Unlocking 1L SAs

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UVA2B
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Unlocking 1L SAs

Post by UVA2B » Tue Apr 17, 2018 12:01 am

Have you ever heard how 1L SAs are unattainable? That they are random and you can't plan on getting one? Well, I hate to break it to you, but that's mostly right. Getting a market-paying gig at a big firm in the market you want is tough sledding from pretty much any law school as a 1L. But that doesn't mean it's impossible. Depending on the market you want, and depending on how well you navigate the job search, you can position yourself to get a really good 1L SA that will hopefully result in an offer to come back as a 2L SA. Even if you don't end up at the same firm for a 2L SA or as an associate, the experience will be invaluable for anyone wanting to indoctrinate themselves into the big firm culture (to the extent one firm's culture can be attributable to big law firms generally).

Texas 1L SA guide (really important if you're focused on TX)

This guide guarantees no success, and it's heavily dependent on more factors than I can reasonably put into a generic guide for finding a 1L SA, but hopefully the advice I provide will act as bowling lane bumper rails for guiding the process some of you will eventually embark on.

Timing
You'll find out in your 1L fall semester that you can't be in contact with employers until December 1st of that semester. More than likely, your school will start advertising both public and private sector positions available on symplicity around the middle of November. And you should have your application materials ready well before any of those dates. You will have perfected your resume, generated a mail merge-compatible cover letter (if you've never used mail merge with excel docs, here is a tutorial. This will save you unbelievable amounts of time when you're mass mailing), and you will have generated the corresponding spreadsheets for that mail merge that can generate all of the cover letters you'll need to send out when you apply to the markets where you're applying.

Somewhat depending on the market, you'll want to start applying/mass mailing on December 1st. Texas firms are the biggest "offenders" for using rolling interview schedules, so applying even 2-3 days late could make a material difference in whether 1L positions are even available. Other markets will move slower, but the point is, the early bird always tends to get the worm when positions are scarce. So the earlier you apply, the more likely you'll be successful.

"But I won't even have grades yet!" I know. I hear you. It doesn't always make sense. But hiring decisions don't always make sense either. When you're fighting for the relative few positions available, being on top of applying can only help. Even if the firm responds that they've received your application and they wish to be updated once you have grades available, you're at least showing initiative. This will also be during the crunch of finals, and you shouldn't sacrifice too much focus on applying for jobs instead of studying for finals. Your best bet is to focus on studying, but if you ever need a break from outlining or reviewing notes, spend some time sending out applications. It's all a hectic balancing act, but the rote motions of sending off application materials to law firms can be a welcome reprieve from studying. The catharsis around remembering you came to law school with the purpose of getting a job can be powerful (or at least it was for me).

After you've sent off all of your applications in all of the markets that interest you/you have ties to, it's unfortunately a waiting game laced with rejections and radio silence. Depending on your profile (law school, GPA when it becomes available, resume, market), you could easily send off 100 applications or more and only get a single bite (or none at all) for a screening interview. You'll want to maximize your availability during the late December/early January timeframe, because IF a firm decides to do a screening interview with you, you want to jump on it, and if that goes well, you'll want to be ready to travel to that market at the drop of a hat. Don't plan any trips to Spain or Australia just because you want to celebrate being done with your first semester of law school. Keep your eye on the prize, which is a job.

Credentials
I couldn't go much longer without acknowledging this, because it will matter. You will need stellar credentials. That means some mixture of prestigious law school, great grades, impressive resume, ties to the market, and ability to convince the firm you're worth bringing on as a 1L. This doesn't mean that a Harvard 1L will always be chosen over a UCLA 1L for a 1L SA in LA simply because they go to Harvard, but the Harvard 1L will be "winning" over the UCLA applicant until everything else is considered. So if you're born and raised LA and decided to go to Harvard and do well at Harvard, you're starting off on the better foot over the person who came to UCLA from TX wanting LA who also does comparatively well (I apologize to anyone experienced who thinks this is overly broad, but generic guides are kind of hard from the outset).

Ideally, anyone reading this has already set in stone their law school, resume, and ties to the markets they're applying, but for those who haven't, please appreciate something here: higher ranked law school doesn't automatically mean you're winning this rat race. If you decide to pay sticker at Penn, thinking you want to end up back in SLC, you might get beat out for a job by someone more impressive from BYU or Utah (as an illustration). Don't expect that your law school alone will automatically make you successful in your non-major market. And understand that there will be no shortage of impressive law students applying to the major market 1L SAs.

