Pets in Law School: Pros and Cons

Pets offer many benefits to law students. According to the National Center for Infectious Diseases, pets increase socialization opportunities while decreasing blood pressure, cholesterol, and many other health ailments brought on by the stress of  school. Most of us have heard these and other health benefits touted as reasons to have pets. However, although a pet can offer comfort and companionship, we, as responsible and busy law students, need to be attentive to the care these pets require, especially before acquiring a new friend

As students, we attend classes and group meetings throughout the day and evening. Dogs need to be walked  at least three times a day, and a cat left alone may become destructive or develop neurological issues.

After 1L year, many of us travel frequently to job interviews, to visit friends or family, or just to have fun with friends. While it is easy and inexpensive to ensure fish are cared for during times of absence, it may be difficult and expensive to schedule care for a cat or dog. Boarding costs in DC range from $30-$45 a night, and friends that eagerly cared for your pet for the two days you were away for your first interview might not be as eager when you drop off your pet with them as you leave for your fifth interview and get stranded hundreds of miles away for an extra week due  to a hurricane (yes, this happened to me)

However, there are ways to get around some of the complications that accompany having a pet. Small dogs cost less and can travel easily under the seat on flights, in contrast to large dogs which cost more to feed, are only allowed on flights as cargo, and require more exercise. Adult dogs have the advantage of having a known personality, are housebroken, and don’t have to be walked as frequently or need as much attention as puppies. Although puppies are cute, they require much more time for exercise and training, and they are more prone to destroying things (like your Contracts book)

Also you may even end up with a dog incongruous with how you envisioned dog ownership (i.e., shy and timid when you wanted outgoing and social). While dogs and cats are popular choices, students should also consider small animals, such as hamsters and guinea pigs, birds, fish, or reptiles, which offer similar benefits as cats and dogs and often require less work and expense.

Students can do a few things to ensure the best experience possible with their pets.

First, always check your landlord’s pet policy before signing a lease, whether you already have a pet or are obtaining a new pet.

Second, be realistic with yourself about the amount of care and time you are able (and want) to give a pet.

Third, research the pet thoroughly before making any decision; consider it practice for your career. Finally, remember that any pet you choose will look to you for care and companionship for long after law school ends, so make sure to include them in your future plans.

By being honest with yourself and doing a little research, you can enjoy all of the benefits a pet has to offer. If you decide that the responsibility, time, or expense are too much for you but still want to enjoy animals, petting horses at Rock Creek Park or watching the lions at the National Zoo are free and entail no responsibility on your end.

 

by Tianda Harris, 2L

Georgetown Law Deans react to decline in law school applications

Following a recent New York Times article concerning declines in law school applications, Georgetown Law administration has been quick to respond to the student body and the  Georgetown community.

 In an exclusive interview with the Law Weekly, Dean Andy Cornblatt, head of Admissions at Georgetown Law, suggested that the nation-wide decrease in law school applications was likely to continue in the future as even fewer people are taking the LSAT this year than last.

 Dean Cornblatt noted the severity of the New York Times’ findings, going so far as to say that “some law schools may not survive” the decline in admissions.

However, administration officials are confident the Law Center has the tools and resources necessary to deal with any new developments. As the Admissions Office put it: “Thanks to Georgetown’s position as a top-ranked, internationally-recognized law school, we hope that we will continue to do better than many other schools during these times as far as receiving a sufficient number of applications from highly-qualified students.”

Dean Cornblatt and the Georgetown Law Admissions Office expect the decrease in applications to continue in the near future.  Georgetown Law Admissions also believes there to be some benefit to a national decrease in law school applications, as students who apply for law school nowadays “really do want to become lawyers” as opposed to previous years, in which a number of students might have taken the LSAT  without real intention to follow through in attending law school or becoming lawyers.

In interviews with the Law Weekly, the Georgetown Law administration emphasized the continuous efforts the school is expending to raise Georgetown Law’s standing internationally, and to ensure the best new applicants commit to the  Law Center. Dean Cornblatt and the Admissions Office also observed an increased number of “applicants waiting to apply until they have been out of college for some time,” including mature professionals. In light of this growing trend, Georgetown Law  Admissions has been increasing their promotional efforts towards organizations such as the military, Peace Corps, staffers working on Capitol Hill, and others.

