Law students — looks good on a resume is not a reason alone to pursue an opportunity

LegalJob was recently advising a rising 3L who is still considering what type of law he may want to practice.  When asked why he pursued a certain summer legal opportunity, he responded with "it looks good on a resume."  This reason alone is not sufficient because legal employers are looking for commitment to a particular practice area (in addition to top grades and top schools).  Your response does not seem to demonstrate that commitment.  Sorry to make an example out of you but many others do the same thing so this post will likely be helpful to a lot of people.

To help satisfy this criteria, law students should consider:

  1. Picking you major as soon as practicable
  2. Taking classes and gain work experience that demonstrates serious commitment to that area
  3. Doing well in those classes and in those jobs.

Easier said then done as far as picking a major/practice area when you have no clue what you want to do.  Remember that you can change your mind but it is important to make a decision early on so that you expand the opportunities available to you both short-term and long-term with your narrower focus.  There are several posts on picking your major that may be helpful.

Once you decide, your work experiences and classes should all fit together and become your story.  Obviously some pieces may not fit, particularly before you picked your major.  No problem.  The key is to start where you are and keep focused from this point forward.  Then your story is that you excelled in all coursework directly and indirectly related to your major and you have relevant work experience in the practice area for which you are applying.  These facts make you less of a risk than others without similar backgrounds and experiences.

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