Apply Broadly
This goes back to the first point, but it bears repeating: you don't get to be picky. If you could remotely imagine yourself in that market, you apply to firms in that market. You apply to every. single. firm. If they do any of the work that might interest you, you send them an application. Think of it like buying more lottery tickets free of charge.

If you want to learn more about researching firms in the markets that interest you, here is a guide I wrote on researching firms on NALP and Chambers & Partners.

Diversity Hiring
This is a huge portion of 1L SA hiring, and it's meant to increase the diversity of the workplace in otherwise poorly diverse workplaces, but some firms define diversity much more broadly than law school admissions will define diversity. If you're a more traditional form of diversity (such as race or sexual orientation), then you need to be applying to every diversity position available. But some firms will attach a much broader definition of diversity, so feel free to apply to those positions if you don't feel like you fall into more traditional forms of diversity. You'll want to read each diversity job posting before you apply, and where you can, use your particular diversity (gender, socioeconomic status, first generation citizen, veteran, etc.) to bring diversity to the firm to put your application in front of the firm. In terms of applying to jobs, always make the employer say no. Don't say no to yourself.

Specific practice areas hiring 1Ls?
There are practice areas that hire more 1Ls, so that should be appreciated. This should also fit within the previous discussion of diversity hiring, because generally law firms are hiring based on hiring needs and and diversity of personal and practice area. If you're in patent practice, you're more likely to be eligible for a 1L SA. If you're from a diverse background, you're more likely to be eligible for 1L SA positions. This is heavily dependent on the market, the firm, and their hiring practices, but it remains true that firms will change hiring decisions based on these types of considerations.

What if I might miss out on an SA?
This point is especially important: you need a backup plan. There is no guarantee you'll land a 1L SA. Whether you're planning on RAing for a professor, or interning for a judge or prosecutors office, or doing something with the federal government, you need less competitive (or at least unpaid) jobs as a backup. You might find yourself lucky enough to get a 1L SA, but if you miss out, you'll want substantive experience in a field of law that interests you.

I didn't get a 1L SA, what now?

Relax. Not everyone can get a 1L SA, and separately, not everyone needs to want one. They are, by nature, very competitive. Even at the most elite law schools, maybe a quarter of the class will have a 1L SA opportunity. When supply so far outpaces demand in the market, those positions are naturally going to be at a premium. So if you end up doing something else, such as working for the government, interning for a judge, or even RAing for a professor, you can still get a job in a law firm for a 2L SA, where the supply gets closer to demand. The bigger narrative point here is important: every job you take should speak to your ultimate career objectives. If you want to be a civil litigator, consider interning for a trial court judge (preferably federal for sophistication of the legal arguments generally, but trial court is trial court, so anything is better than nothing) or interning for a USAO or DA/PD office or a nonprofit providing litigation services to indigent parts of the population. If you think corporate is more your goal, seek out those in-house intern positions or possibly intern for the SEC, FTC, etc. where you can see the regulatory side to the areas of law that interest you. Get something on your resume that the ultimate employers you want to work for will find interesting, relevant for their practice area, and persuasive that you're committed to working in that practice area. Not enough law students truly appreciate what it means to have a career narrative, but there is a reason why some people get better outcomes than you might otherwise expect: they've crafted a resume that makes it easy to understand why they're applying for the jobs they want and tells a potential employer they would be a person worth hiring. You do that by making career decisions that populates your resume and crafts that narrative. So while a 1L SA is a fantastic opportunity, pays well, and can be a part of the narrative you're crafting, realize that your career is a choose your own adventure ride, and only you can determine if the particular job you're going after fits into the narrative you're trying to create.

Questions?
Everything here is hopelessly generic, but that's kind of the point. If you have specific questions, you should bring them here, and hopefully the community will offer answers. I can't promise anything beyond promising to answer questions within my purview.

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HelloYesThisIsDog
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Re: Unlocking 1L SAs

Post by HelloYesThisIsDog » Tue Apr 17, 2018 1:03 am

Good job UVA.

