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Dec. 9, 2013

Mailbag is a new blog feature where I answer your questions, or just make up my own if you don't send me any!

Q: What jobs are available for 1Ls and what's the best way to go about getting them?

A: December 1st was the first time NALP member law firms (i.e. mostly big firms) could begin recruiting/soliciting resumes from 1L students for the upcoming summer. Therefore now is really when the search for a 1L summer opportunity begins. An email went out to all 1Ls on 12/2 at 1:21pm with a ton of information you should definitely be looking at. Key points are: 1) most 1L opportunities are unpaid with public-sector or non-profit employers, 2) most 1Ls won't have a job lined up until next spring so don't start panicking if you don't have something by January and 3) most 1L opportunities at law firms will not be posted anywhere - you'll simply need to contact firms you're interested in.

Q: What is the difference between an externship and an internship? Between an internship and a clerkship?

A: The basic difference between an externship and an internship is that an externship is for class credit while an internship is not. First, an externship is only done with non-profit / public employers. With an externship, you enroll in/pay tuition for the class (e.g. Athletics Compliance Externship), work for the employer during the quarter and then typically turn in some type of report to the supervising faculty member. An internship is generally done during a summer or a quarter you're taking off (though it doesn't have to be). Neither is typically paid, though an internship could be.

In many ways and depending on the employer, the internship and clerkship could be the same. However when most people talk about legal clerkships they are usually talking about: 1) a summer work experience for 6-12 weeks that is paid and is typically with a law firm, or 2) a full-time post-grad position with some type of court (e.g. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals).

When looking for opportunities with employers and watching notices from our office, it's important to note what type of opportunity it is and whether it fits with your schedule, goals, finances, etc.

Q: How can we prepare for interviews?

A: The most important thing is to be knowledgeable about the employer, the position you're interviewing for and why you are the best person for that position. This means do research on what the employer does; not just where they're located and what type of practice they have, but read about their cases and the bios of their attorneys. Get a feel for what the employer values and prioritizes and be able to communicate how your values and priorities match those of the employer. I provided some more detail in a recent post.

The next thing I'd mention is practice. You know a few questions (or variants of questions) you're going to get asked, so practice those answers and be able to confidently deliver. Along these lines, I'm going to begin offering mock interviews on a weekly basis beginning in January for anyone interested. I would strongly encourage each of you to schedule a mock interview (through Symplicity) in order to get a chance to practice as well as receive constructive criticism!

Have a question for the Mailbag?! Send it to: and/or @BaylorLawDaniel on Twitter.

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