1L Advice: Don’t Base Summer Job Search on 'Big-Firm Cachet’

An assistant dean at Northwestern University School of Law is warning 1Ls searching for summer jobs that it’s unlikely they will land first-year summer associate positions at big law firms. The odds favor students at top-ranked schools or those with technical backgrounds, and even then it’s difficult to land one of the coveted positions.

Students would do well to look beyond the “money and the big-firm cachet,” says Northwestern career counselor William A. Chamberlain in an article published by the National Law Journal.

Judicial externships are an excellent alternative, he writes. Such jobs improve writing skills and can lead to career-building relationship with judges.

Other possibilities are research positions for law professors in interesting areas of the law and opportunities at nonprofits where students can use their knowledge to help others. Small law firms and corporate law departments can also offer excellent experience.

“The first-year summer is truly the time to open the box of jobs as wide as possible and take the risk of exploring one’s dream job,” Chamberlain says.

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