law | Boston.

How did you get started in this particular field?
After retiring from the Boston Police Department I wanted to stay active in the legal field and thought that being an attorney would interest me and allow me to assist others. Deciding on criminal defense was an easy choice as I was able to use the knowledge and experience gained from my years as a police officer and turn it into a strength as a defense attorney. It was one of my better decisions in my life.

 What is a typical day like for a criminal defense attorney?
An active criminal defense attorney begins their day in court with hearings on motions, pre-trial conferences and/or trials. A great deal of time is also spent explaining to your client(s) what is happening in their case. Afternoons are filled with client meetings, research, and writing motions and memos for upcoming cases. It is important to keep up with the latest cases that affect your clients. A few evenings each month are dedicated to bar associations and other related activities to network and stay involved in the legal community.

Were there any particular law school experience(s) that especially prepared you for practicing criminal law?
Criminal law in particular calls for an expertise in evidence. Cases live and die on whether a piece of evidence is admissible. A course in clinical evidence is a must to gain expertise in everyday practical evidentiary issues. I also highly suggest any clinic or class that gets you on your feet and involved defending your arguments. Every new attorney needs to learn the proper foundation questions needed in court for evidence or testimony as well as the proper objections and motions needed to exclude evidence in all cases. The mediation course at New England Law also taught me some valuable lessons and the skills necessary to negotiate plea bargains and other issues. Finally, I highly suggest that you clerk for a criminal defense attorney or take a clinical class that gives you courtroom experience. I participated in the family law clinic supervised by Professor Oro that required I go to court on a regular basis and her suggestions and critiques were most helpful to me. As I transitioned from a student to a practicing attorney, Professor Oro was always available to assist me with any questions that I had. One of the best benefits of a New England Law education is that you can still reach out to the professors after graduation. They are a great resource that I continue to utilize to this day.

Are there certain personality traits candidates should have in order to do well in this field?

A desire to compete at a high level, an outgoing personality and an honest compassion for the people involved in each case.You have to be self-confident and willing to fight for your clients and ensure that their rights are protected so that they get the best possible defense. The most successful criminal defense attorneys I know are highly competitive and their backgroundS reflect that. There is also a camaraderie in this area of the law that, I believe, is unparalleled and makes it a rewarding practice.

What advice do you have for law students interested in pursuing a similar career path?
Law school alone does not prepare you for the world of practicing law in a courtroom. There are numerous forms, rules and procedures (and personalities) that will be foreign to you and the lack of real life experience can be overwhelming at times. Working in a district attorney's office as a SJC Rule 3:03 student attorney or as a law clerk with a practicing attorney is absolutely invaluable in making yourself marketable. I started in my firm as a law clerk after my second year in school. I became active in the Quincy and Norfolk Bar Associations almost immediately after passing the bar. I also stayed in touch with most of my professors after I graduated. Hard work and valuable connections made during my first five to seven years out of school helped me rise to partner and become Secretary of the Norfolk Bar Association. Networking is an absolute essential piece of your law school experience and you should use these years wisely by getting to know as many people in the field as possible. Like other firms, we have hired our associates from the ranks of our law clerks. Most jobs in small firms come from recommendations from friends and fellow attorneys. You can work yourself into a job in just a short time as an intern or a law clerk at a reputable firm.

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Friday, September 17, 2010

2010 Summer Survey Results

Over the summer, our students worked for solo practitioners, large firms, state and federal government agencies, and public interest organizations. Many more also worked for prosecutor's offices, judges, in-house legal departments, and participated in study abroad programs. This year, 233 New England Law students completed the 2010 Summer Employment Survey giving us valuable information about where students worked and how they found their jobs.

Type of Experience
  • 85% worked in a legal job
  • 8% worked in a non-legal job
  • 6% participated in a study abroad program
  • 1% did not work
Of those students who were employed in either a legal or non-legal job, 43% were in paid positions and 57% were in unpaid positions.

