Step-by-Step for 1Ls

CDO’s Role in Your Job Search

CDO is here to partner with you as you evaluate your goals, explore possibilities, and navigate your job search. We provide one-on-one counseling, programs, and resources relating to nonprofits and government, including public interest fellowships; law firms; and judicial clerkships; and we coordinate interview programs to facilitate hiring.

You will be assigned a CDO counselor in September who will discuss relevant resources; facilitate connections with students and alumni; review application materials; provide interview advice; guide you through the offer and acceptance stage; and advise on job and internship success and navigating on-the-job challenges. After your 1L summer job plans are finalized, you are welcome to connect with any other CDO counselor who you think would be best suited to your long- term job interests.

PROFESSIONALISM: We look forward to developing a strong working relationship with you based on a mutual understanding of expectations and goals. We commit to you that we will offer you our best advice and feedback in a timely, respectful manner; we will be prepared, to the best of our ability, to respond to your questions and concerns; and we will work diligently to foster interactions with employers in compliance with our Recruiting Policies, Yale’s Sexual Misconduct Policies, and NALP’s Principles for a Fair and Ethical Recruitment Process. In return, we expect you to take ownership of your job search and commit to us that you will make full use of the resources provided, represent yourself accurately in all communications, be responsive to communications, and honor your commitments.

The 1L Summer Job Decision in Context 

Your 1L summer job decision is not particularly consequential – no choice will foreclose future opportunities. Consider using the summer to learn about particular area(s) of law, improve specific skills, and/or explore a geographic area. According to our data, most 1Ls work in the public sector, either with a government agency or non-profit organization. Just over 10% of 1Ls work for a private firm, and a few students conduct research for faculty, work for a corporation, or serve as a judicial extern.

Application Timing and Approach

You may hear rumors and receive conflicting advice about when you should begin applying to summer positions at various types of legal employers. Read our advice here to learn how to create an application timeline that will meet your needs and employers’ expectations.

1L Timeline


Image showing 1L timeline beginning in September


Image showing 1L timeline continuing in October and November
  • Attend CDO’s 1L Career Programming Series.
  • If contemplating federal government internships, review CDO’s Understanding Government Background Checks advice.
  • Learn about summer public interest funding, including SPIF and Kirby Simon Summer Fellowships.
  • Explore summer diversity opportunities with private-sector law firms
  • Create list of desired summer employers.
  • Explore what prior 1Ls have done by reviewing the Class Employment Lists in the quick links box on this page; reading the Summer Employment Evaluations in CMS; and connecting with fellow students on The Courtyard by clicking the “Students” tab.
  • Read CDO’s networking advice and apply the advice in conversations with upperclass students. Consider reaching out to some alumni with profiles of interest to you through The Courtyard.  


Image showing 1L timeline continuing in December
  • Email cover letters and resumes on or after December 1 to employers who hire early (larger law firms, national nonprofits, some federal agencies like DOJ). 
  • Review info about CDO’s January Winter Interview Program and register if interested. 
  • Attend interviewing workshop, read interviewing advice and conduct a mock interview. 
  • Plan spring course selection to reflect and build on your employment interests. Consider enrolling in a clinic to develop practical skills. 
  • Start to think about which Bar Exam you may take and learn about Bar Admission requirements. 
  • During winter break network, attend employer receptions, and reach out to additional employers.

Image showing 1L timeline continuing in January and February
  • Consider attending the YLS Co-sponsored February NYU Public Interest Career Fair.
  • Conduct interviews through the Winter Interview Program.
  • Continue follow up with employers to whom you have applied.
  • Apply to additional employers including smaller law firms, regional nonprofits, and state and local government. Continue checking CDO’s Online Job Posting System in CMS to learn about employment opportunities.
  • Many 1Ls will confirm summer employment plans during this time.

Image showing 1L timeline continuing in March, April and May
  • Continue to follow up and apply to additional employers.
  • Talk to a CDO counselor with questions or concerns about your job search. 
  • Attend employer receptions and CDO events, including the Law Firm Practice Area Forum, in preparation for 2L summer hiring.
  • Attend CDO program on having a successful summer experience. 
  • Tell CDO about your employment plans!

Image showing 1L timeline finishing in June and July
  • Learn about CDO’s Interview Programs for 2Ls including the Virtual Interview Program and the Public Interest Interview Program.
  • Network with alumni in your location working in areas of interest to you. Attend summer law firm recruiting events. 
  • Participate in Mock Interview Program and Resume Review Program
  • Plan fall course selection to reflect and build on your employment interests. Consider clinical opportunities.