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A resource for students at The University of Texas School of Law regarding the on-campus and off-campus application and interview process, as well as news about upcoming career panels and professional development workshops.

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Free Fellowships 101 Program in Washington, D.C. on July 9, 2015

Fellowships 1o1
Thursday, July 9, from 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Georgetown Law (Gewirz Student Center, 120 F Street NW; 12th Floor) in Washington, D.C.

The Washington Council of Lawyers is pleased to announce the return of Fellowships 101, its annual introduction to postgraduate public interest fellowships. An expert panel will walk you through project-based fellowships, such as those sponsored by Equal Justice Works and Skadden; discuss fellowship opportunities with the federal government; and provide all sorts of useful tips and advice about choosing the right fellowship and perfecting your application.

All Texas Law students and graduates are invited to attend this free program. Registration is required.

The program will begin with a presentation by Christina Jackson, Director of Public Service Initiatives and Fellowships at NALP, to highlight online resources available to assist your application process. You’ll then hear from a panel of fellowship experts, including:

  • Patty Mullahy Fugere (Executive Director, Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless)
  • Sterling Morriss (Fellowships and Advancement Manager, Equal Justice Works)
  • Sondra Kahawaii (Associate Manager, Partnership for Public Service)
  • Hannah Weinberger-Divack (Skadden Fellow, Justice in Aging)

The panel will be moderated by Jaya Saxena (Assistant Director, George Washington University Law School Office of Career Services).

 

Navigating Fall OCI: Advice from Audrey Bartosh, 3L

The CSO asked several students to share their advice on navigating the Fall OCI recruiting season. Over the summer we will be sharing their tips about the research and bidding process, including strategies for ranking employers, what to expect during OCI, and more.

Rising 3L student, Audrey Bartosh, candidly shares her Fall OCI advice:

What resources did you find most helpful when researching employers?
Vault, Chambers Associate, and the firms’ own websites. I generally tried to gather basic information about the firm’s practice areas, office size, and recent big deals/future plans for the actual interview. For my own general impression of the firm, I looked at reviews of their hours, culture, and training.

How did you decide which employers to apply to?
I decided based on a mix of factors—gut impression of the culture of the firms, their locations, their prestige, and what the firms were looking for in students. For example, because I didn’t particularly know what area of law I wanted to go into aside from transactional, I was a bit hesitant in applying to firms that had few practice groups or wanted summers to specialize right away. I did end up applying to them, but they were a lower priority for me.

Did you tailor your application materials for each employer? If so, how?
Yes, to a certain extent. I applied to more than one city, and I had slightly different resumes for each city, because each city’s legal market is different. For example, New York has a very strong finance market, while Texas cities are very strong in oil and gas. So I tweaked my resume accordingly. As far as cover letters are concerned, when I had to do them, I generally had one or two sentences I changed around with each firm.

How long does it take to go through the bidding process? How much time should we plan for?
New York took hardly any time at all, because I didn’t have to rank employers and few required cover letters. I’d say it took an hour or two. As far as OCI is concerned, I honestly can’t remember…but I probably devoted an entire day to it.

What was your strategy in deciding how to rank employers?
I ranked based on a mix of location, firm specialization, and the firm’s hiring history. “Location” is pretty self-explanatory, and by firm specialization, I mean what I mentioned above—if the firm had fewer practice areas, I tended to give them a lower ranking. But probably the biggest factor for me was the firm’s hiring history. There’s the GPA range the firms say they want, and then there’s the GPA they actually accept. CSO gave out a sheet with the latter, and I studied it pretty intently. My GPA was good, but it was below the cut-off for a few employers, so I didn’t bother ranking them highly. I focused more on the firms I had a borderline GPA for. I figured they wouldn’t probably give me an interview but they might actually consider me if we hit off well in the interview nevertheless.

What did you do if you didn’t get on an interview schedule for an employer you are really interested in?
This didn’t really happen for me. Not because I was super impressive (I wish!), but because at OCI there were very few firms I was especially interested in over the others. The one firm I was especially interested in I happened to get an interview with.

What suggestions do you have on the day of interviews?
If you have more than one interview in one day (which you will if you do the New York Job Fair), make sure you have the firms straight and can pronounce all their names correctly. Other than that, relax. Keep in mind that you’re interviewing the firm just as much as they’re interviewing you. “Fit” actually really is pretty important, and you can’t manufacture it. If after an interview, you come out feeling like you didn’t say anything wrong, yet nevertheless, nothing “clicked” and then you don’t get a callback—don’t despair. Would you really want to work for a firm where you always felt like the odd person out?

