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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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