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a bit of a dilemma

25 August, 2008

Remember when I complained about not being sure about not working?

Now I have a new problem. Today was my first real day of classes, although orientation might as well have already been classes. I haven’t worked into a groove to efficiently get work done, but I’m still new at all of this. I’m sure that it will come with time.

A couple of weeks ago I received an email from the HR Director of one of the top firms in the area. A friend had told me about her friend who worked in the afternoons there doing clerical work, but was quitting to study abroad or somesuch. Apparently, my email address worked its way up the chain to the HR Director, because she sent me a message asking me if I was interested in taking over the position!

This would mean 2-3 hours a day, four days a week. This would mean a little extra money to, oh I don’t know…buy a few songs on iTunes and save up for new clothes? Maybe I could even eat out somewhere that isn’t having a $5.00 sandwich special. This would also mean 2-3 hours a day of less study time for four days out of the week. I don’t think it would negatively impact my grades, but it would mean that I would have to take more home on the weekends as well as possibly not be as involved in clubs and extracurriculars as I’d hoped.

Another HUGE plus? Getting my foot in the door at one of the area’s top law firms. They have a lot of attornies who practice in pretty much every major area of the law. They hire summer associates and pay them VERY well. As in well enough for me to make enough money to pay for what’s left of my tuition after my scholarship is deducted from my bill.

I know this is silly, asking the internet what to do. But I’m asking anyway. What do you think?

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12 Comments leave one →
  1. 25 August, 2008 4:16 pm

    cons:

    1. doing clerical work at a law firm does not necessarily mean they will see you as a potential lawyer. they’ll know you, but might know you as “that admin person.”

    2. you are JUST getting started and you don’t know yet how much work law school will require of you personally. people learn differently–some need to go to every class but don’t so much need to read every word; some don’t need to go to class but have to read everything twice. different learning styles take more or less time, but you don’t know yet whether your learning style will take more or less time.

    pros:

    1. money is always good. it’s easy enough to wave off the debt when you have 3 years of school ahead of you; i wish i’d saved more, in retrospect.

    2. you could very well end up with some good connections/networking opportunities by working at this firm, even if the firm itself is not interested in you. (you have to assume they won’t see you as a future lawyer, sad to say.)

    I’d see if you can find out if any other law students have worked there in a non-paralegal capacity (i.e., in a clerical capacity) and whether they were able to transition. (it’s a lot more common for former paralegals to go back to their firms as associates or summer associates than former clerical workers. i think there’s just a cognitive disconnect there.)

  2. butterflyfish permalink
    25 August, 2008 4:41 pm

    Risk to consider — if they view you as an intern/clerk, they might not interview you as a summer associate. Why would they? They’re already getting your labor on the cheap. Just my 2 cents.

  3. A.T. permalink
    25 August, 2008 5:01 pm

    Hmmm…you are the only one who can truly make the decision, and it sounds like you are already making your list of pros and cons. Sounds like there are a lot of things to consider! I say go for it if you think it will help you make connections in the law world. It’s definitely about who you know! And I know you can handle the homework balance. You’ve done it for many years. Question is, do you want to handle it?

  4. 25 August, 2008 11:09 pm

    Wait, why can’t you do your homework/review your outlines/notes at the job? Does it have to be a waste of time?

  5. 26 August, 2008 7:56 am

    Except for a first year moot court competition or mock trial, save the clubs and activities for your second term once you know you can handle the courseload. I work full time out of necessity and go to school. It’s not easy, but it can be done. Working part time and going to school is much more do-able. And you’d be amazed how much more focused you can be while studying if you only have a set amount of time to study.

  6. 26 August, 2008 11:15 am

    k, butterflyfish, law ingenue – thank you so much for your sage advice. I don’t know what I’d do without it!!!

    Aunt Tine: We’ll just have to see, I suppose. I want to keep my stress to as much of a minimum as possible.

    Jansen: Alas, no. I wouldn’t be able to do homework while running files and filing. Maybe while making copies, but even then it would be lots of switching back and forth.

  7. 26 August, 2008 1:03 pm

    Take the job.
    2-3 hours of week away from study time also means 2-3 hours a week of getting job experience in that field. 2-3 hours a week of watching how real lawyers work. 2-3 hours a week learning how your degree works in the real world.

    I love extra curr. and orgs. too, but nothing is better than a job in that field to really show you what your learning.

    I also see that 2-3 hours a week as a ‘break’ from studying. It will be a job that you won’t have to take home with you too! And, if it ends up anything like your last job, then you don’t have to go back b/c it doesn’t pay the bills.

  8. 26 August, 2008 2:57 pm

    Colsy, you’re very right on all counts. I’m still debating and mentally going through all of the pros and cons. Thank you so much for your input!

  9. 27 August, 2008 12:01 pm

    I think if you really don’t have to work, don’t. These cases you have to study sound kinda time consuming and you’ve already planned out your year with NO job in mind, right? I would stick to that plan at least for the first year. Opportunities are always around the corner, and you’re sure to come accross another soon.

    Then again, you’ve probably already made your mind up, right? What did you choose?

  10. 27 August, 2008 12:02 pm

    oops, that was me, sorry. I forgot to change my name back to plain ol’ twin kie! LOL

  11. 27 August, 2008 4:05 pm

    HAHAHAHAHAHA! Norma, you had me wondering for a minute there. You are right, I did make my plans based on not having a job. I’ve 90% made up my mind, but I’ll let you know.

  12. 31 August, 2008 1:50 pm

    Don’t do it!!!!

    Your grades in your first semester will be critical to finding a full time summer job – they are generally hard to find for 1Ls. Overall, your first year grades and your class ranking are the two things law firms look at most when interviewing for a summer job after your 2L year — and your summer job after second year is essentially a 12-week interview for your post-law school position.

    MAYBE second semester of your 1L year, you can think about a part-time gig. First semester, there are too many things you are getting used to — briefing cases, being adequately prepared for class, finding things in the library. You do NOT want to lose 2-3 hours a day, four days a week, right now.

    My law school deliberately scheduled classes for 1Ls to take up the entire day – an hour of class, an hour of study time, another hour of class, a two hour break for studying and lunch, etc. – to keep 1Ls from trying to hold down jobs during their first year.

    Second and third year, it’s not as big a deal. But your first year grades are REALLY IMPORTANT when it comes to employment prospects. The extra cash in the short run is not worth it.

    Take it from one who has been there, done that, and has the t-shirt to prove it.

    Best wishes,

    jane doe

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