A successful career in the law is a happy career in the law. Yet many attorneys are dissatisfied with their careers after only a few years in practice. Why? The simple answer is that many did not engage in a process of self-assessment. We recommend you take the time necessary to reflect on the answers to questions such as:
- Where do you see yourself in five years? In ten years?
- How do you want to use your degree?
- If you could create a job that perfectly matched your skills and interests, what would it be?
Answering these questions can take much thought and soul-searching. Even though most people understand that job satisfaction is a primary element of a person’s overall happiness, the heavy demands and rigors of law school classes, journals, and clinics leave little time for self-reflection.
We promise if you take the time to assess who you are and how you want your law degree to help you achieve your goals, you will avoid many potential career frustrations. To assist you in your process of self-assessment, we recommend the following resources:
- Abrams, Lisa. The Official Guide to Legal Specialties.
Chicago, IL: Harcourt Legal, 2000
- Arron, Deborah. What Can You Do With a Law Degree?
Seattle, WA: Niche Press, 2004 (5th Edition)
- Bolles, Richard. What Color is Your Parachute?
Berkely, CA: Ten Speed Press, 2000
- Tieger, Paul & Barron-Tieger, Barbara, Do What You Are.
New York: Little, Brown, 2001 (3rd Edition)
First Year Students (1L)
We are happy to begin scheduling appointments with first year students on or after the first day of November. The Career Services Office follows the guidelines and policies established by the National Association for Legal Career Professionals (NALP). First year students may not schedule an appointment to meet with a counselor or use the resources of the office prior to the first day of November.
We strongly urge all incoming students to fully immerse themselves in the academic environment during their first semester. It is often said that how you finish is determined by how you start. Put your energy into your studies in your first semester and your efforts will be rewarded.
To schedule an appointment with a counselor please contact Stephanie Troy Williams, Career Services Manager, at 919-530-7701.
Second and Third Year Students (2L and 3L)
In your second and third years of law school, you will have the opportunity to explore many different markets, types of employers and geographic locations. Our office provides many opportunities to explore all of your options. Throughout the year we host panel discussions, information sessions and workshops to help you focus your job search efforts.
The job search is an often hectic and challenging process. It can be a real challenge for those seeking to stay on top of the deadlines for each sector or individual employer. We encourage you to schedule an appointment with a counselor to develop your job search strategies and to keep in contact with our office regarding your search. You should remember that your personal network often provides many opportunities, so do not limit yourself to Career Services Office (CSO) sponsored programs!
As an evening student, you have many demands on your time and may have different considerations that affect your career planning. The biggest issue facing evening students is how to gain legal experience while in law school. To properly address this issue you need to ask yourself the following question:
Can you afford/are you able to leave your current job?
If the answer is yes…
During or after your first year of law school, search for a position as a full-time law clerk or paralegal – ideally with an employer you might like to work for after you graduate. This option can be especially useful for students interested in pursuing a career in intellectual property law because many law students with technical backgrounds are able to find jobs with IP firms or companies during the academic year.
If the answer is no…
Stay in your current position and explore the possibility of taking a sabbatical or extended period of leave from your current job so that you can work during the summers while you are in law school. You should also explore the possibility of alternate work schedules. Your current employer may allow you to compress your work week to free up one day a week for a position as a law clerk. Our career counselors are here to help you decide the best path for you to follow.
Contact Stephanie T. Williams, Career Services Manager, to set up an appointment with a counselor or, if you know who you wish to speak with, email the counselor directly. Our office remains open until 6 p.m. on Tuesdays in an effort accommodate your schedules.