Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Forward Thinking for Upper Division Law School Students

Sometimes, at about this time of year, upper class students ask assistant deans for career services where the summer and post-graduate jobs are. It’s a natural question, after all. I mean, fall on-campus interviewing usually concludes right about now and results in the hiring of relatively few students nationwide. So what about everyone else?

There is a natural tension between the needs of employers and the desires of law students. Only the largest of employers, employers with the resources to plan 6-9 months ahead, are in a position to hire summer interns and grads now. All other employers tend to put off hiring until they realize that they cannot afford to delay any further. Law students, of course, would like to move the issue of a summer or post-graduate job off their plate early, so they can focus on other matters, such as final exams or studying for the bar.

Historically, the equilibrium that is reached ends up yielding the following results: the vast majority of summer clerks and interns and a good-sized plurality of graduating students obtain their positions anywhere between February and July. In addition, depending upon the kind of work they are seeking, many graduating students will find jobs after graduation, the bar exam, or on learning that they passed the exam. Take it from me, who worked for a smaller law firm for more than 10 years, some law firms simply cannot afford to hire graduating students until they know the grad will soon be admitted.

So, what does all this mean? I’ll tell you what it means. It means that, at this time of year, patience is a virtue. There are plenty of things for you to be doing now to plan ahead, but actually applying for jobs is not one of them. Make an appointment to see a counselor before the end of this semester or early next semester to discuss your job search plan. Most of the problem during this time of year is the anxiety that accompanies not knowing when you are going to get a job. Talk to us and send the anxiety packing!

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