Career advice for 1Ls (part two)

This is the second post summarizing the advice LegalJob provided to 1Ls.

When picking your focus area, consider tying in your current background, education, or experience (or some combination.)

  • Electrical engineers can add a lot of value up front as an intellectual property lawyer so that discipline is worth considering first (not to say that double Es cannot make good tax or corporate lawyers just that the obvious leg up is in the IP field).
  • Speak another language or from a foreign country?  Consider current legal issues and disciplines that are strong in that other place.
  • Had a part-time job in college or after where you acquired skills that could benefit a certain legal area?  Think about capitalizing on this experience.

Remember that employers appreciate laser-like focus and a commitment to the particular discipline.

  • Weaving in your background, education, or experience can help demonstrate that your commitment is longstanding.
  • When choosing part-time jobs or school activities, consider whether these experiences have the potential for strengthening your future elevator speech.

When picking law school classes, consider how each one will help make you a stronger contributor in your area(s) of focus.

  • Ask many people for suggestions (professors, alumni, administrators)
  • Some classes are obvious -- for example tax and corporate tax for tax lawyers
  • Some classes may not be as obvious -- for tax you may want to take securities or financial products (to develop your niche) or you may want to take bankruptcy which is similarly rules based.
  • Consider taking classes in which you have reason to believe you will excel (assuming they are related to your focus area).
    • Grades are important so it is okay to load up on tax classes if that is where you shine (and tax/business law is you area of focus).

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