I'd probably add a few more caveats that 1L SAs aren't the end-all be-all of 1L summer jobs. If you don't want biglaw, you probably shouldn't do one. Even if you want biglaw, these are hard to get and there are other good government opportunities that are competitive and may still look good for OCI.

I don't want 0Ls and 1Ls to get a warped sense of the benchmarks for success in their 1L year if they don't get one of these (and 95%+ won't get one).

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Re: Unlocking 1L SAs

Post by NourishAndStrengthen » Tue Apr 17, 2018 1:42 am

How much does work experience factor into getting a 1L SA?

Starting this Fall at a T13, worked at a law firm in undergrad and worked in litigation consulting. Would that help give me a leg up if my grades were average?

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Re: Unlocking 1L SAs

Post by beep » Tue Apr 17, 2018 3:35 am

Nice guide. Just from my perspective having reviewed 1L candidates, all the parts I'm familiar with seem correct. I'll add as anecdata re grades that since it's only a semester of grades I haven't seen people putting as much stock in them compared to 2L candidates, unless they are very bad or very good. But I'd guess that will vary a lot firm to firm.

I'll also say having reviewed a bunch of 2L resumes at this point that folks should also look at boutiques and the more reputable / respected plaintiff's firms for 1L SAs. I've been surprised at the number of resumes coming through with SAs at firms I had no idea even hired 1Ls given the size of the firm, and from non-diverse candidates (though much more common on HYS resumes). And I would guess you'll get a way better experience of what the work is like compared to an SA at a more traditional biglaw firm.

Re: litigation consulting: solid job experience like that is a general plus in legal hiring and people often do see it as a tangible benefit over otherwise roughly equal candidates, but grades are still grades and I don't think any work experience less than like Olympic athlete probably makes up for a non competitive GPA.

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Re: Unlocking 1L SAs

Post by UVA2B » Tue Apr 17, 2018 9:01 am

HelloYesThisIsDog wrote:
Tue Apr 17, 2018 1:03 am
Good job UVA.

I'd probably add a few more caveats that 1L SAs aren't the end-all be-all of 1L summer jobs. If you don't want biglaw, you probably shouldn't do one. Even if you want biglaw, these are hard to get and there are other good government opportunities that are competitive and may still look good for OCI.

I don't want 0Ls and 1Ls to get a warped sense of the benchmarks for success in their 1L year if they don't get one of these (and 95%+ won't get one).
That’s a great point. I’ll edit the OP with a “what if it doesn’t work out?” section.

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Re: Unlocking 1L SAs

Post by learnedhairyhand » Tue May 01, 2018 12:10 am

NourishAndStrengthen wrote:
Tue Apr 17, 2018 1:42 am
How much does work experience factor into getting a 1L SA?

Starting this Fall at a T13, worked at a law firm in undergrad and worked in litigation consulting. Would that help give me a leg up if my grades were average?
I can only speak from my own experience but being able to "speak the language" during interviews for 1L SA's was a big plus. Interviewers routinely gave me credit for making an informed decision to go to law school and pursue big law. But I don't think it'll make up for average grades. I would not have gotten in the door without good grades.

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Re: Unlocking 1L SAs

Post by waldorf » Fri May 04, 2018 12:09 am

Great guide UVA! I wish I had read this last August.

Just to add something small - the Texas market [Houston, Dallas, Austin - which has fewer positions but I mention it regardless] actually does hire a fair amount of 1Ls for non-diversity programs. It's still incredibly competitive, but you don't have *no* shot as a non-diverse candidate who is not first in their class. I share this just because I targeted Texas and operating under the belief that I had to attend Harvard, be first in my class, or be racially diverse in order to get a 1L SA, I almost didn't apply.

Also, apply December 1. And attend the winter receptions if your target market hosts them!

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Re: Unlocking 1L SAs

Post by UVA2B » Fri May 04, 2018 12:20 am

waldorf wrote:
Fri May 04, 2018 12:09 am
Great guide UVA! I wish I had read this last August.

Just to add something small - the Texas market [Houston, Dallas, Austin - which has fewer positions but I mention it regardless] actually does hire a fair amount of 1Ls for non-diversity programs. It's still incredibly competitive, but you don't have *no* shot as a non-diverse candidate who is not first in their class. I share this just because I targeted Texas and operating under the belief that I had to attend Harvard, be first in my class, or be racially diverse in order to get a 1L SA, I almost didn't apply.

