Advice for Rising 2Ls and 3Ls as You Make Your Summer Plans

Emily, a white young woman with long blond hair, wears a blue and white blouse and black blazer.Theresa, a white woman with dark brown hair, wears a black blouse and pale grey jacket. By Emily Askew and Theresa DiCenzo

Landing a Job After your 2L Year

You’ve finished your first year (yay!), and you’re knee-deep in your summer internship. While it’s important to continue focusing your efforts and energy on your summer internship, it’s equally important to keep in mind that you will most likely need to begin preparing for OCIs (on-campus interviews) in mid-to-late July. These OCIs are opportunities for the summer after your 2L year – and yes, the deadline really is that early. In order to ensure you’re prepared for applying and interviewing in July and August, you’ll want to spend the time updating your resume, LinkedIn, and cover letter. (Don’t forget to update your materials to include the current internship that you have). In addition, you’ll want to ensure that your interviewing skills are sharp and that you have conducted research on businesses and law firms that you’ll want to apply to. Going into your OCIs with a game plan is imperative, and you will thank yourself later when you’re not scrambling.

Do you need help sharpening your interviewing skills? Our next piece of advice to you is to visit your school’s career center. We would recommend carving out time during your 1L to visit them, but if you can’t make that happen, then visiting them right after spring exams are over is still a good option. Your career center is a golden nugget in your treasure chest of law school resources. From scheduling practice interviews, to resume review, internship strategy planning, etc., your career center will be of the most importance to you as you work your way through school.

Managing Your 2L Year and Registering for Classes

So, you’ve made it through your first year of law school and your first law school summer! Now, it’s time to get ready for your 2L year. 2L is a wonderful year because students are given the opportunity to get more involved within their school and take on experiences outside of the classroom. However, it is important to be realistic about how much you can take on as a student. If you attend a school that has many required courses for 2L students, keep this in mind when signing up for other opportunities. You want to be able to keep up with your class readings, outlines, and any other assignments. If you are taking on an internship, make sure to set reasonable expectations regarding your availability with your employer at the beginning of the semester. Since employers have also been through the law school experience, they will likely understand that you must prioritize your courses. The same goes for any school clubs or organizations you may decide to lead.

You have likely heard the saying, “In your 2L year, they’ll work you to death.” While this statement has some truth to it, make sure you are mentally and physically healthy throughout your 2L year, so you can tackle your final year of law school.

In addition to getting ready for OCIs during the summer after your 1L year, you’ll also want to keep an eye on your inbox for when it’s time to register for classes for your 2L year. If you’re at a school where the first-year curriculum is planned for you, this task might seem a bit daunting. First, most schools assign students to an academic advisor, and we highly recommend going to visit them if you’re confused about what classes you’re supposed to take, etc. It’s important that you take classes that you need – and the right amount of credits – to stay on track to graduate.

Once you’ve identified what you need to take, it’s important to take a look at what days and times these classes are offered. From there, you can begin building out your “potential schedule.” It’s also important to have backup options in case the classes are filled when you go to register. As always, it’s a bit of work up front, but you’ll thank yourself on class registration night. Lastly, think about how and when you operate best as a student and how that can translate to a good schedule for you. Are you a night owl? You might rather sleep in a bit. Are you a rise-and-shine type of person? Perhaps you want to take classes first thing in the morning. Of course, this is dependent on when classes are offered, and sometimes, you just can’t work your way around this, but it’s still helpful to keep in mind.

Looking for a Summer Job after your 1L Year

Something no one may tell you is that finding a summer internship after your first year of law school may not be the most straightforward or linear process. While some of your classmates may find a job through OCIs, this is not the case for most students (and that is OK). Do not be discouraged if you do not find a job through OCIs. 1L year is hard and requires a lot of focus. If you need to take a step back and look for a job later in the semester, that is perfectly fine. There are many job opportunities that arise for 1Ls much later in the semester than most students realize. You may even find great job opportunities after the semester has already ended. This says nothing about your potential or qualifications, just that some workplaces are extremely busy and cannot go through the hiring process until the summer approaches.

Unsure where to look for internship opportunities? A good place to start is the job bank on your school’s career center website. Then, look to other resources such as LinkedIn or Indeed. Another great way to find opportunities is through networking. Reach out to alumni from your school who practice in your fields of interest and ask to get coffee or jump on a Zoom call.

It’s best to form a relationship with them first, and then inquire about any available opportunities. Even if their firm or company is not hiring, they may have a friend or former classmate who is!