Dean Corblatt noted: “We have no way of knowing what the future holds, but the Law Center has every intention of getting out in front of the situation as much as possible and responding in ways that most help our students. We are well aware of  what is going on in the law school applicant pool, and doing everything we can to maintain Georgetown’s position as a top law school in the changing market.” His comments fall in line with an official, campus-wide email sent by Dean William Treanor on January 31, immediately following the publication of the New York Times piece.

 Dean Treanor’s e-mail explained the new statistics and what the Law  Center was doing to tackle the problem. He stated, among other things, that the Law Center has embarked on a strategic planning process which has as a central focus, the task of addressing “market challenges”. Dean Treanor also emphasized that the law school possessed “unique strengths” to respond to such “unprecedented challenges.”

One of the core strategies embraced by Georgetown Law has been to adopt an experiential learning approach by increasing the number of externships and practicum placements, allowing students to actually practice areas of the law before graduating. Dean Treanor also noted that the law school has endorsed a number of projects destined to make matriculation to the law school more financially viable— programs such as the Entry Into  Practice program, increasing support for summer employment, and the loan forgiveness program.

He also emphasized efforts to strengthen student career prospects, including policies and counseling programs that have, according to the  dean, resulted in a 50% improvement in summer associate placements. In terms of the actual admission process, he stated that, although there has been a reduction in the number of applications, the decline in applications to Georgetown is still below the national average.

Additionally, the median GPA and LSAT averages for the entering class have remained virtually equal to last year’s. Georgetown Law is expecting a 12% decrease in applications for 2013 compared to the 21% national average. Georgetown Law is still the law school with the most applications nation-wide, topping the list for 2013.

The New York Times article in question (“Law Schools’ Applications  Fall as Costs Rise and Jobs Are Cut”) created a stir when published on January 30. The article highlighted the fact that 2013 has been an exceptionally bad year in terms of law school applications, which have reached a 30-year low. Only 38,000 students matriculated last year, the lowest number since 1977.

The Times article also noted that this trend was contrary to other professional or graduate school applications, specifically mentioning medical schools, which have benefited from a steady rise in applications in the last decade. This article is the latest in a long string of articles from various sources outlining a decrease in law school applications.

Graded on a moral curve? Media coverage bias in Georgetown Law student’s meth conviction

A former GULC student was sentenced to four years in federal prison  for conspiracy to possess and distribute more than 500 grams of methamphetamine  (meth) from his Dupont Circle apartment. Some of the coverage of his conviction, especially an article in the Washington Post, highlights the persistence of societal bias toward drug offenses.

All media, to an extent, exercise some level of bias in their news coverage as a result of their determination of what stories to cover and what about them is newsworthy. This bias was evident in the Washington Post’s sympathetic treatment of Gersen’s arrest

The headline, “Drugs are the downfall of a brilliant student” set the tone for the bias that would follow. Normally, news articles don’t use descriptive, value-laden terms such as “brilliant” because they are subjective. The article also stated that Gersen “dazzled” professors and went on to frame the conviction as a tragedy by focusing on superficial indicia of Gersen’s propensity for crime, rather than asking important questions about his ethical and psychological background. It points out, for example, how Gersen had a 3.48 GPA at GULC.

At first glance, Gersen‘s relatively high GPA at a “top 14” law school might suggest a hard worker who was dedicated to his courses. However, had the Post investigated only slightly further and interviewed Gersen’s classmates and law students about  the academic culture in general, it would have discovered that some of his peers recalled him showing up late to class, if it all, and that grades in law school are determined almost entirely based on a final examination and are somewhat inflated. It is hard to understand why these academic considerations merit a more lenient and favorable view of Gersen’s culpability. If anything, one could argue that the fact that he had the opportunity to earn a law degree at a prestigious institution but jeopardized that chance with his illegal endeavors makes his behavior more condemnable.

