If you have decided you may want to work for a large law firm
after completing your J.D., then make sure you carefully consider the following
steps. A little leg work now, can save you considerable time and effort later
and keep your career path on track!
Do as much research as possible before committing to law school
Talk to associates at the types of law firms you want to target. Ask them about the firms' cultures and work hours. We understand you may not
know if you would be happy working there until you get an internship, but the
more background research you can do now before selecting your target law
schools, the better.
Select your target law schools
Although the top national firms
have been casting their nets wider as hiring competition increases, they
regularly recruit from the very top schools, and having a degree from one of
these will give you a leg up in the recruiting process. Mid-sized firms are
reported to be shifting their recruiting to lower-profile national schools and
regional schools because they can't compete with big firms' demand for J.D.s
from the very top schools. Regional firms may have their own recruiting
preferences. Try to make sure that the type of employer you have in mind
recruits through the school you plan to attend.
Work smart at your studies
You know there is a learning curve ahead of you for law school
academic success. That's why you probably spent a lot of time on your LSAT preparation and
applications. So doesn't it make sense to utilize available resources in this
very important endeavor too? We have law school success book recommendations
to help you in this often overlooked area.
Work hard at your studies
Your law school GPA will make a big difference
in your post-graduation career options. Slacking off once you get to a top law
school will greatly diminish the effort you put into gaining admission to that
top law school.
Take your interviews very seriously
Get a "leg up" on your fellow students by preparing beyond what
is offered to you by your career services. You should seriously consider getting
outside help and an early start with your legal job interview preparations.
(Again, see our law school success book recommendations for additional guidance
in this area.)
Utilize your summer internship
Use summer internships to gain the practical skills that firms
demand of associates and to prove your interest and mettle to your prospective
Know what you're about to get into
But also use summer internships to make sure that an associate's life is
what you want. The top firms pay associates handsomely – but they also expect a
lot in return for their money. If long hours and limited vacations aren't what
you want in a job, re-think your interest in this career track. And if you like
the work but don't like the vibe at the office you're clerking at, expand your
job search to other firms. You'll be spending most of your waking hours at work
for the next few years; you'll want to do that someplace where you'll be happy.