Also, apply December 1. And attend the winter receptions if your target market hosts them!
Thanks, and I'm glad you found success in TX! You can probably speak at length about finding success in the rolling interview schedule in TX by applying Dec. 1st.

I didn't mean to over-suggest that 1L SAs are rare, but just want to temper expectations about whether a 1L SA is realistic in X market from X school. I'm obviously speaking in generalities that can't point to specific chances of a 1L SA, so all I hope to do is equip people wanting a 1L SA with advice that will help them strive for those jobs. You managed to get a really great outcome in a market your school doesn't place substantially in, which is really helpful in itself in providing advice.

In fact, your experience as a "T20" student targeting a market outside of your school's main markets will be immensely helpful, so I really hope you continue paying it forward (after you continue killing it in law school, of course).

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Re: Unlocking 1L SAs

Post by FrogNToad » Fri May 04, 2018 6:06 pm

NourishAndStrengthen wrote:
Tue Apr 17, 2018 1:42 am
How much does work experience factor into getting a 1L SA?

Starting this Fall at a T13, worked at a law firm in undergrad and worked in litigation consulting. Would that help give me a leg up if my grades were average?
A few years of experience relevant to your practice area will help, but will come after grades and diversity considerations (where applicable).

At the end of the day, it's a crap shoot. What helps the most is being geographically flexible and having grades.

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Re: Unlocking 1L SAs

Post by waldorf » Fri May 04, 2018 10:04 pm

UVA2B wrote:
Fri May 04, 2018 12:20 am
waldorf wrote:
Fri May 04, 2018 12:09 am
Great guide UVA! I wish I had read this last August.

Just to add something small - the Texas market [Houston, Dallas, Austin - which has fewer positions but I mention it regardless] actually does hire a fair amount of 1Ls for non-diversity programs. It's still incredibly competitive, but you don't have *no* shot as a non-diverse candidate who is not first in their class. I share this just because I targeted Texas and operating under the belief that I had to attend Harvard, be first in my class, or be racially diverse in order to get a 1L SA, I almost didn't apply.

Also, apply December 1. And attend the winter receptions if your target market hosts them!
Thanks, and I'm glad you found success in TX! You can probably speak at length about finding success in the rolling interview schedule in TX by applying Dec. 1st.

I didn't mean to over-suggest that 1L SAs are rare, but just want to temper expectations about whether a 1L SA is realistic in X market from X school. I'm obviously speaking in generalities that can't point to specific chances of a 1L SA, so all I hope to do is equip people wanting a 1L SA with advice that will help them strive for those jobs. You managed to get a really great outcome in a market your school doesn't place substantially in, which is really helpful in itself in providing advice.

In fact, your experience as a "T20" student targeting a market outside of your school's main markets will be immensely helpful, so I really hope you continue paying it forward (after you continue killing it in law school, of course).
Oh yeah, it's definitely very, very competitive to get any 1L SA at all and people definitely shouldn't bank on it no matter where they are - so I think your post was spot on! I just found that Texas hires substantially more 1Ls outside of diversity programs than other markets I'm familiar with, and I probably wouldn't have applied at all had I not known that since I am not racially diverse - so I'm glad I found that out. BUT it's still very competitive and again, not something anyone should bank on.

But yeah, I'm always happy to answer questions about Texas generally, the rolling interview schedule for 1L SAs [seriously, apply Dec. 1, especially if you're applying to TX markets] and how to make the most of your time between 12/1 and grades coming out, and targeting TX from a midwestern T20 without substantial ties. I'm only a 1L though so.. I will answer to the best of my ability regarding my experience but will point people in another, better direction for questions beyond what I can help with.

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Re: Unlocking 1L SAs

Post by NukinFutz » Mon May 07, 2018 4:04 am

Great thread. Thanks UVA2, much appreciated!

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Re: Unlocking 1L SAs

Post by AlbertParsons » Wed May 16, 2018 7:34 pm

This is super helpful. I was thinking of having things edited so I didn't have to worry about it during the school year. So this might be a silly question, but are big law cover letters substantially different? Are there any examples folks can provide? Also, do folks think I will run into issues by having a heavy PI resume?