The point is not to attack Gersen, but to expose the biases evident in the treatment of his conviction. Perhaps there are valid reasons why Gersen may deserve sympathy or clemency from a judge. But the Post article overlooks most of them by focusing on the wrong issues. For example, Georgetown’s undergraduate newspaper, The Hoya, more relevantly uncovered the fact that he suffered from depression and trichotillomania.

In addition, the article could have paid more attention to Gersen’s prior run-ins with the law, including a 2009 “no contest” plea to ecstacy possession. It’s not that the Washington Post was completely baseless in listing Gersen’s academic   accomplishments. Certainly, they are relevant to the discussion. But their importance should not be overstated.

The book, Criminology: An Interdisciplinary Approach, stated: “it would be a mistake to regard IQ as an indictor ofsocial worth rather than as representing a limited set of cognitive traits.” Gersen’s GPA while at GULC says nothing about his class participation, involvement in extracurricular activities, or interaction with other law students. This treatment may lead to unfair sentencing and downplay the negative consequences of meth.

Empirical evidence shows that bias toward drug offenses based on race have a disparate impact on sentences. A study by the sentencing project found that Latinos and Blacks tend to be sentenced more harshly than whites for drug crimes.  Gersen’s sentence was lenient: he was charged with conspiracy to distribute narcotics and conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine, which can carry a sentence of 10 years to life in prison. He was sentenced to four years in a  prison camp in Florida and could get parole in 2014.

Gersen may have inflated his addiction problems in order to mitigate his sentence. He is more than simply a user; he was a successful dealer who had a nationwide distribution and was able to stash at least $70,000 in profits and try to hide them from law enforcement. Meth is a serious drug that destroys lives. An article by PBS Front Line stated that chronic abuse can lead to psychotic behavior, including paranoia, insomnia, anxiety, extreme aggression, delusions and hallucinations, and even death.

Drug addictions are powerful, destructive forces that devastate the lives of addicts and their family members alike. They know no social, race, or  economic barriers. By abandoning  the faulty premise that academically successful people do not become addicts or dealers, these problems can be recognized and dealt with before a felony is committed.

The Washington Post article in question is available at the following link: http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/drugs-are-the-downfall-of-a-brilliant-lawstudent/2013/01/31/09ad81be-6bc3-11e2-ada0-5ca5fa7ebe79_story.htm.

Georgetown Law should think progessively to help law school graduates navigate difficult job market

Over the past few years, several sources have published articles citing the challenges facing legal education. In an email sent a few weeks ago, Dean Treanor highlighted many of the positive initiatives Georgetown is undertaking in response to some of these challenges. Because I have heard varying reactions to the Dean’s message and the articles that have been published regarding law schools, I will share a few thoughts that I have formed on these issues and offer some  suggestions.

Over the past four or so years, law schools across the country have faced severe threats to legal education. Among other consequences, we watched legal hiring drop much farther than the broader economy. This precipitous shift in the job market revealed that many career services departments were inadequately equipped to advise the large number of students who could no longer enjoy traditional big law and government opportunities. Because of our size, Georgetown was  perhaps particularly affected by the downturn.

Now—some four years later— Law Center leadership has gained a deeper understanding of the new job market and can make better-educated predictions about the future of legal education. The time has come for Georgetown to devise a progressive vision for the Law Center and to implement substantive initiatives that are responsive to the changing profession. The strategic planning process, in which I have been privileged to participate with the Deans and senior faculty, seeks to accomplish just that.

Many observers, including some of our peer schools, identify transformation of the third year curriculum as the best response to changing needs. Many law schools also are considering  cuts to enrollment due to the shrinking job market. However, simply analyzing these proposals on their own does not adequately respect the complexities and nuances of the issues we face. Each action taken will inevitably spawn considerable  consequences. Focusing on practical training could detract from attention to academic freedom. Shrinking our class size, and thus revenue, could affect our ability to maintain our tremendously broad curriculum.  As Georgetown begins to make key strategic decisions, we must adhere to the notion of adaptability as we develop action plans.