How Students Found Employment
Most students found their job through informal means, whether it was through someone they knew, networking, or self-initiated contact. 30% of respondents found summer employment through the CSO JobNet!
  • 33% found their job through the CSO JobNet or other online job posting site
  • 23% found their job through a referral from someone they knew
  • 16% found their job through other resources not identified on the survey
  • 12% found their job by contacting the employer directly or networking
  • 9% returned to a previous employer or continued with current employment
  • 6% found their job through an on-campus interview,  job fair, or other school program
  • 1% used a placement agency or search consultant   

Where Students Worked
  • 76% remained in Massachusetts
  • 15% worked out of state
  • 9% worked internationally or participated in a study abroad program
Below are just a few of the law firms and organizations who hired New England Law students this past summer:

Boyle, Morrissey & Campo
City of Philadelphia Law Department
Clean Harbors Environmental Services, Inc.
Committee for Public Counsel Services
Consortium on Gender, Security, and Human Rights
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
Goodwin Procter LLP
Greater Boston Legal Services
Jewish Family and Children's Services
Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office
Lubin and Meyer, P.C.
Massachusetts Appeals Court
Massachusetts Attorney General's Office
Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection
Massachusetts Land Court
McDermott, Quilty & Miller
Medical-Legal Partnership
Middlesex District Attorney’s Office
Nasdaq OMX BX
Office of the Rhode Island Public Defender
Parker Scheer LLP
Shelter Legal Services
Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office
Superior Court of New Jersey
Truelove, Dee & Chase LLP
U.S. Army JAG
U.S. Attorney's Office
U.S. Bankruptcy Court
U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Center for Capital Markets Competitiveness
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
U.S. Office of Government Ethics, Office of General Counsel and Legal Policy

Searching for a job for the 2011 summer?
Attend one the Career Services Office's 2LD/3LE Summer Job Search Sessions!

Lunch & Discussion
Monday,  09/27/2010
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
St. James Street Conference Room
 Pizza & Discussion
Wednesday, 09/29/2010
5:00 PM - 6:00 PM
Room 506

RSVP with the CSO.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Frequently Asked Questions About Judicial Clerkship Applications

A judicial clerkship is not only a unique opportunity to view behind-the-scenes legal proceedings and see the law from the judge's perspective but it is also a chance to develop valuable professional contacts that can aid in your future job search. If you are currently applying to judicial clerkships and have questions beyond those listed below, please contact our office.

Where can find I find information on judges and clerkship openings?
There are a number of online and print resources available to help you learn more about federal and state judges and courts.

For Federal Judges: 
  1. OSCAR is the central online resource for federal law clerk and appellate court staff attorney hiring. The web-based system allows applicants to file complete applications and recommenders to file letters of recommendation online. While many federal judges now use this system to post openings and collect applications, others still require applicants to apply directly. 
  2. The Federal Judiciary website provides biographical information on all past and present federal judges. The site also contains information and links to all the federal courts.  
  3. BNA's Directory of State and Federal Courts, Judges, and Courts (available in the CSO) provides information on federal and state court structures as well as the contact information for judges at all levels. 
For State Judges:
  1.  The Guide to State Judicial Clerkship Procedures provides information on clerkship opportunities and procedures in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, and Puerto Rico. Contact the CSO for username and password information.
  2. Most state court websites provide the names and contact information of judges assigned to each court. For a list of court websites by state, visit the National Center for State Courts website.  
  3. BNA's Directory of State and Federal Courts, Judges, and Courts (available in the CSO) also provides information on federal and state court structures as well as the contact information for judges at all levels. 

How should I address my cover letter? 
If the state or court you are applying to uses a centralized application process, check with the hiring contact for the best way to address your letter. When in doubt, use "Dear Honorable Justices".