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Re: Unlocking 1L SAs

Post by UVA2B » Wed May 16, 2018 8:01 pm

AlbertParsons wrote:
Wed May 16, 2018 7:34 pm
This is super helpful. I was thinking of having things edited so I didn't have to worry about it during the school year. So this might be a silly question, but are big law cover letters substantially different? Are there any examples folks can provide? Also, do folks think I will run into issues by having a heavy PI resume?
You could try to get things done in advance, but it's entirely likely your career services will want to see your resume and cover letter in their preferred format. Early in the semester there will probably be workshops with career services on resume construction and cover letter drafting. Then, if you have good career services, you'll do your best in their format and submit to your counselor, who will edit it and clean it up to make it the best they can make it.

Resume and cover letter construction won't take that much time when compared to the amount of studying you'll be doing. I don't think you're saving yourself as much time as you think by trying to get it done in advance of law school, especially if/when career services insists you use their format.

As for legal cover letters, they're probably not that dissimilar from other industries. They usually look something like this (this is completely unformatted, so just accept I'm just describing the order]:

[Header with your contact info]

[date and employer contact info]

[salutation]

[brief intro and explanation of what you're applying for, why you're applying for that job with that firm, and describing ties to that office/market]

[paragraph describing some strength you have that you can bring to the firm with an illustration of that strength]

[paragraph describing a different strength you have that you can bring to the firm with an illustration of that strength]

[concluding paragraph that reasserts your interest and your availability if they wish to arrange an interview]

[concluding salutation]

On your final question: it might, but that doesn't mean it will. Having a bunch of PI experience on your resume may be a slight detractor when compared to someone with substantial relevant work experience. But that will be a relatively small factor when compared to everything else (grades, school, ties, compelling resume and cover letter narrative that fits with what you're applying for).

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Re: Unlocking 1L SAs

Post by emkay625 » Wed May 16, 2018 8:34 pm

Y'alls career service made you use a standardized format? Ours did not. They offered feedback, etc. But there was no standard template or formatting rules or anything everyone was required to use.

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Re: Unlocking 1L SAs

Post by UVA2B » Wed May 16, 2018 8:36 pm

emkay625 wrote:
Wed May 16, 2018 8:34 pm
Y'alls career service made you use a standardized format? Ours did not. They offered feedback, etc. But there was no standard template or formatting rules or anything everyone was required to use.
Hmm, I suppose it wasn't "required," but counseling on formatting and editing was conditioned on using a format they approved of. It wasn't as onerous as it otherwise may seem in reading that requirement.

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Re: Unlocking 1L SAs

Post by emkay625 » Wed May 16, 2018 8:37 pm

Also want to echo the thoughts above about Texas. Many, many Texas firms hire non-diverse 1L SAs.

That being said, ties to Texas are important for snagging one. The firms guard against people who just want a 1L SA and then plan to head to NYC/SF/DC 2L summer.

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Re: Unlocking 1L SAs

Post by emkay625 » Wed May 16, 2018 8:38 pm

UVA2B wrote:
Wed May 16, 2018 8:36 pm
emkay625 wrote:
Wed May 16, 2018 8:34 pm
Y'alls career service made you use a standardized format? Ours did not. They offered feedback, etc. But there was no standard template or formatting rules or anything everyone was required to use.
Hmm, I suppose it wasn't "required," but counseling on formatting and editing was conditioned on using a format they approved of. It wasn't as onerous as it otherwise may seem in reading that requirement.
Interesting. Ours had samples and such you certainly could use the format of one of those samples if you liked. And they did offer feedback about formatting. But that was it, really.

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Re: Unlocking 1L SAs

Post by UVA2B » Wed May 16, 2018 8:39 pm

emkay625 wrote:
Wed May 16, 2018 8:38 pm
UVA2B wrote:
Wed May 16, 2018 8:36 pm
emkay625 wrote:
Wed May 16, 2018 8:34 pm
Y'alls career service made you use a standardized format? Ours did not. They offered feedback, etc. But there was no standard template or formatting rules or anything everyone was required to use.
Hmm, I suppose it wasn't "required," but counseling on formatting and editing was conditioned on using a format they approved of. It wasn't as onerous as it otherwise may seem in reading that requirement.
Interesting. Ours had samples and such you certainly could use the format of one of those samples if you liked. And they did offer feedback about formatting. But that was it, really.
Did their samples more or less follow the format/style that I outlined above? I can't imagine deviating too much from that general form.