One way we can adapt to the weakened job market is by leveraging our national and international alumni base to expand job opportunities in regional markets. We can improve the fostering of each student’s particular career interests by improved long term planning. To facilitate this planning, we should encourage the development of partnerships between students and counselors to provide personal guidance tailored to each student’s professional aspirations. We should direct significant resources to alumni relations. From endowing generous scholarships and mentoring students to serving as advisors to the Dean, our alumni are an invaluable resource.

Lastly, we should not be asking ourselves how we should change the third year. Rather, we can use this opportunity to examine the fundamental strengths and weaknesses of the entire law school curriculum. Doing so allows us to develop flexible academic pathways that combine doctrinal learning with the practical writing and lawyering skills that employers are increasingly seeking. Whether through clinics, externships, practicums, or the introduction of practical and team-oriented assignments in all courses, we should examine ways to more effectively stimulate the kind of active learning that already distinguishes Georgetown from other law schools.

 

by Shaun Zhang, 3L, SBA President

VRA case should enhance education, inform Law Center classroom debates

One of the most fascinating aspects of being in law school in our Nation’s capitol, right down the street from the Supreme  ourt, is the opportunity not only to learn law, but to discuss and watch it in action. I find the opportunity even more rewarding when I am well-versed in the history and arguments of the cases – this somehow makes me feel that I am part of the process, that I understand the implications of what is  being decided, and perhaps that just maybe, I will be able to say something brilliant and informative in class. So without further ado, I share with you a little history and knowledge about a very important case, Shelby County v. Holder.

We begin with a little history. Congress enacted the Voting Rights Act of 1965 “to banish the blight of racial discrimination in voting.” The law abolished literacy and poll taxes designed to disenfranchise African American voters, giving the federal government power in areas of persistent discrimination. When challenged in 1966, the Supreme Court upheld the Voting Rights Act saying it was a response to “an insidious and pervasive evil which had been perpetuated

in…unremitting and ingenious defiance of the Constitution.” Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act freezes election  procedures or changes in all or part of 16 states with a history of discrimination in voting practices, until they have been federally approved. Federal approval can take two forms: Administrative Review by the Department of Justice, or a suit brought in the District Court  for the District of Columbia. In the review process, the state or district must show that any proposed changes to voting laws have neither discriminatory purpose nor effect.

Covered jurisdictions can “bail out” from Section 5 if they demonstrate compliance for ten years. While originally only enacted for five years, Section 5 has been reauthorized and extended by Congress four times. In 2006, Congress overwhelmingly voted to reauthorize Section 5 through 2031.

On February 27, 2013, the Supreme Court will hear the case of Shelby County v. Holder. Shelby County has asserted that Congress exceeded its constitutional authority to enforce protections of the 14th and 15th Amendments when reauthorizing Section 5.

In 2006, the City of Calera, which is within Shelby County, passed a discriminatory redistricting plan in violation

of Section 5, resulting in the loss of the city’s only African-American councilman, Ernest Montgomery. Compliance with Section 5, however, required Calera to draw a nondiscriminatory redistricting plan and hold another election in which Montgomery regained his seat. In 2010, Shelby filed suit in fe deral court in Washington D.C. On September 21, 2011, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia upheld Section 5 as constitutional. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia upheld the decision on May 18, 2012 by a two to one vote.

Shelby will argue that the 2006 extension was beyond Congress’s authority. Holder will argue that Congress had the  authority for extension, and the extension was necessary to stop racist voting practices. This is a very important case, and

I encourage you all to discuss this amongst yourselves, and in your classrooms.

 

by Kukui Claydon, 2L

Is Zumba for you(mba)? New 1L teacher says yes

At the start of this semester, Danielle Tepper, 1L, added something new to her resume – Zumba instructor.

Zumba is a form of dance that originated in Latin America, combining techniques from cumbia, salsa, reggae tone, and merengue. The style is fluid and instructors are encouraged to do variations and add their own flavor, said Tepper. The only requirement is that the routine must be done to international music.