When addressing a cover letter to an individual judge, use the following guide:
Federal or State Chief Judge
Address Block: The Honorable [full name], Chief Judge
Salutation: Dear Chief Judge [last name]

Federal or State Judge
Address Block: The Honorable [full name]
Salutation: Dear Judge [last name]

Senior Judge
Address Block:  The Honorable [full name], Senior Judge
Salutation: Dear Judge [last name]

State Chief Justice
Address Block: The Honorable[full name], Chief Justice
Salutation: Dear Chief Justice [last name]

State Justice

Address Block: The Honorable[full name], Associate Justice
Salutation: Dear Justice [last name]

Federal Magistrate or Bankruptcy Judge
Address Block: The Honorable [full name], [Title]
Salutation: Dear Judge [last name]

Who should write my letters of recommendation? 
Generally, judicial clerkship applicants should have three letters of recommendation. At least one letter should be from a law school professor. Letters from past legal employers are also preferred.

What should I use as a writing sample? 
Your writing sample should be a memorandum or brief that showcases your ability to research, analyze, and  explain legal  issues. Your sample should not be more than ten pages long and can be from a past legal employer as long as you obtain permission to use it and redact any confidential information. See our previous blog entry for more extensive information on writing samples.

For further reading:
Insight and Inside Information for Select State Court Clerkships (NALP)
Ten Tips to a Top Clerkship (from

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Monday, July 12, 2010

Frequently Asked Questions About the Fall Recruitment Program

Q: What is the Fall Recruitment Program? 

A: The Fall Recruitment Program (FRP) includes a variety of public interest, government, law firm, and judicial employers seeking 2011 summer and post-graduate associates and clerks. FRP begins in August and will continue throughout the Fall semester. 

Q: How do I apply for the Fall Recruitment Programs?

A: If you are applying for an on-campus interview, resume collection, or the New Hampshire Legal Interview Program, apply through the CSO’s Symplicity site. If you are applying for the National Recruitment Program, or the Government and Public Interest Interview program, apply through the Massachusetts Law School Consortium’s (MLSC) site. For detailed, step-by-step instructions, please refer to the Fall Recruitment Instructional Packet, which was emailed to your New England Law account, and can also be found in the Document Library on the CSO’s Symplicity site.

Q: When I’m in Symplicity, and I click on the “OCI” tab, it says something about a summer survey and I can’t find the participating employers. Where do I go from here?

A: All 2LD/3LEs and 3LD/4LEs are required to complete summer surveys and update their profiles including the Transcript Waiver and Interview Policy Acknowledgement before they are able to view the OCI section. When prompted to complete the summer survey, click “Add New” and fill in the required survey fields. After you submit your survey, you should automatically be taken to the OCI section. 

Q: How do I calculate my class rank percentage? 

A: If you are in the top 33% of the class, we suggest you put your class rank, and percentage, on your resume. Your GPA, class rank, and class rank percentage must be accurate to be included in the resume packets being sent to employers. To calculate your class rank percentage, do the following:

  1. Divide your class rank by the total number of people in your class;
  2. Count to the fourth digit to the right of the decimal point, and if it is 5 or higher, round up the third digit; and 
  3. Repeat for the third digit, and if it is now a 5 or higher, round up the second digit. 
    Note: If you applied for any upcoming Fall Recruitment Programs, and find that your percentage is not calculated according to the formula above, please "Withdraw" your application on Symplicity, upload your updated resume with the correct percentage, and re-apply.

    Q: My grades aren't great. Should I even bother applying to big firms?

    A: You should be realistic when applying to large firms. They typically are very strict about their grade requirements and most likely will not interview students who do not meet the standards which they have set. That said, occasionally there are exceptions to that general rule when a student exhibits better than average grades with special skills or highly relevant experience.

    Q: I will be taking a clinic in the Fall. Can I include it on my resume, even though I haven't started it yet?

    A: YES! Include all future clinics, journals, and law review. When listing something that is going to happen in the future, use "Fall 2010" as your date, and "Responsibilities will include..." or "Anticipated job duties will be...". Use the employer's job posting and your knowledge of what you might do as a basis for your description. After you start your clinic, update your job description with elaborated duties and change to the present tense. Bring the updated resume to your interview.

    Q: To whom should I address my cover letter?

