July 20, 2017

Summer “Fun” and Résumé Building for Rising 2Ls

Summer “Fun” and Résumé Building for Rising 2Ls

By Mary Craig Calkins
Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP
Los Angeles, California

Summer associate opportunities are seemingly plentiful for 2Ls, based in substantial part on career placements, job fairs, and positions offered by prospective employers for the summer after one’s second year. 1Ls also need to enhance résumés and expertise. Equally important, they need to experience new areas of the law, and practice for job interviews during the fall of their second year. Interviewing early and often can help one avoid the nervous habits that undermine a job application, such as failing to look attorneys in the eye; fidgeting with socks, hair strands, or ties; or other odd and unexpected responses to questions (and yes, I have had all of those individuals in my office at various times). There are many opportunities for 1Ls, although sometimes you must search for job listings. Following are three recommendations.

1. Consider how your summer efforts can broaden your experience base and résumé.
Some students enter law school knowing exactly where and what they want to practice, either because they had lawyers in their family or they have identified practice areas that might interest them. Other law students are a blank slate, with the world of law as their proverbial oyster. Regardless of the camp in which you find yourself, a summer program can broad your exposure and therefore, marketability. In addition, during the interview process, law firms are likely to give greater deference and consideration to a law student with broad experience, and a résumé that shows diversity, legal interests, and commitment. Focus on what appeals to you, but expand those interests and your résumé to make you more attractive to potential employers.

2. Identify areas of the law beyond your suspected interests.
Check out areas where you might not have experience. During the 2L interview process, you likely will meet and speak with attorneys who practice in multiple areas, or with whom you will interact even if you are assigned to another department. Speaking their “language” will enhance the interview process. In addition, expanding your horizons might lead to areas of interest that were unexpected. Sometimes a lifelong practice area will arise from only minimal exposure during a summer program. You might also avoid a career-limiting focus. For instance, students coming out of law school expressing an interest in entertainment law alone might find fewer opportunities, and some firms will move on to other candidates when a student seems unwilling to experience diverse projects.

3. Look at the vast number of 1L opportunities.
There is a panoply of opportunities available to 1Ls, including many jobs that will provide direct, hands-on experience. Be creative. Many might go unnoticed by others, and therefore will provide both paid and volunteer positions that enhance your marketability. Thanks to the summer associates in the trenches this summer in our branch office—Camden Minervino (Harvard 2018, who was a 1L summer associate with us and is back after 2L on our Trademark and Copyright team), Olivia Dellisanti Poppens (UC Berkeley 2019, a rising 2L also focusing on IP infringement claims), and Jenine Rossington (Emory 2018, with us for two weeks visiting from our Atlanta office’s summer program)—and the ABA Section of Litigation, the following are just a sampling of the kinds of experiences that will expose 1Ls to new challenges beyond a traditional summer associate program. Use the following list as a springboard to consider these and other similar summer opportunities, both paid and as a volunteer:

  • judicial internships with federal or state judges
  • public service sector internships
    • U.S. Attorney’s offices (civil and criminal divisions)
    • public defender’s offices
    • district attorney’s offices
    • city attorney’s offices
    • state law departments
    • city law departments
  • federal organizations and entities
    • Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
    • National Labor Relations Board
    • Federal Reserve Bank
    • Securities and Exchange Commission
    • U.S. Department of Agriculture
    • U.S. Department of Education
    • U.S. Department of Energy
    • U.S. Department of Justice
    • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • offices of court clerks
    • superior courts
    • district courts
    • state and federal courts of appeal
    • state supreme courts
  • public interest groups
    • American Cancer Society
    • American Civil Liberties Union
    • Animal Legal Defense Fund
    • Audubon Society
    • California Air Resources Board
    • Canadian Civil Liberties Association
    • Capital Appeals Programs
    • Catholic Charities Programs
    • Center for Court Services
    • Centers for Immigration Services
    • Commission Against Discrimination
    • Commissions on International Trade
    • Community Centers (e.g., East Bay Community Law Center)
    • Community Justice projects
    • Conservation Law Foundation
    • Education Law Center
    • Electronic Frontier Foundation
    • Environmental Defense Funds
    • Equal Rights Advocates
    • Foundations for Human Rights
    • Friends of Farm Workers
    • Heal the Bay and local special interest groups
    • Inner City Law Center housing and civil rights
    • Institute for Law & Public Policy
    • LAMBDA Legal Defense & Education Fund
    • Lawyers for Children
    • Legal Aid Foundations
    • National Center for Lesbian Rights
    • Neighborhood Legal Services
    • Sierra Club
    • Southern Poverty Law Center
    • State Centers for Justice and Policy
    • United Nations Commissions
    • Women’s Law Centers
  • bar association initiatives
    • American Bar Association Section of Litigation initiatives
      • Anti-Trafficking Training
      • Law Student Task Force
      • Children’s Rights Litigation
      • Commission on American Jury Project
      • Death Penalty Representation Project
      • Diversity and Inclusion
      • Human Trafficking Task Force
      • Implicit Bias Task Force
      • Legal Services Delivery & Training
      • LGBTQ and Civil Rights Initiatives
      • Military Pro Bono Project
      • Pro Bono Immigration Pilot Project
      • Project on Access to Justice
      • Task Force on Overcriminalization
      • Task Force Survey on Arbitration
      • Women’s Initiatives
    • American Bar Association
      • Commission on Immigration
      • Commission on Women
      • Rule of Law Initiative
    • state and local bar association programs
    • specialty bar association initiatives
      • Asian American Legal Defense initiatives
      • National Bar Association
      • National Hispanic Bar Association
      • National Association of Women Lawyers programs
  • company and in-house legal departments, such as Clorox, Cox Communication, AT&T, General Electric, Oxford Industries, MasterCard, Quicken Loans, Verizon, Viacom, Wayfair, and many others
  • hospital legal staffs
  • law school centers for justice
  • research assistant for a professor
  • small law firms (defense and plaintiffs-side firms)

Follow the rule: “You don’t ask, you don’t get.” And one last bit of advice: Enjoy the search and tout the results of your summer efforts. Your summer experiences and your fall interviews will be all the better for your efforts.