Tepper was inspired to bring Zumba to campus by her own love of dance. She danced as a child, experimenting in ballet, tap, jazz, and hip hop. Since dance classes could get expensive, Tepper said she began going to free classes offered at the gym during college. It was in those college fitness classes that Tepper discovered Zumba as a first-year student. Zumba became one of her go-to de-stressing activities.

“My head-clearing activity is dancing, and if there is anyone else who can benefit from that, I want to allow others to have that opportunity,” said Tepper. “More than anything, I just want people to have fun and enjoy dancing as a way to take a break from law school.” Tepper had originally planned to get certified to teach recreational fitness classes later this summer.

However, when the Sport and Fitness Center’s previous Zumba instructor left her position, Tepper decided to seize the opportunity. She attended the requisite classes and was certified to teach by the first week of Spring Semester.

“You wouldn’t think it would take that much time to prepare for a class but you have to choreograph for a full hour,” said Tepper, recalling the planning needed for her first class. “I had taken many classes, but I had never taught one. The first week back, we had a lot of reading, so I was up to four or five every morning, dancing around my room.”

 Her efforts were rewarded when 16 people showed up for the inaugural lesson. Tepper admitted that she was nervous teaching her first class but did not forget any moves, which she considers a “big accomplishment.”

 “It was definitely weird being on the teaching end since I’m so used to being a student in all these fitness classes. Having friends there made it easier, and it was comforting to know I had support,” she said. “It’s a lot more fun and more energetic when more people are there.”

 Zumba is an activity that is open to people of all skill levels. Tepper describes it as a “follow-the-leader type” exercise. “With Zumba, it’s just going with the flow and the most important thing is that you keep moving. The point of Zumba is that you have fun while working out because everyone loves to dance. You get a workout without feeling it.” The Zumba class Tepper has now begun teaching is offered each Wednesday at 5:45 p.m. in Studio 1on the third floor of the Georgetown Law Sports and Fitness Center.

Top 10 Totally Serious Spring Break Ideas

1. Catch up on your schoolwork. Just kidding. Please fail and bring down the curve.

2. Make some bad decisions. It’ll give you something fun to talk about during the Character & Fitness portion of the Bar

3. Travel. Anywhere. Just get the [censored] out of Dodge already. The library will be there for you when you get back. The library is always there for you. Unlike anyone else in your life.

4. Hang out with friends and family. Do they remember what you look like? Enjoy the legal questions that will inevitably arise. Be horrified when you actually know the answers. Congratulations, you’re becoming a lawyer. I know. It’s the worst.

5. Work out. You look pasty and pudgy. No, really. Look in the mirror. Law school is not doing you any favors. Your J.D. is worth almost nothing in today’s dating market. Though, you should definitely try to impress a girl at a club with the phrase “T14.” Keep us updated. We’ll wait.

6. Read. The Law Weekly has an archive of articles and is clearly the best choice for Spring Break reading. I mean, you could pick up the newest Zadie Smith or finally finish War and Peace but archives of a law school newspaper are really the best choice for you.

7. Overdose on TV. Watch all of House of Cards in one sitting. Then watch all of Doctor Who (classic and current)…in one sitting. If you manage the latter, I think you’re probably in for some sort of record. And probably hemorrhoids. Please don’t do this.

8. Do that thing you’ve been putting off doing. You know what I’m talking about. That thing you totally meant to do a long time ago, but you still haven’t done because life, man, it just keeps getting in the way and there’s just not enough time. There won’t be time during Spring Break. But you can pretend there will be and then put this off even longer. This is emotionally healthy. Keep it up. It will at least feel good to put it on your calendar and pretend you’ll finally get it done. Eventually.

9. Volunteer. This one isn’t sarcastic. If there’s one thing that is undeniably good for you, and good for the community, it’s giving a helping hand to your fellow man (or animal or whatever cause you support). Law school is a bubble of stress, grades, jobs, and in-jokes about the law that no one normal finds at all humorous. Out there—beyond the rainbows bordering our little campus—there are people in need. Just being able to study law right now means you are incredibly privileged. You’ve been given a lot. Give back.