What three questions would you recommend students ask employers?
My standard question probably was, “Why did you choose your firm/if you are a lateral, why did you lateral over?” This was a good question because I could ask it of anybody, and many times I actually got pretty informative answers. The laterals were generally the best people to ask this question, because they had another firm to compare their current firm to. That question generally took up most of the remaining time, so I rarely had to ask another one. If I did, I would generally ask about how they choose their practice area, or if they could describe a recent deal for me, or what the firm’s culture was like in how they interacted with their support staff.

If you had lottery interviews, did you have any success with them?
Some people genuinely do, but I didn’t. So take my ranking advice with a grain of salt.

How did you manage reception/dinner invitations? Did you go to each reception you were invited to? Did you feel that attending a dinner/reception helped you make a stronger connection with the firm?
So, I made the mistake at the beginning of not going to every reception I was invited to…don’t make that mistake. Squeeze them all in. That being said, I think they were helpful for me in figuring out the culture of the firm and whether or not I would be a good “fit.” The attorneys there are figuring out the same thing too.

Did you send thank-you notes after each interview? If so what format and to whom?
Yes. I sent emails to everyone. They were generally pretty short for first round interviews and a bit longer for callbacks. For callbacks I also thanked the recruiting coordinator who arranged everything. As far as content was concerned, I had a standard format for them as well, but I always included one specific detail about each interviewer. If I could between interviewers I would just jot down the detail I planned on mentioning before I forgot. I sent almost all my thank you’s at the end of the day or the next morning at the latest.

What was the average wait time to hear back from employers after the first interview?
I was either a first-round pick for someone or they didn’t pick me at all. The longest wait I had was when I got a callback invitation the Monday morning after a Thursday morning interview. That being said, some people don’t get called back for weeks because firms have several rounds of callbacks, so if two days later you haven’t heard from a firm, don’t despair.

What one piece of advice would you give to a rising 2L regarding OCI?
I would say that if you’re in any way flexible about where you can live, apply to lots of cities. I would do this especially if you’re a little borderline with your GPA—the more places you apply to, the better your odds are. My impression of my classmates’ success is that those who were most flexible in location were the most successful. Remember, while the CSO is great at landing students jobs, the legal job market is still really competitive. Also, brace yourself—part of the reason OCI is so stressful for students is it’s so physically exhausting. There’s no point in pretending it isn’t. Eat healthy foods, don’t stay out late drinking, and get plenty of sleep.

What one piece of advice would you give to a rising 2L who may need to look outside of OCI to find a summer clerkship?
I didn’t do this, but based on my observations of others—be aggressive and persistent: apply everywhere.

Navigating Fall OCI: Advice from Priscilla Bowens, 3L

The CSO asked several students to share their advice on navigating the Fall OCI recruiting season. Over the summer we will be sharing their tips about the research and bidding process, including strategies for ranking employers, what to expect during OCI, and more. 

Rising 3L student, Priscilla Bowens, who will be splitting her time this summer at Haynes and Boone, LLP (Dallas) and with Judge Louis Sturns of the 213th District Court (Fort Worth), candidly shares her fall OCI advice:

What resources did you find most helpful when researching employers?
The resources I found most helpful were the free firm books from the CSO, each firm’s website, and attorneys that worked in the firms or students who had summered at the firms

How did you decide which employers to apply to?

  1. Based on my grades
  2. CSO’s excellent Excel spreadsheet
  3. Location
  4. Type of legal practice
  5. My wonderful CSO counselor’s advice

Did you tailor your application materials for each employer? If so, how?
Yes, I tailored each cover letter as to the location, practice area of interest, and if I had met any of the attorneys, I added that as well.

How long does it take to go through the bidding process? How much time should we plan for?
Start revising your resume and preparing your cover letters now. Get your CSO counselor to review all of your documents. Prepare to do this over one weekend or spread it out during one week. Don’t procrastinate.

What was your strategy in deciding how to rank employers?
My grades and location.

What suggestions do you have on the day of interviews?

