USING WINTER BREAK EFFECTIVELY
Published in the November 29, 2011, Advisor
Winter break presents an opportunity for you to explore career options through reading, court watching, informational interviewing, and volunteering. Relax with family and friends during the coming weeks, but make time for professional development as well.
Read. Reading is an easy way to explore career options. You can borrow these books – and many others – from the Career Center.
The Official Guide to Legal Specialties: An Insider’s Guide to Every Major Practice Area. This comprehensive guide describes practice areas; discusses settings for each practice area; profiles practitioners in the area; explains necessary skills and training; and includes much more.
Guerrilla Tactics for Getting the Legal Job of Your Dreams. This is perhaps the most popular book for legal career planning and professional development. Read the chapter on identifying your dream job.
What Can You Do With a Law Degree? This title will help you understand the importance of making affirmative choices about careers rather than taking whatever comes along.
What Law School Doesn’t Teach You . . . But You Really Need to Know. Review this book before starting your first legal job.
Building Career Connections: Networking Tools for Law Students and New Lawyers. Learn to build a professional network.
The Lawyer’s Guide to Finding Success in Any Job Market. This book includes helpful chapters on job hunting during tough times and professional alternatives to traditional law practice.
Go to court. Call the scheduling clerk at your local courthouse and find out what hearings or trials are taking place. Observe court proceedings in civil and criminal matters and reflect on what you like and dislike.
Meet with a lawyer for an informational interview. Networking is the single most important job search strategy you’ll ever use. If you don’t know any attorneys you can invite for lunch or coffee, we’ll help you find and contact an alumnus for an informational interview. Whether you’re gathering information about a specialty you are considering or searching for a job, you will benefit from meeting with practitioners.
Complete a pro bono project through http://www.pslawnet.orgor your local bar association. A short-term pro bono project will give you an opportunity to use your new skills and to appreciate how much you have learned. It should also help you develop professional ties and references and gain resume-enhancing experience.