New England Law | Boston

Return to the New England Law | Boston home page.
New England Law Opportunities

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.

Bookmark and Share