10. Or just catch up on sleep. Whatever. We won’t judge.

 

This week’s Top Ten by j.d. lang, who is definitely silently judging you.

Kosmo’s Dating Advice for Law Students: Can men and women be friends?

Kosmo’s Dating Advice for Law Students

Can men and women be friends?

The answer is yes. Gay men and straight women are often great friends.

Seriously speaking, this question seems a bit outdated in 2013, especially as it is well-recognized that people of all sexualities exist. (There are probably sexualities we haven’t discovered yet. I’m pretty sure there’s some college GSA creating a list of new sexualities right as we speak.) The question itself is a bit heteronormative, implying that gender affects relationships in only one particular way.

If you think it’s tough for heterosexual men and women to be friends, just consider the dynamics between friends of the same same-sex orientation. (Or bisexuals! D.C. is probably a huge buffet of mildly-appetizing foods for them.) Is that guy just a really good friend, or a potential boyfriend? This is an easy question for feline-oriented men because, as a general rule, you guys don’t want to stick it into your pickup basketball buddies. However, for gay men, every gay guy could potentially be either friend or f-buddy. And sometimes both. Which I hear is the best part about being gay. Yes, that’s offensive. But true? Probably not for law students. Gay or straight, most law students probably score lower than average on…scoring.

But we did do well on the LSAT. And that’s what matters in life. Law school > love. Remember that. Your law degree only cost $150,000, while your divorce might cost many times that. If you can even legally get married. Sorry, 10-25% of America. No rights for you.

(As a heterosexual woman living in what has been described as the “second-worst city in America for single women,” I am beyond excited for my QUILTBAG friends to finally be granted the same marriage and adoption rights as opposite marriage allows. It’s time for everyone to be able to face the same societal pressures to follow normative standards and timelines for finding partners, having children, and settling down. Only when pushy Jewish mothers nag their lesbian daughters to find a nice Jewish girl and Asian-American parents disapprove of their gay son’s white boyfriend will we finally be equal. Martin had a dream, and that dream was race-based, religion-based discrimination for everyone.)

That answered your question, right?

Restaurant Review: Toki Underground

 

Blink, and you’ll miss it. Toki Underground, opened in April 2011 by Chef Erik Bruner-Yang, has no valet, street sign, or even a discernible door. Instead, you’ll see a crowd of young

20-something foodies, furiously Foursquaring, Yelping, Twittering, and standing around an otherwise deserted H Street corridor. The trick is to go mid-week, say a Tuesday afternoon, at around 4:30 to secure a prime spot in the claustrophobically designed interior.

When your name is finally called, you ascend a narrow staircase up onto the second floor. The open kitchen creates an immediate impression. It’s hot, messy, and fills the room with a mélange of delicious aromas: hints of fried chicken, sweet miso, and delicate steamed dumplings. Most likely, you’ll see Chef Yang, along with his sous-chefs, sweating profusely over towering stock pots, ladling bowls of steaming ramen broth into large, generously portioned bowls. Quite the appetizing sight.

Chatting with Chef Yang, I learned that Toki serves not Japanese ramen per se, but rather a Taiwanese interpretation of Japanese ramen. Or is it the other way around? I’m not sure. Either way, do remember to order a bowl of ramen.

Selected ramen enthusiasts understand the effort and skill necessary to create great ramen broth. It often takes days to extract the precious umami flavor from the pork bones and is an alchemy of balance and precision. Inferior broth is often one-dimensional: either too miso-y, oily, or pork-like, kind of like the Kardashian family. It’s safe to say that Toki’s broth passes the test. The Toki Classic reminds one of classic LA-style Japanese ramen, though the broth is lighter and clearer with delicate whiffs of nori, a type of Japanese seaweed. Besides the delightful chewy noodles, done perfectly al dente, the bowl contains chasu-styled pulled pork (melts in the mouth) and a salty soft-boiled egg and is topped with red pickled ginger, sesame seeds, and scallions. It’s a hearty meal, recommended for cold winter nights.