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Re: Unlocking 1L SAs

Post by emkay625 » Wed May 16, 2018 8:43 pm

For cover letters? Yes. I agree with you - that's pretty much how any cover letter for any job should work. Resumes they had several different formats/modes of organization as samples.

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Unlocking 1L SAs in Texas Without Ties

Post by addie1412 » Sat Jun 02, 2018 2:14 pm

Written as a current no-ties 1L SA in Texas.

The following advice applies mostly to Houston/Dallas, with Houston being less ties-sensitive. Austin's a different ballgame, and I didn't target that market.

1. Network early and often. (Mid to late November)

You can't just shoot out applications on December 1st and expect to get any bites if 1) you don't have a Texas home or school address on your resume and 2) you didn't network.

Start mass-emailing associates at firms you're interested in to see if they'd be willing to do a 20-minute phone call. Target associates you have something in common with - preferably that you went to the same law school or the same undergrad. Here's a sample email:

Hi [first name of associate],

I hope you don't mind the email, but I'm a 1L at [law school] this year and am interested in working in Texas after graduation.

I came across your profile recently and noticed that you also graduated from [non-Texas undergrad/law school]. I'm wondering if you might have a brief moment over the next few weeks to talk about your practice and how your career path brought you from [not Texas] to Texas. I'm beginning to explore firms for summer positions, and I'd also love to learn more about your experience at [law firm], specifically.

I'd be happy to call any time at your convenience and would really appreciate any advice you might have.

Thanks for your time,

[your name]

As a last resort, if you can't find many people who went to the same law school or undergrad as you, you could try targetting associates who also seem to be Texas transplants (neither their law school nor undergrad was in Texas) and ask to talk about their experience breaking into the market.

There's a large networking thread back on TLS that I read through for tips drafting my emails (and had probably a 90% response rate), so I'd recommend checking that out if you're still not sure what to write.

When it comes to the phone calls themselves, make sure you have plenty of questions lined up. There's nothing more uncomfortable than awkward silences on a networking call. Also, make sure your questions are genuine. Treat it as a learning experience first and a networking experience second. When 20 minutes are up, give the associate a chance to end the call by saying something like "Well, it's been really great talking to you, but I don't want to take up any more of your time." This shows that you respect their time. They'll either end the call, in which case you thank them for speaking with you, or they'll say something like "No worries, I'm free right now," in which case you can keep talking. If you run out of questions after this point, it's ok to excuse yourself the next time there's a lull in conversation.

At the end of the phone call, if you feel it went pretty well, ask the associate if you can mention that you spoke to them (and all the wonderful things they said about their firm) in your cover letter to that firm. This is of the utmost importance. The associates themselves probably aren't going to have any pull in terms of hiring, but the fact that you reached out to them shows interest in the firm and the market. For the firms I got callbacks with, I had spoken to and referenced several associates in my cover letters.

Shoot everyone you speak to a quick email after the call thanking them again for their time.

Finally, don't forget to network with upperclassmen at your law school who did Texas SAs for 1L summer or will go to Texas for their 2L SA. There were three upperclassmen at my school going to three different Texas firms (all of which invited me for callbacks) who went out of their way to help me out with my applications, showed me their cover letters and suggested little things to mention and even talked me up to recruiting. These students tend to have pretty good relationships with recruiting since they just recently went through the recruiting process.

Apply on December 1st.

I don't care what your school career services office says. I don't care that you're in the midst of studying for finals. It is not ok to apply to Texas firms during winter break.

The standard resume/cover letter advice applies, with a few additional tips:

1. Obviously, do your best to have something unique to say about why you want to work at each firm you're applying to. All those networking calls and talking to upperclassmen can really help here.
2. Again, mention the associates you spoke to, if you've received their permission to do so. Tie these mentions into why you want to work at the firm (see example below).
3. Mention dates over winter break that you'll be in Texas. This is crucial. You should block out a week over your winter break to actually be in Texas. During this week, you should be attending firm receptions and hopefully doing some callbacks. You being willing to physically be in Texas will go far in showing genuine interest and commitment. If you land a callback but it falls outside of the dates you planned on being in Texas, the firm will fly you back.

