Summer loving had me a blast? – maybe not so much for the budding lawyer. Below are suggestions of “To Do’s” during each summer beginning with a junior in college through the newly graduated 3L student.
College Juniors (rising seniors) – If you haven’t already scheduled a June LSAT test date, then schedule an early fall exam so you have time to retake it before applications are due in case you happen to bomb the first one. Shop around for LSAT prep courses. Research as much as you can about what being a lawyer is like so you can determine if it is right for you. Intern at any legal place that will take you (even if it’s just to pour coffee) so you can get a feel for the lifestyle. Research law schools and take note of application due dates, scholarship application requirements, and costs.
College Seniors (rising 1Ls) – Get your hands on your school’s summer recommended reading list and read as much of it as you can. Already know your first semester courses? Look for deals on supplements and start reading those to have a jump start on understanding the material. Research the different bar prep courses. Why so early you might ask? If you lock in a bar prep course during your first year of law school (usually requiring a deposit) you can receive major discounts on the course as well as free outlines, supplements, and practice questions for your classes. Intern or have summer employment at a legal office or courthouse. Find a mentor/cheerleader/support system – these come in handy when you’re pulling out your hair during the first semester.
1Ls (rising 2Ls) – Hopefully, you received a summer associate position. This will put you on track to a potentially guaranteed job. Work your ass off, get noticed (in a positive light), and lock in an invitation to return the following summer. Apply for law review and/or moot court to boost employment opportunities. Find out if your bar admissions office requires any forms or fees during 2L and get it done to avoid late fees or problems with your admission application later. Read supplements for your upcoming courses. Update your résumé and cover letters for fall recruitment. Be aware of deadlines for fall recruitment.
2Ls (rising 3Ls) – Again, let’s hope you received a summer associate position. Compete for offers of employment after graduation. Update your résumé and cover letters in case you do not receive an offer and begin as early as you can to search for employment. Send out cold employment queries just to get your name out there and meet potential employers. Attend local bar association gatherings and meetings to meet employers. Start preparing your bar application. Register, study for, and take your MPRE. Read supplements for your upcoming courses. Check with the school to make sure you have or are about to complete all of the requirements to graduate so you have time to change your courses.
3Ls (new graduates) – Study for the bar. Take the bar. Pass the bar. Celebrate!
Everyone: Everyone should be determining costs for the upcoming year and creating a budget. Make sure to hoard your money from summer employment to cover these costs and to make interest payments on your loans. Everyone should be shopping around for student loan lenders and taking notes on who has the best rates and repayment plans, so when January applications come around you are prepared. Everyone should be shopping around for their books to get the best prices – used books, borrowing books, and ebooks help to save money.
I do believe in the philosophy of “work hard and play hard.” With any free time, please unwind, get sand between your toes, dive into a good book or find that summer love at last! Be sure to check back next Wednesday for a new Barrister on a Budget Blog post!