Law students — make the most of your holiday break

Congratulations on being done with exams.  Folks have asked LegalJob what they should be doing now.  A common thought is that this is the time to network.  It could be but it may be hard to get a response after the holidays and before year-end (especially if people are racing to meet deadlines).  Here are three steps you can take to help make your time off effective:

Think hard.
Think about the niche area in which you may want to focus.  Current events may be of help as far as thinking about areas that are and will be in high demand.  Survey what Congress is working on (i.e., tax) and what the various executive agencies are spending their time with (i.e., healthcare) and consider job opportunities in these areas in the private and public sectors.

Prepare lists.
Make two or three lists of your so-called touch points.  These touch points are items that distinguish you from your classmates and will help you identify attorneys you can contact to learn about their career path.  Common touch points are undergraduate school, major, hometown, previous work experience, law school, practice area (which you are interested in), background/culture, etc.  It may be helpful to prepare two lists.  One list will be for purposes of contacting attorneys in a particular practice area.  The other list can be a bit more general.  Try to have four or more touch points.  When you return from break, take your lists to the career development office and ask them to print out alumni that have the same touch points.  Start with as many touch points as possible and then narrow your list.  The goal is to obtain about 25 or 30 names to contact.

Talk to practicing attorneys.
This step may seem obvious but many students do not execute.  Perhaps it is because students do not know what to say.  The question to ask these people is how did they end up doing what they are doing.  Maybe they just fell into it such that their story may not be very helpful to you. The key here is to try to get a sense of the thinking process that leads one to ultimately pick a niche area.  They may be working in an area for which you have no interest but it is the process of how they ended up there, which you may be able to follow.

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