The 1L Job Search Begins

November 26, 2008

T.H., 1L

This weekend was the Harvard-Yale football game. The only thing I worried about was what to wear at the tailgates from now on. (I graduated from Harvard in the spring, but other than my morning coffee mug, most of my Harvard stuff has been phased out after four years of wear and tear.)

With “The Game” comes Thanksgiving break and the end of November. This month, my first November in law school, started with a barrage of information from the Career Development Office (CDO), which was forced to keep its distance from 1Ls until the start of November—giving them one month to prepare us for open season, or better put, the time when we can start applying for our summer jobs. We can officially begin applying for jobs on December 1st when first-years and summer employers are finally allowed to talk to each other directly, and application deadlines start coming.

At the beginning of the year I couldn't even imagine taking this step and applying for summer work. I can honestly admit that I wasn’t particularly clear on what career options were open to me, or which ones I would actually like. I came to school with a vague notion of what it meant to be a lawyer, and I had yet to learn any of the “skills” lawyers supposedly have. But after just one semester at Yale, I now feel so prepared to take the next step in becoming a lawyer. In only three months, I’ve learned how to conduct legal research and write briefs and memos because of assignments from my small group and other classes, as well as my extracurricular activities (such as doing research on immigration law for my Lowenstein Human Rights Project). Moreover, I was able to talk to other Yale Law students and my T.A.s about my future plans – a testament to the community here at Yale.

Perhaps more importantly, during my initial search, the help of the CDO has also been invaluable--especially for someone like me who came into law school with half a dozen different interests, each pulling me in a different direction. Like many students, I spent the first couple of weeks absorbing the basic information about applying to summer jobs. I spent my time with such events like the resume workshop, the general and public interest-specific job search seminars, and the summer funding info session. Next, even though my head was still swimming with all of the opportunities YLS had to offer, I met with a CDO counselor to try to narrow down my avenues for summer employment. The one-on-one session went way beyond resume review, helping me talk through my interests to a workable game plan and a more specific goal. In short, it was a giant success.

I used to fear that December 1st would come too soon and I would spend my Thanksgiving break scrambling to find a job, but with the resources of the CDO, the insight of my older and wiser teaching assistants and classmates, and the skills I've learned this semester, I'm excited to start this new chapter in my law school career.