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HopefulJD1992

No 1L summer job, implications for 2L recruit

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I have applied for about 10 1L summer research positions and never even got an interview for any of them. I am now very worried what implications this will have for me in the upcoming 2L recruit. I am volunteering this summer, and I have fairly robust volunteer experience from my undergrad and now first year of law school, but I think my work experience might be weak as I only worked 3 summer jobs in undergrad. How screwed am I for the 2L Toronto recruit? Will knocking out my fall semester of 2L overcome a weak work experience? How will law firms even consider 2L fall grades as everyone will be taking a variety of different courses making it difficult to compare applicants based on grades. 

basically just having an anxiety attack that I’m not gonna get a 2L job/articling job

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At my school, RA positions were primarily nabbed by students who got lucky that a professor they knew was looking for someone. Don't be upset that you didn't get one, especially if you were applying cold to positions. There might be a rule that they HAVE to post them on the job board, even if they already have a student in mind.

A job in your 1L summer can be useful for the recruit if it's interesting and gives you something to talk about, but many students get positions while doing nothing related to law during it.

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This is going to sound harsh, so fair warning.

Your anxiety, left unchecked, is far more likely to be an impediment than not having a law-related 1L job. Reading your post, I was struck by your overreaction before I even got halfway through, let alone by the time you stated you were having an anxiety attack.

Overreaction to things like this are what leads to the insane questions this board always gets during the OCI process, like “I have dietary restrictions and the firm I’m having dinner with sent an email asking if anyone has dietary restrictions, SOS what do I do?” You need to get a handle on your anxiety so that you can act like a normal human being for like four days in the next calendar year. That’s far more important than getting a 1L job. 

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1 minute ago, BlockedQuebecois said:

This is going to sound harsh, so fair warning.

Your anxiety, left unchecked, is far more likely to be an impediment than not having a law-related 1L job. Reading your post, I was struck by your overreaction before I even got halfway through, let alone by the time you stated you were having an anxiety attack.

Overreaction to things like this are what leads to the insane questions this board always gets during the OCI process, like “I have dietary restrictions and the firm I’m having dinner with sent an email asking if anyone has dietary restrictions, SOS what do I do?” You need to get a handle on your anxiety so that you can act like a normal human being for like four days in the next calendar year. That’s far more important than getting a 1L job. 

I know I’m overreacting, and with the 2L recruit being over 8 months I’m not sure why it’s bothering me so much. I’m just stressing about whether or not my resume is good enough, looking at my peers and I see people with extensive and varied backgrounds, and this comparing leads me down the road where I end up thinking I won’t even get an interview because my resume is somehow that inferior. I prioritized volunteering throughout my life as I found it to be more rewarding and there were more interesting opportunities to me from volunteering. However I noticed that it seems like volunteering isn’t considered very much, and in some posts I’ve read it seemed as if it was irrelevant; one partner at a smaller firm even told me he views volunteering as fluff. 

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13 minutes ago, BlockedQuebecois said:

This is going to sound harsh, so fair warning.

Your anxiety, left unchecked, is far more likely to be an impediment than not having a law-related 1L job. Reading your post, I was struck by your overreaction before I even got halfway through, let alone by the time you stated you were having an anxiety attack.

Overreaction to things like this are what leads to the insane questions this board always gets during the OCI process, like “I have dietary restrictions and the firm I’m having dinner with sent an email asking if anyone has dietary restrictions, SOS what do I do?” You need to get a handle on your anxiety so that you can act like a normal human being for like four days in the next calendar year. That’s far more important than getting a 1L job. 

He was pretty successful in the recruit, so not the best example to use.

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7 minutes ago, wtamow said:

He was pretty successful in the recruit, so not the best example to use.

I honestly don’t recall who said that, I just remember it being one of the craziest questions I’ve ever read someone seriously ask.

Either way, my point stands. 

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Not having a 1L job certainly won’t sewer you for the 2L recruit, particularly in light of the reality of the current job market (which employers will, I’m sure, be cognizant of). If you’re doing something productive/interesting with your summer — and it sounds like you are — that’s really all that matters.

BQ’s point about getting a handle on your anxiety is valid. Managing anxiety is tough for many people, and if you’re having trouble with it now it will likely persist throughout your career. Best to address it now.

But in addition to that, if you applied to 10 RA positions and didn’t get any interest at all, and assuming your grades aren’t the issue, maybe you (or someone you trust) should take another look at your application materials.

It’s hard to say how employers will view 2L fall semester grades; but, frankly, it shouldn’t really matter to you. Why wouldn’t you try to get the best grades you possibly can? Don’t take your foot off the pedal now. You should plan for the possibility that you’ll strike out in the 2L recruit (which is, for most people, a crapshoot), and your 2L grades will certainly be important if that happens.

