As you’re about to dive into your law school studies, there must be hundreds of thoughts swarming in your head: from where you are going to live to how you score in the class. However, there is also another issue you have to start thinking about right now – and it’s your legal career.
Here is what: time flies incredibly fast; the next thing you know, you’re a graduate desperate of getting at least any job. Because of the way the job hunt is built, you can’t afford to spend another three years trying to figure out what it is that you want to do in life. Instead, you must have a clear understanding of your goals and perspectives right now. Therefore, it is crucial to get things covered beforehand so you don’t miss an excellent opportunity.
Figure Out What You Want To Do In Life
First and foremost, you don’t have to study law just because somebody said so. There are more than enough law graduates unhappy with their education and career choices – joining their ranks is the least you want.
If you have second thoughts about the school, or you can’t make up your mind as to what type of law you want to focus on, skip a year until you come up with a final decision. Even earning a minimum wage, you’ll feel better than someone who jumped off a year after – knee-high in debt.
To make it a half-step forward rather than two back, invest this suddenly vacated time to understand the real value of working in the legal field. You can help a family lawyer to process divorce papers online or join a law firm as an entry-level employee. This will help you to see the field from the inside, as well as build a useful network of contacts.
Don’t Focus On Studies Alone
While academic performance matters and often gives you a significant edge over other candidates, no one has ever built a successful legal career with grades alone. That’s why it is important to develop a habit of making tiny but regular steps towards your future success – outside the classroom.
It doesn’t have to be hours on end, but make sure that you devote enough time to meet the right people and explore different interesting options so you’re not left out in the cold when the job race really heats up. Even if it’s just half an hour to update your CV and cover letter, or a coffee break with a newly met friend from a local bar association, make sure that working for the good of your future career is a part of your weekly routine.
Establish good relationships with your professors
There are plenty of reasons to establish good and friendly relationships with your teachers and professors. The most important one, however, is that they can give a push start to your legal career, whether directly or indirectly.
When a job opportunity starts looming on the horizon, a professor might offer it to their best and brightest. But even if it doesn’t happen, most likely your will need strong references when applying for a job and it wouldn’t hurt to have your back covered with a good letter of recommendation. So, perhaps, you should agree the next time your professor needs assistance with writing a professional paper.
Keep Your Application Package Up and Running
As you never know when a good life-changing opportunity might fall on you, being on standby alert would be the smartest of decisions. It also means that you have to keep all application documents and papers at hand, so you don’t miss the chance when it presents itself.
Even if you lack legal work experience, it’s best to have your basic CV and cover letter relevant and updated, in case something interesting occurs in your sight. It is also highly recommended to have your education-related papers scanned, printed out, and ordered; you don’t want to waste this valuable time trying to cover the holes in your application package when a firm or organization requests information about your previous training.
Finally, your excellent references may change the whole game, and you should have them ready to work to your benefit. Ask people who can prove your good reputation to say their word; these might be your teachers, professors, or previous employers. The more people who can recommend you, the stronger you look as a candidate. Make sure that you use every opportunity to prove your fortes.
Nail the Interview
And if you finally got that long-awaited invitation for an interview, you don’t want to waste it. The odds that an interviewer asks you “Why our firm?” are really high and it’s in your best interests to utter something more coherent than “ehm”. Your success largely depends on how prepared you are, so make sure to do your homework.
Go online and check how the firm presents itself and what public opinion has been formed around it: examine its corporate website, check commentaries, study some loud cases they’ve been dealing with recently, you name it. Thus, you won’t be caught off-balance easily, and you will know for sure if this firm is really what you want.
Also, you might be asked some other questions, like why you’ve enrolled in this particular school or decided to go the lawyer’s path in the first place. It’s good to think through the answers beforehand. However, make sure that they sound natural and easy in the interview rather than memorized and mechanical.
When you finally get to the part where you can ask your questions, don’t retreat. Find out what responsibilities you will have in the firm, how your job performance will be assessed, as well as what career options you can count on in the future. Thus, you will also show yourself to be goal-oriented person.
Meanwhile, have fun while you’re still a law student, but remember that if you reap yet as a freshman, you’ll sow your career harvest right in time!