Direction for a 1L — part two

Here is more advice for the 1L (or anyone) looking for some direction regarding a particular area of law to pursue.

This post covers a potpourri including: i) effective networking etiquette; (ii) resume pointers (and helpful summer jobs or other work experience); and (iii) when to make a decision about which path to pursue.

Effective Networking Etiquette.

  • When someone agrees to meet with you, make sure you are on time.  In fact, arrive early to scout the place and review your questions.
  • When the person arrives, thank them for taking the time and let them know that you are sensitive to their schedule by telling them you don't want to take too much of their time and that they should feel free to cut off the questions and end the meeting as soon as they have to leave.
  • Have as a goal to get one or two names of people this person recommends you contact for further networking.
  • Immediately write a letter or an e-mail thanking them for their time and helpful suggestions (and use the opportunity to secure the information of the contacts suggested if you have not already).

Resume pointers.

  • Make sure every word on your resume carries freight.
  • A line on your resume that says you attended hearings and read legislation is worthless.
  • How did you interact with decision makers?
  • How did you contribute to a solution or help advice the thinking toward solving a problem?
  • If you did not contribute much, consider leaving the job off your resume entirely because employers can see through BS.
  • Understand that in order for summer jobs or any work experience to be valuable to future employers, you must have done heavy lifting.
  • There is not such thing as looks good on a resume if there is no substance to back it up.
  • Writing, reading, and speaking are all good to do and then be able to articulate concisely the specifics of the issue you worked on and exactly how you contributed.

When to make a decision.

  • Wait until you talk to enough people so you have some basis even though you still may not fully understand what an X lawyer does (day to day).
  • Make the decision as soon as you have enough information (i.e., talking with one person is probably too soon but waiting to talk to fifty may be too late).  The sooner the better (once you are armed with a basis for the decision, i.e., you connected with several folks that are X lawyers and you share similar traits that could translate to success for you in that area).
  • You can change this decision later (but not until you have made the first one).

Image courtesy of Kittikun Atsawintarangku at