  1. Be early (15 minutes) so you can gather yourself.
  2. Some firms wait until the day of the interview to list their interviewing attorneys, so look through the book or ask the recruitment coordinator in advance so you can look them up on your phone.
  3. Smile and be nice to everyone.
  4. Know something about each interviewer.
  5. Be ready to tell your story, about why you are awesome, and why they should pick you (but don’t come off as entitled).

What two to three questions would you recommend students ask employers?

  1. What made them chose their law firm
  2. Ask them something about their work, but not something you should already know from reading their bio.

If you had lottery interviews, did you have any success with them?
Yes, two of my callbacks were lotteries. The firm I am with this summer was a lottery interview.

How did you manage reception/dinner invitations? Did you go to each reception you were invited to? Did you feel that attending a dinner/reception helped you make a stronger connection with the firm?
Go to as many receptions as you can. They take attendance. It’s also an extended part of the interview and a great way to meet other attorneys at the firm. Ask plenty of questions and stay engaged. You don’t have to stay all night but make sure to work the room. Be memorable, but in a good way.

Did you send thank-you notes after each interview? If so what format and to whom?
I sent email thank you notes to each interviewer soon after the interview. I’m not sure if this is necessary because it seems as if they know pretty quickly who they want for a callback.

What was the average wait time to hear back from employers after the first interview?
It depends on the employer. I received one callback within a few hours of my interview and the others about two to three days later.

What one piece of advice would you give to a rising 2L regarding OCI?
Just do it, no matter how you think you will fare. As long as you feel that you gave it your all, things will work out just like they were meant to all along.

What one piece of advice would you give to a rising 2L who may need to look outside of OCI to find a summer clerkship?
Network, network, network, regardless of whether you get a job through OCI or not. You never know where the next opportunity will come from. Talk to your professors, classmates, attorneys, judges, etc. I also sent emails to firms that did not come to OCI to get my name out there.

Navigating Fall OCI: Advice from Anthony Franklyn, 3L

The CSO asked several students to share their advice on navigating the Fall OCI recruiting season. Over the summer we will be sharing their tips about the research and bidding process, including strategies for ranking employers, what to expect during OCI, and more.

Rising 3L student, Anthony Franklyn, who will be splitting his time this summer at Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP (Houston) and USAA (Austin), candidly shares his Fall OCI advice:

What resources did you find most helpful when researching employers?
For the firms, the NALP Directory was helpful. My biggest concerns were practice areas, diversity, and offer rate, all of which NALP covers. For the smaller firms and government/nonprofits, I familiarized myself with their websites. Also, word of mouth and talking to people about the employers was very insightful.

How did you decide which employers to apply to?
I focused mainly on location and practice area. I know I want to litigate, so finding firms that actually go to court narrowed down my search substantially. I also want to be in Texas, Washington, D.C. or New York, so finding firms that met both criteria helped me decide where to apply.

Did you tailor your application materials for each employer? If so, how?
To some extent. They all generally had the some information. However, depending on where I was applying I may play up my connection to the firm or city (e.g., for Washington, D.C. cover letters, I would emphasize my previous employment in D.C.). If I knew something recent about or outstanding about the firm (e.g., I care about diversity and saw your firm was a recent sponsor of NBLSA), I would include that as well.

How long does it take to go through the bidding process? How much time should we plan for?
I would estimate about 1-2 hours minimum per employer you are applying to in the process. Researching the employer is important, and you want to tailor your resume and cover letter as much as possible. Also, you will need time to review your materials for any typos or errors.

What was your strategy in deciding how to rank employers?
Word of mouth was big. I spoke with CSO and my mentors about the employers and their hiring practices in the past (e.g., if an employer is really big into Texas Law students, they may be lower than someone that isn’t; or if my GPA was just outside of the employer’s desired range, they would be higher than someone else). If it was an employer I really wanted and/or a reach application, they would likely be higher.

What did you do if you didn’t get on an interview schedule for an employer you are really interested in?
If they offer you a waitlist spot, definitely take it. Sometimes people cancel interviews at the last minute and you may get a call the day of to interview (so be ready). Another great way is to join the Action Committee for Career Services (shameless plug). ACCS works with the employers and have the opportunity to meet many of them during OCI. In some cases, just this introduction (along with letting the employer know you applied with them) is enough for them to grant an interview if there is a cancellation.

What suggestions do you have on the day of interviews?
Be early, be yourself, and be honest. The interviewing process is two-way street, so definitely remember they are also on the hot seat with you. When I thought of the process like this, it helped me relax some.

