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As a 1L, figuring out when to start your summer job search is tricky. You're still trying to keep up with your new schedule of reading, while trying to wrap your brain around new concepts like the much-dreaded Rule Against Perpetuities.
Your law school's career office likely won't even talk to you until Nov. 1, which makes it feel like you have fewer options for advice right now. But even without the career office, there is a lot of information out there that you can take advantage of.
Under rules set by the National Association for Law Placement, 1Ls can't explicitly contact potential employers about jobs until Dec. 1. But that doesn't mean you can't unofficially start talking to attorneys about the direction of your career and what jobs are out there.
It's a sad fact that there are more law students than there are available jobs in most areas, especially if you're hoping to land a job with a firm.
But consider this: Though 1Ls are forbidden from asking for a job outright before Dec. 1, they can still take full advantage of networking opportunities. Many 1Ls may find working lawyers are quite amenable to sharing career advice when they're not being hounded about job openings.
Where do you find these lawyers? You can't use your law school's career center yet, but you can contact your undergraduate career office to see if there are any alumni who are attorneys in your area. You can also use your LinkedIn connections to find lawyers in fields you're interested in.
Early in your 1L year is also the best time to join ABA sections and other legal organizations that fit your interests. Legal groups tailored to specific interests and practices often have student rates or waive fees for law students. Use those opportunities to find like-minded attorneys you can ask for advice.
If you aren't sure what field most interests you, then pick a general legal group.
Ideologically based groups such as the Federalist Society, the American Constitution Society, or the National Lawyers Guild have chapters on most law school campuses. They all have opportunities for you to meet attorneys who can help shape your career.
Just because you can't start applying for jobs yet doesn't mean you shouldn't be looking for opportunities. Use your time wisely to start building connections. By the time you want to send in those applications, you'll already know where to send them.
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.