If you’re a bit adventurous, do try their seasonal specials. I tried their pungent Taiwanese stinky tofu. Delicious, but not for the faint of heart. The house-made dumplings are a treat; those who have bossy Taiwanese mothers are reminded of Lunar New Year when the kitchen is transformed into a dumpling factory and the whole family is conscripted into rolling dough, mixing filling, and boiling water. The eccentric drink selection is familiar only to those who grew up in a Taiwanese household. Apple Sidra, Ramune Marble Soda, Hey Song Sarsaparilla, Mr. Brown, and Calpico all make cameo appearances. Those looking for heavier hitters will be pleasantly surprised by the selection of Asian beer, sake (including fan favorites like Tokyo Black and Yona Yona), and some interestingly named cocktails.

With H Street truly blooming into an area with eclectic, interesting restaurants and bars, Toki stands as an exemplar of the area’s progress. Be sure to go early and often.

 

Address:

1234 H St. NE, 2nd FL Washington, DC 20002

(202) 388-3086 www.tokiunderground.com

 

Jeff Liu, 2L, writes at www.considerthelobster.com (pending).

THE SIDEBAR (presented by OCS and OPICS): Your Job Search

March is around the corner. Spring is in the air. But if you are still searching for a summer or permanent position, you might  be feeling stuck in the winter doldrums. The first thing to know is that it’s not too late! The majority of legal employers hire  individuals closer to their start date. For the most part, only large law firms hire far in advance, and what most people don’t appreciate is that they represent a small part of the actual legal market. Many law firms, government agencies, public  interest organizations, judicial internships, and corporations will continue to recruit and hire through this semester for  summer positions. For those graduating in May, the hire date is dependent upon the type of position. For example, if you’re interested in public defenders’ offices, it’s not the least bit unusual to get an offer after you have taken and passed a bar exam.

 However, it’s important to put a strategy into place, if you haven’t done so already. Your job search should be approached in a methodical way. Begin by seeing one of the counselors in OCS or OPICS. We can help you define your targets and markets, depending upon your interests, and design a strategy that encompasses all job search methods: networking and building relationships, applying to specific job openings, and targeting employers and geographic locations. We’ll also help you create your marketing documents: your resume, your cover letter, and any other materials needed. Our website has lots of information to guide you in your search. Your counselor can pinpoint specific resources for you that will make your search easier.

 What makes a job search beyond larg firms and some federal government agencies difficult is that most employers do not recruit through on-campus or job fair interviewing programs. However,  there are several strategies that will help you find a position. Here are a few tips to consider as you approach your job search.

 •Identify individuals who might be able to help you with your search by suggesting specific organizations to target, or individuals to speak with who can advise you regarding your interests. Professors, past employers, alumni of GULC and your undergraduate institution, neighbors, fellow students, your parents, and your parents’ friends are just a few examples of those who can be part of your network.

 • Don’t be afraid to ask for help! When approaching people, ask for advice. Most people love to share their experiences and provide guidance to an individual starting out. Their organization may not be hiring, but they may know of others that are. If you ask for a job outright, the conversation ends on that note.

 • If you’re not on LinkedIn yet,  it’s time to do so. LinkedIn can connect you with all sorts of people who can help you. Check out our video on using LinkedIn – it’s on our website under  Job Search Resources, Webcasts and Videos.

 • When responding to specific job ads, tailor your resume and cover letter for the requirements of the position. Don’t make the employer work to find what qualifications you have that match the job.

• If you’re answering an ad, try to also find a connection in the organization. The individual can shed some light on the hiring process, the organization itself, and perhaps put a word in for you.

• Spring break is a great time to meet with people. If you don’t have big vacation plans, consider using the break to talk with at least two people who can further your job search.

• As mentioned before, see a counselor in OPICS or OCS. Not only can a counselor suggest new strategies and resources and help you finetune your materials, but we may be able to connect you with additional people who are doing what you want to do. The more we know about you, the more we can help.

 

 

by Marcia P. Shannon
Assistant Dean,
Office of Career Services