1L Summer Job Search—in Hindsight

Congratulations, 1Ls! We survived finals and we are now one-sixth attorneys. The long-deserved winter break is a time to relax—right? Maybe….

Enjoy your break (I was recharged for spring semester after walking the Golden Gate Bridge, wine tasting, and visiting the beach while back west), because you will be back to the law school grind in less than a month! But try to fit part of your 1L summer job search into any downtime.

1L summer internship applications opened December 1, per National Association for Law Placement (NALP) rules…certainly not the best time for law students to become more encumbered. For the most part, 1Ls complete the bulk of their applications during and after winter break. In my experience, applying for jobs while surrounded by family and mentally detoxing post-finals is not easy, so here is what I wish I knew beforehand to prepare:

1. A lot of materials are collectable in those slow, pre-law school summer months of anticipation. 

  • Transcripts: undergraduate and graduate, if applicable.
  • Cover letter and résumé material: According to the handy Office of Career Services (OCS) guidebook you will receive in the fall, the majority of students use experience acquired before law school. Your work experience is vital in the application process, so articulate that experience.
  • References: Maintain these relationships! Also, keep in mind that some applications require a law professor as a reference.

2. Buy a nice suit during Black Friday or another big sale.

Keep in mind while suiting up that law is a conservative profession, and the expected dress code reflects that culture.
  • As the axiom goes, dress for the job you want.
  • The great deals are worth taking time out of your study schedule!
  • Don’t forget, you’re in NYC. Keep your eyes out for sample sales.
  • Buy your suit set, shoes, etc. before winter break, as many interviews will be scheduled over break (particularly if you apply to jobs in your home market).

3. Application closing dates vary widely. Remember the law-school-application adage “Apply early,” because most hiring is rolling.

  • All applications are (supposed) to open December 1.
  • Some public interest applications are due before finals begin or end.
  • Many firm applications are due mid-break.
  • Public Interest Legal Career Fair applications are due the first week of spring semester.

4. Your law school grades will not be available until after a large number of job applications close.

  • So, do not delay applications in anticipation of grade release; send an addendum later.

5. If you hope to work outside of NYC (especially if it’s where you will be spending break):

  • Apply before finals or as soon after as possible.
  • Include in your application the dates you will be there to interview.

6. You aren’t alone in your applications.

  • OCS provides an incredibly helpful guidebook for job applications in November; hosts a Diversity Fair in fall; and presents numerous panels with public interest, firm, corporate, and governmental attorneys.
  • Your mentors from various organizations are wonderful resources, as they were in your shoes last year.