What one piece of advice would you give to a rising 2L who may need to look outside of OCI to find a summer clerkship?
Don’t get discouraged. The hiring process is a marathon not a sprint. Continue meeting with the CSO, and also leverage your organizations, professors (many of whom practiced before they became academics), and other connections. You sometimes don’t know who has a connection to which employer, so be vocal about your interest (but not obnoxious). New jobs are posted on Symplicity throughout the year, so your summer clerkship may very well be secured outside of OCI. The law school is just as invested in you finding a job as you are, so keep the CSO in the process and it will likely work out.

Navigating Fall OCI: Advice from Luke Thomas, 3L

The CSO asked several students to share their advice on navigating the Fall OCI recruiting season. Over the summer we will be sharing their tips about the research and bidding process, including strategies for ranking employers, what to expect during OCI, and more. 

3L student, Luke Thomas, who will be splitting his time this summer at Vinson & Elkins (Houston) and Wilson Sonsini (Austin), candidly shares his Fall OCI advice:

What resources did you find most helpful when researching employers?
I used the NALP Directory, Chambers Associate, Above the Law Directory, and the data sent out by CSO from the prior year’s OCI the most in researching employers. I also met with my CSO counselor and spoke with friends to try and get additional insight. It can be kind of overwhelming at first because there are so many employers, so for me it was helpful to first try and figure out the law firms that I was not interested in to begin narrowing the list. Here I deleted firms that were in cities that I was not interested in living in, as well as firms’ whose practice groups in the areas I was interested in were very small. (I used the NALP Directory for this latter one, though the categories on NALP were not always spot-on so I went to the firms’ websites and did attorney searches also.)

I found that once I had done this the list was a lot more manageable and so I began then doing more in-depth research on the firms to figure out the ones I was really interested in and then used the prior year statistics to gauge whether I had a chance with those firms.

Did you tailor your application materials for each employer? If so, how?
This was a tough decision. I tried to at first, but then the process became so time consuming I had to stop. I think if you have something meaningful to say that creates a connection between you and the firm you should include it, but I wouldn’t feel like you have to come up with something for every firm.

How long does it take to go through the bidding process? How much time should we plan for?
It takes a while because you want to make sure that there are no typos/careless errors in your materials. The law firms are also facing an overwhelming number of applications, and that is an easy way for them to narrow down the list.

What did you do if you didn’t get on an interview schedule for an employer you are really interested in?
I did not get an interview with one of the firms I really wanted, but was able to get it in later rounds through the lottery process. I would make sure you understand how the ranking system works for the lottery process so that you can get a firm that might not otherwise give you an interview. I eventually got an offer to join the summer program for that firm, so while it is not impossible, it is more difficult.

What three questions would you recommend students ask employers?
This is a tough one. I would avoid questions that sound like you are reading them out of a textbook. I tried to remember something about the law firm and just ask a general question about that area to get them talking. If you can ask a broad enough question hopefully you can get them talking and avoid having to ask three questions.

How did you manage reception/dinner invitations? Did you go to each reception you were invited to? Did you feel that attending a dinner/reception helped you make a stronger connection with the firm?
Reception dinners were difficult because there are so many and they are usually at the same time. I tried to attend as many as I could though, and would leave some early to go to another.

At the end of the day, you have to prioritize the firms you are most interested in. However, your view of the firms can change as you learn more through the process, and so you want to be careful not to tell another firm you will be there and then not show up.

What was the average wait time to hear back from employers after the first interview?
It varied. Some were same day and others took a couple of weeks.

What one piece of advice would you give to a rising 2L regarding OCI?
The process can get kind of crazy and you end up running from one interview to another, and get kind of tired of hearing yourself saying the same thing over and over. I think it’s important to remember that this is the first time the interviewers are hearing your story and so you want to make sure you put the same energy into it.

I also think it’s important to remember that the interviewers are very driven, successful people who have taken time out of their day to come interview you, whether they are from your top choice or bottom choice. Therefore, you want to be careful to treat everyone with the same level of respect and not appear uninterested in their firm. The legal markets are also very small worlds even in cities the size of Houston, and attorneys change firms quite a bit. So even if you don’t really need the job the person is interviewing for now, you never know if you might in the future and so making a bad impression can be very damaging.

