I need the advice of strangers. Please give me your advice, as a law or non-law person. Please don’t hesitate. I know dozens of people look at this page each day. At least a third of you should have enough time to make a comment. Don’t let me down. ::end of begging::

So it’s that time to think about Summer 2009. That may sound ridiculous to the non-law reader, but around my school, November 1st marks the official opening of career services (ie. staff whose job it is to help us find jobs) communication with first-year students. The point is, I need to start figuring out what I should do next summer.

Here are some facts to consider:

1) As most of you know, I am quite certain I will pursue immigration law upon graduation.
2) I am not quite as certain but still basically planning to open my own immigration law practice upon graduation.
3) I already know at least one area I will certainly practice (within immigration law). But I want to focus on some other areas as well, but I’m not sure what those will be yet.
4) I’m currently going to school in college town, about an hour and a half from hometown, where my husband F lives.
5) I am not really, under any circumstances, interested in doing court work, ever. Writing – maybe, but I have about no desire to ever argue in court. I’m not saying I won’t do that ever, but it’s not appealing to me in any way.

Options possibly on the table:

  • Los Angeles. Pros: going to work for a solo immigration professor who I know and respect; learning firsthand from a woman who runs her own law practice (with staff); opportunities to work in the practice area I want to eventually do and two others I am interested in; it could be fun to be in L.A. for the summer. Cons: L.A. is very far from where I live; not seeing my husband most of the summer; probably not making much more money than I would need to live on.
  • Law School clinical program. Pros: Interesting array of work which would expand my horizons; seven free credits toward my law degree for the summer work, plus another eight credits in the 2009-10 school year by continuing to work on the cases started during the summer (ie. less class, more practical law experience next year); spending the summer just an hour away from F, meaning I can keep doing the M-F at school, home on the weekends deal; this could possibly help me graduate early, which I am definitely considering to save money. Cons: My school does not have an immigration professor, so even if there were immigration law issues to come up in the community I would be working, I don’t think I could really “take” any of those cases as a student since there would not be a supervising attorney to help; having to commit (I think) to spending next school year doing classes and the clinical – this isn’t necessarily bad, but it will take time away from any immigration work, and also mean I can’t pursue a project/research/teaching assistantship, which is one of my plans to avoid paying tuition the next two years; they only take six students for the clinicals I am interested in, so I don’t have any idea what my chances are.
  • Hometown: Pros: Possibly working at an immigration firm at home; saving money by not paying rent elsewhere all summer; spending the whole summer like a normal married couple; Cons: I have one friend who can refer me a specific firm, but I have no idea what kind of work I would be doing; probably not doing any work in the practice areas I am specifically interested in within immigration; wearing suits all summer.
  • Other: Could be: Interning at some national immigrant rights’ organization or other organizations that do immigration law; working at some other sort of law firm in my hometown; bartending; anything else you suggest. (Kidding about bartending, I hope).

So help! I need advise, insight from people who know or don’t know me, who know or don’t know about the law.


12 Responses to dilemmas

  1. In this economy, I would start by applying to all of the above programs/opportunities and then re-evaluating after you get some feedback.

  2. Jackdad says:

    First – I agree with the comment above – keep all your options open as long as possible while you are deciding.

    Second – keep adding to your list of pros and cons anything you can think of – it will help crystallize your thinking – you have a good start so far.

    Last, and most important – go with your gut, not neccessarily with the pros and cons list. One of your choices will bubble up, if it hasn’t already, as the one you really want to select, even if you can’t make a strong logical case for it. Make the pick you want, not the one you think you should.

  3. Jen says:

    The clinicals sound really great, and the extra credits you’d earn would really put you ahead coming into your second year. I’d try for that, and see what happens.

    I’m also big on family though, and you might really need those few months to be with F and have that time together. If you can get work at a firm, great.

    If the clinical thing happens, perfect, but if not, I’d say RELAX and try to enjoy the summer with your family. 🙂

  4. delicioustorts says:

    Thank you three! Keep ’em coming.

  5. Kel says:

    If you find anything where I’m at, and you should know there is a ton of immigration work here, let me know.