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Don’t beat yourself up because you didn’t get an RA job, it’s possible they weren’t even really accepting applications. Profs are usually required to post the job for everyone but often have a specific student in mind. 

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I didn't get a job through OCIs but I know many who did. Not all of them had law related summer experience. Some of them shadowed lawyers, went on vacation, worked retail jobs, worked jobs at a summer camp etc. 

I think their grades + law school experience (clinics, moots, clubs) and well roundedness is what mattered more than anything. 

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Posted (edited)

Relevant work experience will certainly help an application but it is by no means a prerequisite. Good grades matter way more. I assume firms would be particularly lenient about work experience in 2020, given the unemployment rate ...

Also, no one can say how 2L fall grades will be viewed with any specificity because they are a new variable. But grades have always mattered a lot so it's pretty reasonable to believe they'll continue to matter a lot. 

It's worth repeating that worrying about this stuff won't help you. Whatever is said in this thread won't change your 1L transcript or your resume. Don't fixate on things you can't change.

Edited by bernard
typo
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During good times not a whole lot of students get 1L law jobs or research positions. During a pandemic? I think those rates likely drop a little more. 

 

What I say to students who have similar worries as you do is that skills for the practice of law are not only obtained from working law related jobs. You can earn valuable skills from a variety of work. Don’t sell short other forms of work, including retail. Sure if by articling you’ve got no legal related work that might be a problem, but not during the 2L recruitment. Take work wherever it may come and be reflective in the skills you’ve gathered. During my interviews during 1L I was asked about the work I did at a local grocery store the most. I had worked there for my high school and undergrad. I was asked questions about it despite being an RA throughout my four years in undergrad, volunteering and so much more. This job at a grocery store not only allowed me to show I had valuable, relevant skills for the practice of law, but enabled me to also direct their attention to how I was able to manage my time, excellent in studies as well as do the many other things in my resume all at the same time. It also provided me some good stories to throw a conversation around with. I say all this to again emphasize, in 1L it doesn’t matter where you work. Whatever it is you’re doing, you need to be prepared to explain how things makes you a good candidate. People who get RA jobs but can’t explain why this makes them a good prospective higher are not going to secure a job in the basis that they have RA as a job on their resume. Don’t be fooled. Resumes may get you in, but how you interview is gonna govern if you’re hired or not. 

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Posted (edited)

You're going to get (at least) two answers here, both of which are correct. On the one hand, everything counts so adding legal experience in 1L summer would help. At the same time, don't really worry about it as it's not required (especially true in covid). 

Edited by Trew
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On 6/21/2020 at 3:22 PM, HopefulJD1992 said:

I know I’m overreacting, and with the 2L recruit being over 8 months I’m not sure why it’s bothering me so much. I’m just stressing about whether or not my resume is good enough, looking at my peers and I see people with extensive and varied backgrounds, and this comparing leads me down the road where I end up thinking I won’t even get an interview because my resume is somehow that inferior. I prioritized volunteering throughout my life as I found it to be more rewarding and there were more interesting opportunities to me from volunteering. However I noticed that it seems like volunteering isn’t considered very much, and in some posts I’ve read it seemed as if it was irrelevant; one partner at a smaller firm even told me he views volunteering as fluff. 

Are you from a law school that implemented mandatory P/F? If so, I understand why you might be anxious. But in my experience (as an incoming 3L), people are generally anxious about OCIs around this time of year. COVID year is probably just going to heighten this anxiety. Nothing you said so far indicates you "need help" with you anxiety issues. This kind of chatter was abundant among my peers last summer.

Based on what I know, in hindsight, no one really knows what recruiters care about when it comes to work experience or extra curricular activities. What is brought up during interviews may surprise you. No one really knows why recruiters might ask about some random volunteer position you had in undergrad as opposed to the "volunteer work at a legal clinic" you might have done. But it happens. Generally speaking, recruiters tend to have grade cut-offs but can be flexible depending on the applicants' other experiences. This may or may not hold in the next recruitment cycle and no one knows. There's no point in stressing over this. Just do your best in 2L and see what happens.

If you have something to do this summer, great. Do the thing and do your best at it. RA positions are not all the same. Some involve pretty mundane, mindless stuff.

Even if you don't get a job from OCIs, there are plenty of interesting law jobs out there. Not getting a job through OCIs may be a blessing in disguise.

1Ls, especially those from corporate-focused schools (like mine), tend to see things through a very narrow lens. It's the unfortunate result of having big firm names in our faces all the time. It's hard to convince them otherwise until they see what's out there.

 

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