What one piece of advice would you give to a rising 2L who may need to look outside of OCI to find a summer clerkship?
Network, network, network.

One final thought: one of the best pieces of advice I received when going through the OCI process was to have a good “interests” section on my resume. Try to think of something that is interesting and unique to you that other students would not have on their resumes, and that you can talk about for the entire interview if necessary. (I talked about mine in 99% of the on-campus and callback interviews I did, and in several interviews that was literally all that we talked about.) For example, while you may be really into “running,” there is not much you can say about the subject and so that is probably not going to help you very much in your interviews. “Sports” is another tough one because it is on so many resumes. I would also have a go-to story about the subject that you can tell if it is brought up. The more time you can spend talking about the subject, the less likely you are to face the loathsome “So do you have any other questions about the firm I can answer for you?”

10 Ways To Make a Positive Lasting Impression This Summer

Mary Crane (www.marycrane.com), who conducts our 1L Etiquette Dinners, recently posted this in her June 2015 enewsletter.

About a month ago, you made your first foray into the world of professional work. Odds are that you made a great first impression. Use the next month to build a lasting impression that will lead to a job offer by focusing on the following best practices:

1. Show initiative

By now, you’ve received loads of assignments. Don’t make the mistake of turning in a project and then waiting for someone to approach you with a next task. Instead, actively seek out your next challenge.

If you haven’t yet had the opportunity to tackle work in a particular practice area or department, take initiative and speak to the folks in recruiting. They may or may not be able to adjust your role, but they can’t even know of your interest unless you express it.

The same principle applies with regards to people you might wish to meet this summer. If you haven’t yet had the opportunity to meet with the head of a department or practice group, email a meeting request today.

2. View every assignment as an opportunity

While some assignments are inherently more critical than others, every assignment gives you the opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge, skills, and commitment to excellence. No matter how minor an assignment may appear to be, give it your maximum effort. When a partner says they need a “draft,” employ the same care, diligence, and thoroughness that you would use for a “client ready” task.

3. Keep and maintain a project list

Record every assignment you receive on a designated project list. With each entry add notes regarding issues that arose, people who helped you tackle the project, and the amount of time the assignment required.

Project lists can become absolutely invaluable. Throughout the summer, your list can help you estimate the amount of time any new assignment should require. If you become over-assigned, sharing your list with a mentor can help the two of you prioritize projects. And once the summer ends, your project list becomes a reference tool you can use to update your résumé.

4. Speak up

Make a commitment to say something at every meeting to which you are invited. You don’t need to make a detailed presentation regarding some arcane point of law or finance. However, you do need to demonstrate your active interest and involvement in the meeting and its purpose.

Silence may be golden, but no one can appreciate your talents and abilities if you don’t actively participate in meetings.

5. Show interest

Show an interest in everyone and everything connected with work. To the extent you show a genuine interest in others, you will find that others—the hiring committee, your supervisors, and your coworkers—will be more interested in helping you succeed.

Don’t forget to show an interest in individual clients, too. Someone with whom you work likely has spent an inordinate amount of time landing the client or servicing him or her on a day-to-day basis. Your expression of interest may create a tie that binds.

6. Request feedback and respond

Ask for feedback often. Be prepared to hear that you need to show some improvement. View this constructive feedback as particularly valuable . . . because it is. No supervisor provides feedback unless they view you as someone who can learn and grow into a particular role. If a supervisor tells you that your writing or presentation skills require improvement, call your favorite recruiter immediately and find someone who can coach you to success.

7. Own up to mistakes

Everyone makes mistakes. It’s part of the learning process. When you make a mistake, own up to it immediately. Ideally, at the same time you explain your mistake to your supervisor, provide a proposed solution. Whatever you do, please do not lie about a mistake or attempt to cover it up. History is replete with examples in which a cover-up proved more costly than the original error.

8. Speak positively

Find positive things to say about every assignment you receive, every person with whom you work, every training program you attend, and every social event to which you are invited. Employers quickly tire of whiners and complainers. Everyone likes being associated with positive people.

9. Avoid becoming too comfortable

Your time as a summer associate or intern is really a two-and-a-half-month interview. So don’t let your guard down now. Arrive at work early and stay late. Dress professionally whenever you’re in the office, including during the weekends. Use business appropriate language in all of your communications. Be polite and courteousalways.

