Direction for a 1L — part one

LegalJob recently met with a 1L looking for some direction regarding a particular area of law to pursue. All he knew was that he is interested in working at a big firm. The advice provided could be applicable to other 1Ls or even any law student. How do you pick an area when you have no idea what a real lawyer in that practice area does all day?  Even if you did, how could you determine whether you would be good at that practice? Or whether the area would interest you?  Also, how do you know that big firm life is for you?

Targeted networking (with a specific purpose) -- Meet with as many firm lawyers as you can with touch points to learn their story and get advice.

  • Use the many information resources available at the career services office of the law school
  • Have the folks there print you lists of people with which you have three or four touch points in common
    • Same hometown
    • Same undergrad
    • Same law school
    • Same undergraduate
    • Similar work experience
  • E-mail those folks with a brief message
    • State your purpose of front (to discuss their career path (how they ended up practicing x and at firm x)
    • Mention up front that you are not looking for a job (because folks will be more likely to help you if you)
    • Mention your touch points (because connection may be the reason he or she responds to you)
    • Not everyone will respond but some will because people like to talk about themselves (assuming you are not looking for job)
  • See what resonates with you and some version of what someone says could be your story later when interviewing and you have to articulate substantive reasons why you are interested in practicing x law
    • What are the reasons the person likes his or her practice area
    • What are the parts of the person's job/practice that are not enjoyable
    • What are the skills that makes the person particularly successful in that practice area
    • Can you relate?  Why?  How?
    • What should you be doing to help you narrow down practice areas?

Image courtesy of cbenjasuwan at