    My torts prof runs the immigration clinic here. And I have a guest room!

    Overall, I agree with Paragon. I also think it is important to take into consideration where you want to practice after school. I know that I’ll be working on my local networking around here this summer.

  6. Rachel says:

    I would apply to everything as well.
    However, I am leaning toward you going to L.A. You will get actual experience working with actual people, including an attorney you really respect.
    Also, it is only three months and it would be an adventure. What if the husband took a leave of absence from work (is that possible?) and went with you and worked some odd restaurant job while you worked at the law office? Just a thought…

  7. delicioustorts says:

    Kel – thanks! That is incredibly nice of you to offer! I think I will be at a conference in your area next summer actually…

    Anyway, to be honest, I really want to go to LA, if not this summer next summer, but I have to talk to F more about it. His response was like, “Sure, I’m not going to say you can’t go,” but I know it would be hard. So, we’ll see.

    It might make more sense to stick around here this summer and go somewhere next summer, but I think paragon et al. are right, I should apply to everything that interests me and see what is available.

  8. clinical! says:

    here is why my vote is for the clinical program:

    although there is definitely a lack of immigration work, especially the area in which you’re interested (in my group at your school there was one “potential” (read: no potential at all) asylum case), there are tons of other great things about it. for example:

    you get experience having your own clients–meeting with them, calling them, writing and receiving (sometimes very interesting) letters. you actually feel like a lawyer, and have a lot of responsibility. and, odds are, there’s no court involved.

    you learn how to deliver bad news, which is a really helpful skill in any area of law.

    you get to work with a population that, odds are, you will rarely encounter in your life (especially if you’re doing one of the prison clinicals, which it doesn’t look like, but you might want to consider it).

    it’s an established program, which is a huge benefit, because you know that you’ll actually be getting work that will help you sort of grow as a lawyer (not just filing or observing someone else do the work).

    you have more interesting stories about your work than basically anyone.

    you’ll be close to your husband.

    the professors are great.

    you’ll have one fewer exam next december.

    you get the opportunity to meet a lot of great law students in a non-competitive atmosphere, which makes a world of difference.

    it’s really, really fun.

    (oh, and for the record, i didn’t apply to the clinicals that only took 6 because i was too lazy, and then just applied to the bigger ones even though i really wasn’t all that enthusiastic about the work that i thought that i’d be doing. i ended up doing it anyway, because i didn’t really want to take a risk with a program that seemed less organized, and it really was one of the best summers of my life. could have just been me though.)

    cons of the clinical program:

    who your supervising attorney is, and who is in your group, makes a world of difference, of course. but that’s sort of part of any job.

    but i agree, it’s a good idea to apply to everything you’re interested in and ask questions.

    good luck with your decision!

  9. clinical! says:

    ooh, i need to qualify my “odds are, no court,” comment. that was just in the clinical that i did. i think it’s different in the others. could be an interesting experience. why not try it?

  10. delicioustorts says:

    🙂 Thanks!

  11. kp says:

    hi, you don’t know me, i’m kp and i read your blog sometimes 🙂 (i’m not a law person, but my boyfriend is and so is my dad and uncle)

    after reading the other comments, i def agree with applying all over and then deciding. but i also think it’s really important you’re near your husband (ie you arrange something where you see each other every weekend, he moves with you, or you don’t move). living in LA is fun, but if you’re going to be working a ton, and you won’t have much/any down/free time, it’s not worth it. LA is super expensive, dirty and can be overwhelming. plus, it’s no fun to do touristy things by yourself, trust me, i’ve lived here for 5+years. but it can also provide you with lots of people and resources, and the immigration exposure would be tremendous. Taking summer courses would get you ahead, and you’d get to spend more time with your husband, and save some money. staying at home might also be kind of nice because you could have a break from law, or get a law-related job.

    personally, i’d want to stay near my husband and get experience at the same time. but applying all over and then deciding might be your best bet, and def go with your gut instinct!! good luck!

  12. […] I really just wanted to think about summer, but… a few months back I asked for advice about my 1L summer job options. I really appreciate all the comments I received, and they […]

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