10. Say “thank you”

Express your gratitude for acts big and small. It will cost you nothing, and it will position you as someone who focuses on others rather than on self. Additionally, a whole body of science indicates that people who are grateful experience more positive emotions, feel more alive, sleep better, and even have stronger immune systems. They express greater satisfaction with their lives both at home and at work. And here’s what’s really interesting: these benefits multiply when gratitude is expressed.

McKinsey & Company Receptions in Chicago, New York and DC; Free Webinars

McKinsey & Company, a global management consulting firm, has been hiring advanced professional degree candidates for more than 20 years. If you are a rising 2L or 3L and would like to learn more about a career alternative that will stimulate and challenge you, along with the opportunity to work with highly motivated colleagues in a supportive, team-based environment, you may register for the following events:
NY Summer Law Reception: June 11, 2015
McKinsey & Company
55 E 52nd St, NY, NY 10022
Women’s Cocktail: 6 – 6:30 p.m.
General Law Reception: 6:30-8 p.m.

D.C. Summer Law Reception: June 18, 2015
Brasserie Beck
1101 K St NW, Washington, DC 20005
Women’s Cocktail: 6 – 6:30 p.m.
General Law Reception: 6:30-8 p.m.

Chicago Summer Law Reception: June 18, 2015
McKinsey & Company
300 E Randolph St #3100, Chicago, IL 60601
General Law Reception: 6:00-8 p.m.
 
If you cannot attend the above in-person events, you may register for the following informational webinars:Law WebEx: Tuesday, June 9, 2015
Time: 8 p.m. ET
Logistics: Login details will sent the day of the event

Law WebEx: Wednesday, July 8, 2015
Time: 8 p.m.  ET
Logistics: Login details will be sent the day of the event

Please visit the McKinney website to learn more about out opportunities.

 

The Boston Consulting Group JD Receptions in Dallas, Chicago, New York and D.C.

Whether you are a current student or recently graduated, if you are interested in learning more about The Boston Consulting Group, please join them at various receptions throughout the summer to meet BCGers who have leveraged their JD degrees as management consultants. These receptions have a business casual dress code.

Washington, DC | Urbana Restaurant
Monday, June 8 from 6:00-8:00 p.m.
Urbana 2121 P Street N.W | Washington, DC 20037
Please RSVP using this link: https://talent.bcg.com/Events?folderId=10003816

Dallas, TX | BCG Dallas Office
Wednesday, June 10 from 6:00-8:00 p.m.
BCG Dallas Office 2501 N. Harwood Street #2200 | Dallas, TX 75201
Please RSVP using this link: https://talent.bcg.com/Events?folderId=10003813

Chicago, IL | BCG Chicago Office
Monday, June 22 from 6:00-8:00 p.m.
BCG Chicago Office 300 N. LaSalle Street | Chicago, IL 60654
Please RSVP using this link: https://talent.bcg.com/Events?folderId=10003815

New York City | The Smith Midtown
Tuesday, July 7 from 6:00-8:00 p.m.
The Smith Midtown 956 2nd Ave | New York, NY 10022
Please RSVP using this link: https://talent.bcg.com/Events?folderId=10003814

If you have any questions, please contact bosadc.recruiting@bcg.com.

8 Questions That Will Help You Land A Job

Mary Crane (www.marycrane.com), who conducts our 1L Etiquette Dinners, recently posted this in her May 2015 enewsletter.

Too many summer associates and interns make the mistake of believing that they only need to produce quality work to land a job offer. Make note: In today’s competitive work environment, turning in a first-rate assignment earns little more than a “meets expectations” evaluation. To receive a coveted job offer, summer associates and interns must also establish relationships with professionals at every level in an organization.

If you’ve just begun work, don’t worry. Every employer I know has planned lots of opportunities for you to meet with a variety of people in your firm or corporation. When you do, request permission to set aside 10 to 15 minutes to ask a few questions of your own. Then use the following eight relationship-building inquiries to guide your conversation.

#1 How do you spend your time?

Make this inquiry for three different reasons:

First, this question helps you clarify and confirm the role the individual plays within the organization. If you’ve never stepped inside a law firm before, you may not know what a Chief Marketing Officer does and why the role is critically important.

Second, this question helps you develop a clear understanding of day-to-day work expectations. Learning that an entry-level financial analyst frequently spends 70 hours or more per week creating complex financial models may or may not be consistent with the work-life balance you hope to achieve.

