Although each student’s individual job search is unique, there are many universal principles relating to the job search process that are important to understand. This site provides guidance on self-assessment, employer research, networking, application materials, and interviewing.

 

Job Search Timelines


September

  • Engage in self-assessment to evaluate your career interests, skills and values. Attend lectures, programs and events about legal practice (while CDO does not provide programs specifically for 1Ls until October, 1Ls are invited and welcome to attend CDO sponsored programs at any time). 
  • Interested in Public Interest or Government? Read CDO’s Public Interest Careers, International Public Interest Law, Criminal Defense, Criminal Prosecution, and Working on Capitol Hill guides
  • Interested in Law Firm Practice? Consult the Law Firm section of CDO’s website 
  • Interested in Business? Read CDO’s Lawyers in Business guide
  • Interested in Academia? Read CDO’s Entering the Law Teaching Market guide
  • Interested in Judicial Clerkships? Read CDO’s Judicial Clerkships in the U.S., Opportunities with International Tribunals and Foreign Courts, and U.S. Supreme Court Clerkships guides
  • Join a student organization or journal that will enable you to explore your career interests. 
  • Learn about the Centers at YLS and connect with those of interest to you. 
  • If interested in international opportunities, connect with the Schell Center and keep their events on your radar. 
  • If interested in law teaching, connect with the Law Teaching Program at YLS and keep their events on your radar. 
  • If interested in corporate law, connect with the Center for the Study of Corporate Law and keep their events on your radar.

October/ November

  • Attend CDO’s 1L Summer Job Search and Application Preparation programs. Read CDO’s advice on résumés and cover letters. Draft résumé and cover letter. Meet with assigned CDO counselor to discuss career goals and review application materials. 
  • Begin reading CDO’s weekly email to students and CDO’s Public Interest E-News. 
  • Attend CDO’s 1L programs on business and alternative careers, public interest, and judicial clerkships. 
  • Conduct research into potential summer opportunities. Use CDO’s career guides as starting points. Start habit of checking CDO’s Online Job Posting System in CMS to learn about employment opportunities. 
  • If contemplating federal government internships, review CDO’s information about federal government security clearances
  • Learn about summer public interest funding, including SPIF and Kirby Simon international. Consider attending the Equal Justice Works Career Fair and Conference in DC for panels and table talk only (per NALP guidelines, 1Ls may not apply for jobs until December 1). 
  • Create your list of desired summer employers.

December

  • Email cover letters and résumés on or after December 1 to employers who hire early (larger law firms, national nonprofits, some federal agencies like DOJ) 
  • Attend CDO’s interviewing workshop, read CDO’s 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.

January/ February

  • Consider attending the YLS Co-sponsored NYU Public Interest Career Fair. 
  • Consider interviewing with employers at CDO’s Spring Interview Program in New Haven. 
  • 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.

March 

  • Continue to follow up and apply to additional employers. Talk to a CDO counselor if you have any career questions or concerns about your job search. 
  • Attend CDO events including the Law Firm Practice Area Forum.
  • If interested in law firm practice, attend law firm spring receptions in New Haven in preparation for the Fall Interview Program.
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April/May 

  • Attend CDO program on having a successful summer experience. 
  • Tell CDO about your employment plans!

June/July 

  • Read CDO’s summer emails containing important information about the Fall Interview Program and other career related events. 
  • Network with alumni in your location working in areas of interest to you. Consider setting up informational interviews. Attend summer law firm recruiting events. 
  • Update your résumé to reflect summer position and review with CDO counselor. 
  • Plan fall course selection to reflect and build on your employment interests. Consider clinical opportunities.

July/ August 

September/ October / November 

  • Attend law firm offer dinners. 
  • Be aware of NALP guidelines, including that you should respond to offers from NALP firms within 28 days from the date of the offer letter. You can either accept, decline or seek April 1 public interest/business extension. 
  • Continue researching and contacting non-FIP employers. Keep checking CDO’s Online Job Posting System in CMS to learn about opportunities. 
  • Join a student organization or journal that will enable you to explore your career interests. 
  • Consider attending the Equal Justice Works Career Fair and Conference in DC. 
  • Read CDO’s weekly email to students and CDO’s Public Interest E-News. 
  • Learn about the Centers at YLS and connect with those of interest to you. 
  • Learn about summer public interest funding options, including SPIF and Kirby Simon international travel grants
  • If you are keen on applying for clerkships, meet with CDO’s Clerkship Director to develop game plan and application materials. 
  • If interested, start to learn about post-graduate public interest fellowships by reading CDO’s fellowship guides, attending programs, and connecting with CDO’s Public Interest Director. 
  • Consider Bar Exam options and confirm Bar Admission requirements.

December 

  • Plan spring course selection to reflect and build your employment interests. Consider clinical opportunities.

January/ February 

  • Consider attending the YLS Co-sponsored NYU Public Interest Career Fair
  • If no job offer, talk to a CDO counselor about strategies, including using YLS Career Connections in CMS to reach out to alumni. 
  • If you are planning to apply for clerkships, work with CDO’s Clerkship Director to develop judge list and application materials, including letters of recommendation.

March 

  • Attend CDO programs even AFTER you have obtained a job—no job is forever!

April/May 

  • Attend program on having a successful summer experience. 
  • If you plan to pursue post-graduate public interest fellowships, connect with CDO’s Public Interest Director and go into summer experience with fellowship goals in mind. 
  • Tell CDO about your employment plans!

June/July 

  • Read CDO summer emails containing important information about career related events. 
  • If relevant, leave your summer with a writing sample and references (and an offer!). 
  • Network with alumni in your location working in areas of interest to you. Consider setting up informational interviews
  • Update your résumé to reflect summer position and review with CDO counselor. 
  • If applying to federal judges, apply in June in accordance with the Federal Law Clerk Hiring Plan. 
  • Plan fall course selection to reflect and build on your employment interests. Consider clinical opportunities.

Fall

  • Fill out the Student Summer Employment Evaluation in CMS
  • If desired, confirm a post-graduate public interest fellowships plan for the year with CDO’s Public Interest Director and make sure to meet your application deadlines. 
  • Consider applying to the DOJ Honors Program and other government honors programs. Review CDO’s information about federal government security clearances
  • If you receive a permanent offer from your summer law firm, decide whether you wish to accept that offer. If you received the offer by September 2, you must respond to that offer by October 1. If the offer was provided after September 2, you have 28 days to respond. You can either accept, decline or seek April 1 public interest/business extension. 
  • Read CDO’s weekly email to students and CDO’s Public Interest E-News. 
  • Join a student organization or journal that will enable you to explore your career interests. 
  • Learn about the Centers at YLS and connect with those of interest to you. 
  • Consider attending the Equal Justice Works Career Fair and Conference in DC. 
  • If you have not done so already, you must consider Bar Exam options and confirm Bar Admission requirements
  • Plan spring course selection to reflect and build on your employment interests. Consider clinical opportunities.

Spring 

  • If you are seeking employment for after graduation, be sure to connect with a counselor in CDO and tap into your network using tools at your disposal. 
  • If you have secured employment for after graduation, inform CDO about your employment plans! 
  • Read CDO’s advice about maximizing your time in a law firm if that is where you are headed. 
  • Sign up for YLS Career Connections in CMS so that you can mentor the next generation of students. 
  • Remember that CDO is available to you after graduation, so stay in touch if we can be of help to you as your career plans progress.