The University of Texas at Austin   School of Law

Main menu:

1L Career Planning Timeline

As an incoming first-year law student (1L), you might believe that your legal career will begin when you graduate and receive your JD. In truth, your career has already begun. All of your class work, extracurricular activities, community service, and work experience you already have and will acquire during law school will shape your career.

The Career Services Office (CSO) looks forward to assisting you with your career goals by informing you of career options, providing job search strategies and resources, and connecting you with potential employers. With experienced counselors and a dedicated staff, the CSO offers one-on-one career counseling, presents three on-campus interview programs and nearly 30 off-campus recruitment programs, publishes career development handbooks, maintains an online resource library, coordinates professional development workshops and panels featuring attorneys in a variety of settings, and hosts several networking receptions throughout the year.

In accordance with the National Association for Law Placement (NALP), the association for legal career professionals comprised of law schools and legal employers, 1Ls may not meet with the CSO until October 15. In late October, the CSO conducts a mandatory 1L Orientation and Resume Workshop with each 1L Section to provide an introduction to the resources available from the CSO. The workshop will include a brief overview of resumes and cover letters to assist you in updating your materials prior to your initial meeting with a career counselor.

Additionally, law schools and legal employers want you to be able to focus on your first semester of law school before beginning your job search. For this reason, NALP Principles and Standards for Law Placement and Recruitment Activities discourage 1Ls from sending out resumes until December 1 of their first year. However, you may attend all panels, workshops and table talks offered by the CSO when school begins.

Fall Timeline for 1Ls

  • Focus on developing strong study skills during your first semester of law school.
  • Sign up for and read CSO Law Mail.
  • We encourage to subscribe to the CSO Blog RSS feed. You may also follow us on Twitter ( @UTLawCSO.
  • Establish a rapport with your professors as they are an important resource, especially when applying for judicial clerkships or public interest fellowships.
  • Join UT Law student organizations that share your career interests including the Action Committee for Career Services, which is sponsored by the CSO.
  • Attend one of the 1L Orientation and Career Development Workshops, as well as the 1L Resume Workshops. Mentor societies will be notified about the workshops in mid-October.
  • Starting October 15, you may see a career counselor for resume and cover letter reviews. You will be given full access to UT Law Symplicity and can begin perform downloads at no cost from the NALP Directory of Legal Employers.
  • Attend the Cocktails & Conversation Mentor Reception to network with UT Law alumni and friends. Prior to the reception, you may also want to attend Speed Networking. You may RSVP on UT Law Symplicity by selecting the "Events" tab.
  • Upload a copy of your resume and cover letter onto UT Law Symplicity by selecting the [Documents] tab and following instructions. Familiarize yourself with the resources available on the CSO website as well as in the CSO eLibrary.
  • If interested in the private sector, research law firms through the NALP Directory of Legal Employers (see NALP First-Year Hiring Index), LexisNexis or and prepare a targeted mailing to firms where you would like to work in the summer.
  • On or after December 1, contact employers about summer employment. Determine the employers you wish to contact by checking the job bank on UT Law Symplicity, NALP Directory of Legal Employers, and other resources available on the CSO website.
  • Follow-up on letters/resumes you sent to employers with an email or phone call after a week or so, as you may be able to schedule interviews over the winter break.
  • Consider applying for internships in the judicial, government and public interest sectors. Remember, many of these will be volunteer opportunities but there are several funding options available to students, and the legal work experience is nonetheless valuable even if not paid.

Spring Timeline for 1Ls

  • If you did not do so in the fall, and are interested in the private sector, research law firms through the NALP Directory of Legal Employers (see NALP First-Year Hiring Index), LexisNexis or and prepare a targeted mailing to firms where you would like to work in the summer.
  • Attend CSO professional development panels and workshops. You may RSVP on UT Law Symplicity by selecting the "Events" tab.
  • Consider receiving academic credit for government, judicial internships, and nonprofit internships.
  • If you are interested in working in the public sector during the summer, apply for a Texas Law Fellowship.
  • Participate in the CSO’s Mock Interview Program, which will take place in early spring.
  • Participate in Public Service Career Fair, Spring OCI, and/or off-campus recruitment programs.
  • If possible, try to gain legal experience over the summer. In addition to clerkships and internships, other summer options include volunteering on a pro bono project, participating in an international study program, working as a research assistant or attending summer school.
  • Continue to search the job bank on UT Law Symplicity as smaller firms continue to hire throughout the year.
  • If you have accepted summer employment, be sure to notify us during the CSO Study Break or complete your summer placement form on UT Law Symplicity .

Go to Summer Timeline for Rising 2Ls