Third, the answer contains important information that you can use to follow up and demonstrate your genuine interest in the professional and his or her work. Let’s say a partner tells you that she currently spends an inordinate amount of time assuring a particular client that proposed regulations are unlikely to move forward. After the meeting, you can create a Google Alert about the regulations. As soon as you receive notification of some development, you can share the information with the partner, thereby showing your interest.
#2 Is this what you thought you’d be doing every day?

You may think that most professionals follow a clear roadmap as they advance in their careers—they start at A, move to B, and eventually advance to R, S, and T. But today, nearly every successful professional engages in a nonstop game of chutes and ladders. They start in one position, often move sideways, and periodically slide on a diagonal. Sometimes they even go backward before they move forward again.

This question elicits the professional journey people have taken. Ask this question if for no other reason than most professionals love to share their stories. Many of the responses you receive will be filled with funny anecdotes about obstacles encountered and approaches tried. You will likely hear about career transitions currently unimaginable to you.

 

#3 What are you most proud of?

Everyone likes the opportunity to toot his or her own horn. Give the people with whom you meet this chance. Let them talk about a victory they snatched out of the jaws of defeat, or the biggest deal they closed, or the time they helped someone who was flailing at work become a proven performer.

 

#4 What weaknesses have you discovered?

This question helps you identify a respondent’s ability to self-reflect.

Professionals who actively think about their day-to-day work experiences—especially errors made in judgment or understanding—begin to comprehend the underlying causes of their success or failure. This knowledge allows them to consciously change behaviors instead of repeating mistakes.

When someone indicates that he has no weaknesses (or is unaware of them), do a quick check to confirm whether he’s joking. If he appears to be serious, you’ve likely found someone who is not good at self-reflection. Keep this in mind during future meetings.

As soon as someone cites a specific weakness, fine tune your ears and listen carefully. This professional is affording you the opportunity to learn from his experience.
#5 Are there organizations that I should join?

If you’re a member of the Millennial generation, you know more about social networking than I ever will. While social networks are great, never underestimate the importance of connecting face-to-face.

Virtually every industry and profession has organizations and conferences where like-minded people connect. Use this question to discern those groups and events that are most worthwhile. You may even learn how to get on the inside track and quickly become a rising star.
#6 Who else should I connect with?

Your summer work experience will move at the speed of light. Absent the insights of seasoned professionals, you risk missing out on some potentially transformative conversations. Use each conversation to help you strategically plan your next one.
Finally, whenever you encounter a specific obstacle or challenge, feel free to ask, # 7 What would you do if you were me?

And before any one of your conversations ends, don’t hesitate to ask #8, I appreciate the time you’ve given me. Is there anything I can do for you? This closing will help you end the meeting on an especially high note. It demonstrates your intent to build mutually beneficial relationships, an outlook valued by today’s employers.

Upcoming 2L Government Honors Deadlines

The following government programs have 2L deadlines coming up in the next few weeks.  Details of these programs are provided in the 2014-15 Government Honors & Internship Handbook.

Fall 2015

  • Health & Human Services – Departmental Appeals Board Volunteer Internship/Externship Program (Unpaid, Deadline 05/29/15)
  • Health & Human Services – Centers for Disease Control & Prevention Public Health Law Internships & Externships (Unpaid, Deadline 05/31/15)
  • Equal Employment Opportunity Commission – Chicago District Office Volunteer Legal Intern Program (Chicago Unit) (Unpaid, Deadline 06/01/15)
  • Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office – Volunteer Law Internship Program (Unpaid, Deadline 06/01/15)
  • Environmental Protection Agency – R3 Law Clerk Program (Unpaid, Deadline 06/15/15)
  • House of Representatives – Committee on the Judiciary Majority Office Intern Program (Unpaid, Deadline 06/15/15)
  • Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office – Volunteer and Certified Law Student Internship (Unpaid, Deadline 06/15/15)

Spring 2016

  • Department of the Interior – Office of the Solicitor Legal Internship/Externship Program (Unpaid, Deadline 06/01/15)

Programs with “Rolling Deadlines” review applications and fill positions on an ongoing basis, so apply early for these programs.

If you have any questions about government honors programs, please contact Denyse Demel, Government Career Counselor, at ddemel@law.utexas.edu.

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