Want to Work in Big Law? Read This
Working in Big Law tends to include big pay.
But how exactly does one land a job at a large law firm? And how does the legal hiring process work? Hillary Mantis, Assistant Dean of the Pre-law Program at Fordham University and contributor at the National Jurist, recently gave insight in to how hiring works in the legal world—and why the first year of law school is critical.
THE IMPORTANCE OF YOUR FIRST YEAR
While every year in law school is important, the first year really sets the foundation for your future success—especially if you’re aiming to work for a large law firm.
“Much of summer associate hiring is based on 1L grades,” Mantis says. “If you start slowly, it’s hard to catch up. Since many offers are eventually made to summer associates for permanent positions, it’s important to snag those summer jobs. If you are not interested in a large law firm or a job in the private sector, you may have a little more time.”
INTERVIEWS START IN THE SUMMER
On-campus interviews for summer and permanent positions typically take place in the summer. Mantis says it’s important to keep track of when interviews happen, as many take place early.
“So, the minute you complete your first year of law school, you may be asked to submit resumes to career services for on-campus interviews, where you will interview for jobs for the following summer,” Mantis explains. “If you are a transfer student into another law school after your first year, it’s also crucially important to know when these interviews will happen, so you don’t miss them. They often happen well before classes start. Again, if you are not interested in working for a large law firm, you may have a little more time. However, some government agencies also interview early.”
FOCUS ON CLINICS & EXTERNSHIPS
Experience is key to landing a job at a big law firm. One way to build that experience? Through clinics and externships.
“Clinics are a chance to represent clients and even go to court, under the supervision of a law professor,” Mantis says. “Externships are what internships are called once you are in law school. Most law schools offer ample clinic and externship opportunities. This is a great way to build your resume for summer and post-graduate jobs.”
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