    A: Always make sure to include the recipient's name and address on your cover letter. You can find this information on Symplicity by searching under "OCI" and clicking "Review" to the left of the employer.

    Q: If the employer doesn’t specifically ask for a cover letter, can I send one anyway?

    A: No. When applying to employers participating in FRP, only include what has been requested. The employers who have elected not to collect cover letters have done so for a reason. Sending a cover letter will merely show an inability to follow directions.

    For more Fall Recruitment application tips, read: 
    What are Memorandums? Frequent Resume Mistakes and Questions
    Frequent Resume Mistakes and Questions, Part II
    Tips for Writing the Perfect Cover Letter
    Frequently Asked Questions About Writing Samples

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    Wednesday, April 21, 2010

    Find Summer Employment in 7 Steps

    If you are still thinking about what to do this summer, here are some helpful suggestions for finding legal internships: 

    1. Check the JobNet on the CSO’s Symplicity site.
      Many small firms begin posting summer positions late in the spring semester. As of April 16th, there are currently 56 summer internships posted on the JobNet on the CSO's Symplicity site. Last year, 24 summer internships were posted during the months of May and June.

    2. Check other on-line resources.
      Do not limit your search to any single job posting site; instead, look in a variety of places. The on-line job search resources handout found in the document library on Symplicity offers a helpful list of a of other various job search websites depending on your interest.

    3. Request reciprocity.
      If you are looking for employment out of state, you may be able to request reciprocity from a law school career services office in that state in order to access their job postings. To learn about the program and to complete a request form, visit the reciprocity information page on our website.

    4. Contact firms and organizations directly.
      Do not wait for a job to be posted. Be proactive in your job search by contacting firms and organizations directly. Use the career guides in the CSO Career Development Handbook, and other on-line directories to do a targeted search of organizations within your area of interest. Stay organized and follow up with each employer you contact as you would when applying for posted jobs.

    5. Network.
      According to the 2009 Summer Employment Survey, most students found their summer job through informal means, either through a referral from someone they knew or through networking and self-intiated contact. Don’t know where to start? Read the networking sections of  this blog and the  CSO Career Development Handbook.

    6. Be flexible.
      If you have a car, look for opportunities outside of major metropolitan areas. Also consider taking an unpaid position and balancing your time with a paid non-legal position. The more flexible you are regarding pay and location, the better your chances are for finding summer employment.

    7. Contact the Career Services Office.
      Send us your resume and cover letters to be reviewed, schedule a mock interview appointment to improve your interview skills, and meet with a counselor to go over your individual job search needs. We are here to help and look forward to hearing from you!
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    Monday, April 12, 2010

    Still Seeking Post-Graduate Employment? 8 Steps for Success

    Try not to panic if you have not secured post-graduate employment. As a new law graduate, you may naturally be in a limbo period until you receive your bar results in November. Some employers will wait to see if you have passed the bar exam before hiring you. This is okay! Spend your summer studying and passing the bar exam. When your life gets back to normal in August, then you can resume your job search, networking and conducting informational interviews with anyone you think may be helpful. These things will help when your bar results are available and you are a viable candidate for an attorney position.

    In the meantime, there is still some time before graduation. If you want to search for jobs prior to graduation day, then perhaps the following tips can help to ease your concerns:

    1. Check the JobNet on the CSO's Symplicity site. April-June is the busy season for many small firms and government agencies. Email the CSO if you have forgotten your password.

    2. Join the CSO Job Posting Listserv! Each week, CSO Career Advisor, Becky Flanagan, sends out an email to the Class of 2010 featuring the latest post-graduate job openings. The listserv will continue to be sent after graduation. To join, email Becky today!

