In Brief

Vol. 41 No. 4

Practice areas, job hunting, tips for 2Ls.

Trying to choose a practice area? Read the paper

Maybe you’ve heard it’s a good idea to focus your legal studies so you can create a niche for yourself. But what if you’re not sure yet what type of law you’d like to practice?

A post called “Law students—read the paper to help find your niche (and a job)” at legaljob.com offers some tips. First, do a little research to find out areas where there’s high demand for lawyers and low supply. Tax is a good example, the post says, because tax laws are always changing and many current tax lawyers are older and perhaps getting ready to retire.

The next step is where the newspaper comes in. Closely follow current events that involve passage of new laws, especially major legislation. Besides the newspaper, check out industry publications in fields that interest you, and visit congress.gov to see what subject areas seem to be generating a lot of new legislation.

Then, the post suggests, dig deeper into the topics that interest you. Ask a professor or any practicing lawyers you know for suggestions regarding what publications are typically read by lawyers practicing in those areas.

Once you have those narrowed down, find out where people generally practice that kind of law: Government agencies? Law firms? Nonprofits? Are there certain areas of the country where these jobs are clustered? Again, professors and the career services office can help with this.

Job hunting? Keep these blogs in mind

What blogs should you follow if you’re in law school and beginning your job search? In a post called “Blogs for law student job hunters” at www.ziefbrief.typepad.com, Amy Wright, online research services librarian at the University of San Francisco’s law library, recommends the following:

  • The Careerist offers tips on interviewing, OCI, and even table
    manners, Wright says.
  • Ms. JD. Though it’s primarily focused on women law students and lawyers, Wright says, this blog offers practical job-hunting tips to both genders. Wright also appreciates this blog’s frequent posts about leadership—a topic she says is heavily emphasized in business schools but doesn’t get much attention in law schools.

 Tips for 2Ls

If you’re in your second year of law school, then a post called “3 Must Do’s for 2 Ls” at http://www.lawstudentally.com has three tips for what you should do before next year and the race toward the bar exam:

  • Choose your topic for the advanced writing requirement. AWR is required at ABA-approved schools; it must be completed by your fifth semester, but many schools allow you to complete it during your second year. Why do it now? You’ll have a better shot at getting your AWR published, the post says, and published papers are a big help during your job search. Try to choose a current topic and give it your own twist, the post recommends.
  • Plan for a great summer internship. Some preparation now will help you make sure your summer internship is one that can “kick-start your career,” the post says. Identifying where you want to work, then networking, getting recommendations, and putting together an impressive portfolio with a well-crafted résumé will help you make the best use of your last summer before graduation.
  • Decide where and when you want to take the bar. Admission rules vary from state to state and can also change, the post points out. This year, it advises, figure out where you want to live and practice law, and stay current with the information for the state bar exams you’re considering; learning those details now can help you avoid “unhappy surprises” next year.

 

 

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