Here are some sample cover letter components related to these tips:

"I spoke to [associate first and last name] [office - Houston/Dallas] recently, and he told me about the substantive work he was given early on in his career as well as the support and mentoring he received from other members of the firm, who were personally invested in his professional development. This is exactly the kind of experience I'm looking for."

Firms will host "home for the holidays" receptions in Texas, and all the native Texan students looking for 1L SAs will be there. You should be there too. If the firms you're interested in are also hosting January/February receptions at your law school, attending these is not the same. For one, this doesn't show the same level of interest and commitment as actually travelling to Texas. Second, many offers will have been made by the time these spring semester receptions roll around, as Texas moves on an accelerated timeline. For example, my first offer came before Christmas and my second came shortly after New Years.

Have an answer for "Why Texas"/general callback advice. (winter break)

This isn't that difficult, especially in Houston. Don't overthink it, and be honest. Basically, as long as you have a reason beyond just "I want a paid 1L SA but I never plan on returning," you'll be fine. You don't need to talk about how you love energy if you don't know anything about energy. You've got one semester of law school under your belt, so everyone expects you to be pretty much clueless and not have substantive, practice-related reasons for wanting to be in Texas (ex - "I really wanna do midstream m&a").

You just need to be clueless in a self-aware, likable, eager to learn, kind of way. They're looking for moldable talent. It's not important that you convey substantive knowledge of the type of work the firm does so much as a certain type of enthusiastic, go-getter attitude.

All the other standard callback advice applies. Plenty of resources on this, so definitely read up.

If you have an offer in hand but are still waiting on firms (that you'd actually go to over the one you have an offer from), let the other firms know and ask for an expedited decision. (January)

Pretty self explanatory. Be nice and talk about how much you enjoyed your callback and getting to know people at the firm. Then explain that your offer expires in [.] days and you hope to hear back before then. If you receive an offer you'd accept over any others, promptly and politely withdraw your application/decline or cancel any outstanding callbacks. This could open up spots for other students. On a related note, don't be afraid to ask the offering firm for an extension if you need one.

Disclaimer: if you don't go to a T14, firms will most likely want to wait to see your grades before giving you an offer. However, you can still get pre-grades callbacks by following the advice here. If your callback goes well and the firm likes you, you won't necessarily need to be top 5% to land an offer.

Hope this helps! Happy to answer any questions.
Last edited by addie1412 on Wed Dec 12, 2018 6:37 pm, edited 6 times in total.

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UVA2B
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Re: Unlocking 1L SAs in Texas Without Ties

Post by UVA2B » Sat Jun 02, 2018 11:35 pm

I'm late to respond to this, but this is a fantastic treatment of Texas 1L job hunting. I'm going to sticky this unless addie decides she doesn't want to corral TX 1L SA questions.

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pneumonia
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Re: Unlocking 1L SAs in Texas Without Ties

Post by pneumonia » Sun Jun 03, 2018 12:16 am

Great advice.

addie1412
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Re: Unlocking 1L SAs in Texas Without Ties

Post by addie1412 » Sun Jun 03, 2018 2:24 am

UVA2B wrote:
Sat Jun 02, 2018 11:35 pm
I'm late to respond to this, but this is a fantastic treatment of Texas 1L job hunting. I'm going to sticky this unless addie decides she doesn't want to corral TX 1L SA questions.
I'd be glad to corral questions! Lots of people helped me out when I was applying, so I'm happy to pay it forward.

BearCat
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Re: Unlocking 1L SAs in Texas Without Ties

Post by BearCat » Sun Jun 03, 2018 6:00 pm

This is great advice that is not at all limited to Texas 1L SAs. I'd say it applies to every 1L SA.

waldorf
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Re: Unlocking 1L SAs in Texas Without Ties

Post by waldorf » Mon Jun 04, 2018 3:28 pm

Great post! 1L SA in Texas with not great ties (but not zero) - I did everything mentioned by the OP, and it definitely helped a lot. I can't think of anything that I did or wish I would've done that OP didn't mention.

I don't go to a T14, so I only had a few pre-grade callbacks and definitely did not have any offers until grades came out. It's still important to apply December 1st and network substantially before then, though, because I got offers and interviews literally the day I sent my grades in. It's a fast timeline, so if you wait to apply, you might be out of luck - even if you see zero movement until your grades are out.

Also happy to answer questions.

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