    3. Participate in the CSO's Resume Clinic. As you prepare to graduate from law school, let the Career Services Office help you polish your resume.  Chances are you have added new work experiences and accomplishments to your resume during your time in law school.  Let us help by proofreading your resume for content, format, style and clarity. All members of the class of 2010 are invited to submit their updated resumes for a final review to the Resume Clinic by the last day of classes (April 28th).
     To access the Resume Clinic:
    • Log on to RPC/Symplicity.
    • Click on the "OCI" tab.
    • Select "Resume Clinic" from the session drop-down menu .
    • Click "Review" (at left), for more information and to select your  resume. 
    • Click "Apply" to send your resume to the CSO for review.
    We will review your resume and send you our feedback. Our goal is to review all resumes for the class of 2010, as soon as possible, and by the bar exam date (July 28, 2010) at the very latest.

    4. Consider applying for federal government work. It is reported that 30 – 50% of federal employees will be eligible to retire in the next few years. This is bound to result in a hiring boom. Check out Making the Difference, a website devoted to promoting careers in public service, also highlights a variety of positions available to law graduates within the federal government.

    5. Consider contacting government and public interest agencies that interest you. All state agencies are listed on state and local government websites. Public interest positions can are also posted on For a more complete list of government and public interest resources email the CSO.

    6. Consider initiating contact with legal employers.Use on-line legal directories to search for employers according to specifications such as practice area, location and firm size and then follow-up with them about possible employment opportunities. CAUTION: The CSO does not recommend that you send blind mailings to hundreds of employers. Try to focus your search on a small group of employers who may be seeking new associates, but do not have the time to recruit. This is a great tool for contacting small and medium size law firms.

    7. Check job posting sites for legal work opportunities, such as,, and Email the CSO for a more comprehensive list of legal job posting sites.

    8. Continue to network. Nearly 85% of all Americans get their jobs through someone they know. Inform everyone you know that you are graduating from law school and will need to find a job soon. You never know if someone you know has heard of a job opening that would be perfect for you!

    Do not get discouraged. There are more legal jobs out there than you realize. For more job search suggestions, contact the CSO, 617-422-7229 or

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    Wednesday, April 7, 2010

    Should You Enroll in an LLM Program?

    For students contemplating pursuing an LLM degree directly after graduating from law school, there are a number of factors to consider.  

    Do you already have a strong background and genuine interest in this particular area of law? 
    Do employers within the particular field value the degree?
    Is your main reason for enrolling in an LLM program to delay your job search?

    While an LLM degree program can be a great way to specialize in a specific area of law, it is not always a strong substitute for practical experience and may not necessarily make the candidate more employable after graduation. Students should also not expect an LLM to make up for weak grades they received while in law school. This issue was recently covered by the TaxProf Blog in response to a recent question featured in the Advice for the Lawlorn column:

    Here we distinguish between two different types of prospective Tax LLM students: (1) prospective Tax LLM students who have a genuine interest in and aptitude for tax and want to develop additional tax expertise to improve their chances of being hired for a tax position to which they aspire; and (2) prospective Tax LLM students who do not have a particular interest in and aptitude for tax, but assume that a Tax LLM degree from a prestigious Tax LLM program will rehabilitate less-than-stellar JD credentials and improve their chance of obtaining a job at an elite, big firm. Based on our experience, the former type of prospective Tax LLM students should apply to Tax LLM programs, but the latter type should not. Tax LLM classes are rigorous and demanding. For many employers, both JD grades and Tax LLM grades are extremely important. A prospective Tax LLM student who is not genuinely interested in tax is not likely to do well in Tax LLM classes. In addition, the potential resume boost from successful completion of a Tax LLM degree is greatest when applying for tax-specific positions.

     Once a student has decided that pursuing an LLM is the best choice for their situation, factors in deciding on a program should include whether the program offers career services and specific recruitment programs for LLM students.

    For further reading on LLM degree programs:

    Advising JD Students on LLM Programs (NALP Bulletin)
    Post-JD Programs by Category (American Bar Association)
    Pursuing a Tax LLM Degree: Why and When? (U of Cincinnati Public Law Research Paper No. 10-11; Loyola-LA Legal Studies Paper No. 2010-9)

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    Friday, March 26, 2010

    The Waiting Game: When & How to Follow Up on a Job Application

    You found a job posting for the job of your dreams. You sent off your application ten days ago, and still haven't heard anything from the employer. Now what?

     As a general rule, large firms participating in on-campus recruitment ask candidates not to contact them during the application process because of the high volume of applications they receive. For all other job applications, always check the original job posting to see the employer's preferred method of communication before making contact. Some job postings clearly state "No phone calls or emails." If that is the case, then you are going to have to sit tight and wait until you hear from them. Other job postings may say, "No phone calls, email OK." Other employers may be open to having candidates call the office and will have the contact name and telephone number listed.

     When to Follow Up: If the posting does not say otherwise, it is fine to call or email the hiring contact two to three weeks after sending your application.

    What to Say: When following up on a job application it is important to convey your continued interest in the position while not sounding too pushy. Begin the phone call by stating your name and the job you applied for, then let them know that you are still very interested in the position and ask them where they are in the hiring process. If the hiring contact tells you they will get back to you in two weeks and you do not hear from them after those two weeks, wait a few more days before following up with them for a second time.

    Following Up After the Interview
    At the end of an interview, always ask the interviewer when they expect to make their decision. Send a thank you note to the interviewer immediately after your interview to reiterate your interest in the position.  If you do not hear back from the employer after the stated deadline, give them a few more days before calling to check on your status and follow the same rules for calling as above.  

    Unfortunately, not every employer will get back to you in a timely fashion and some may never get back to you at all. The best you can do as a job applicant is to let them know you are still very interested in the position and then wait patiently.

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    Friday, February 5, 2010

    Frequently Asked Questions About the First Year Job Search

    The following post is an updated version of our original posting on first year FAQs from 2008.

    During our counseling appointments with first year students there are a few questions that inevitably come up. How do most students find jobs? When do most students find jobs? How important is it that I work this summer? Below are answers to those questions.

    When do I need to start looking for summer employment?
    Students should schedule an appointment with a career counselor as soon as possible to review their resume and go over their individual job search strategy and time line. In general, government and public interest internship deadlines usually fall in January, February and mid-March, at the latest. Mid-sized and small firms usually hire on an as-needed basis and many small law firms do not begin to think about their summer needs until much later in the spring semester.

    When do most students find their jobs? When should I start panicking?
    There is no single time of year when most 1Ls find their jobs. Some students know where they will be working by February while others won't find something until April. Small firms will continue to look for summer law clerks throughout the late spring. So, even if you have not found a job by the end of April, know that there are still employers out there looking for summer help.

    What if I want to do a study abroad program instead?
    If you decide to participate in a study abroad program, plan on finding a volunteer or internship opportunity for when you return. Many of the study abroad programs end in the early summer, so you still have the rest of the summer to gain legal experience.

    I just received my grade from Torts. Should I list my current GPA on my resume?
    No. It is misleading to list your GPA from only one grade. Once you have received all of your grades at the end of the academic year, list your GPA on your resume if it is a 3.0 or above. If an employer wants to see your current grades, let them know that you have just one grade so far and give them a copy of your unofficial transcript.

    Is it true that the job you get for your second year summer determines what you will be doing after graduation?
    Not necessarily. Large firms usually give their summer associates offers for post-graduate positions at the end of the second year summer, however those firms only make up 10% of the legal employers out there.

    Will I limit my career options if I work in a practice area I am not sure I want practice after graduation?
    No. All legal experience is valuable and many the of skills you gain in one practice area are skills that can be applied in another (i.e. research & writing, interpersonal skills, etc.)

    I have been offered a job for the summer but it is unpaid. How do I find funding?
    There are a number of resources for students seeking funding for an unpaid summer internship. Eligible students may be able to receive Federal Work Study for work with a non-profit or for-profit organization. Students working for a public interest organization during the summer should also visit the Summer Funding Resources page on PSLawNet for a comprehensive list of grants available.

    Can I receive credit for an unpaid summer internship?
    No. Credit is available only for work placements done through the school's clinical program during the academic year.

    How do most students find their jobs?
    To find a summer job, you will need to do more than just apply to jobs that are posted. According to the 2009 Summer Employment Survey, 31% of the 255 students who responded found their job through the CSO Job Postings while 35% found their jobs through networking, self-initiated contact, or through a referral by a friend, family member or colleague.

    Remember, that the first step to the first year job search is meeting with a counselor in the Career Services Office. If you have not already done so, call 617-422-7229 to schedule an appointment with a counselor.

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    Friday, January 29, 2010

    Using the USAJobs Website

    The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has redesigned the federal job posting website,, in the hopes of making the site more user-friendly. Changes to the site include more flexibility in refining job search results and updates on the status of a candidate's application. There is also a new search page for student job seekers.

    Graduates and students interested in post-graduate employment with the US government should always use USAJobs to find opportunities. To find law related positions, begin with an advanced search and search by series number. The GS-09 series includes all general legal positions including General Attorney (GS-0905), Employee Benefits Law (GS-0958), and Tax Law Specialist (GS-0987). However, candidates should not limit themselves to the general legal series listings when searching for attorney and JD-preferred positions. The GS-12 series includes attorney work in the copyright, patent, and trademark field; and the GS-18 series lists positions in investigation such as FBI Special Agents (GS-1811). A complete list of federal occupation groups by number is available in the USAJobs Info Center.

    For a tutorial on how to search and apply for positions on USAJobs visit the site's Info Center and click on "Using USAJobs".

    For further reading:
    OPM relaunches revamped Government Executive Tips Making the Difference
    2009-2010 Federal Legal Opportunities Guide

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    Thursday, January 21, 2010

    Politics and Your Resume

    In a recent letter to the Ethicist in the New York Times, a hiring attorney asked if it was ethical to reject law student internship applications based solely on their membership to the Federalist Society. While the columnist responded that it is not ethical to reject a job candidate based solely on their politics, the attorney ultimately decided to remove the Federalist Society members from the pool of equally qualified job seekers. Organizations such as the Federalist Society, the National Lawyer's Guild, or People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) can cause extreme reactions in people. Hiring organizations may also judge a job seeker if they worked for a particular candidate on a political campaign. While one hopes that most employers would not reject a candidate based solely on politics, job seekers should always remember that there is that possibility when listing a political affiliation or membership to a potentially divisive organization on their resume.

    The decision to include or omit certain political activities from a resume is ultimately up to the job seeker and there are valid arguments to each side. Many candidates decide to keep their political affiliations on their resume because they either prefer to work for an organization that supports their beliefs or would rather work for an employer that would not judge employees based on politics. Others decide to remove any hint of politics from their application because they would prefer politics not distract the employer from their other experience and skills. When deciding how to proceed, all candidates should ask themselves one question: Would I be comfortable discussing this activity during an interview? If you decide to include memberships to controversial organizations on your resume, be prepared for the possibility of having your beliefs challenged during an interview. If you are not comfortable discussing politics during a job interview, you may want to remove any political activities from your resume.

    For further reading:
    "How Public Should Your Politics Be?" Student Lawyer. February 2009, Vol. 37, No. 6
    "The Ethicist: Taking on Unlikables." New York Times. 4 December. 2009
    "Hiring Lawyer Rejects Federalist Society Members - and Columnist's Advice." ABA Journal. 7 December. 2009

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    Wednesday, January 6, 2010

    New PSLawNet Blog

    PSLawNet, the on-line resource for public service legal careers, has a new blog for public interest-minded law students and attorneys. Blog topics will include legal news concerning the public interest job market, guest columns, and updates on resources for job seekers. Current blog posts include:

    - Dealing with the Debt Burden as a Public Interest Law Student
    - How to Prep for "Stress Interviews"
    - 5 New Year's Resolutions for your 2010 Summer Job Search

    Subscribe to the PSLawNet Blog RSS feed to stay up to date on the latest developments within the public interest community and to gain useful job search advice for a career in public service.

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