While there may be slight variations in how students handle their career search activities during the first year of law school, the suggested timeline below should give you an overview of the process.
Summer Before Law School
- Meet with lawyers who are friends or family members and seek their advice: find out about what kind of law they practice, what they enjoy (and don’t enjoy) about their work, and why they chose to pursue a career in the law.
- Read general information on legal careers. See our recommended reading list for suggestions.
- Pursue an interesting summer job or project. You need not spend the summer working at a job related to the law, or even work this summer. However, it would be great to do something interesting and enjoyable: travel, community service, or an internship.
- RELAX – The first semester of 1L year is very challenging. You should try to go into the fall well-rested.
Fall 1L Year
- Focus on your coursework for the first couple of months, and make sure to keep up with assigned readings.
- Attend OCS and OPIA programs like “Legal Practice Settings” which provide overviews of different career paths.
- Attend the Career Services orientation program and “Acing 1L Interviews” program.
- If you are interested in public interest careers, attend the Office of Public Interest Advising (OPIA) orientation and programs.
- If you are interested in post-graduate judicial clerkships, watch for notice about orientation and other programs.
- In late October, make an appointment to have your resume reviewed and discuss your career goals with an OCS and/or OPIA attorney adviser.
- In late October, review online guidance on resumes and cover letter preparation and practice area overviews.
- In December, you can begin to send out resumes and cover letters to potential summer employers. The National Association of Law Placement, of which Harvard Law School is a member, restricts students and employers from contacting each other before December 1, in order to allow students to focus on their coursework.
Winter/Spring 1L Year
- Continue to send out cover letters and resumes to potential employers using OCS and OPIA job postings and other resources.
- In January, bid for Spring Interview Program and International Summer Employment Program interviews. These programs take place in late January/early February.
- Conduct any call-back interviews resulting from cover letters you mailed out in December and on-campus interviewing. OCS Advisors are available to help you prepare for interviews.
- Attend the 1L Judicial Clerkship Orientation program.
- Continue to find out more about the legal profession by attending career programs on practice areas and listening to the “Practice Area Podcast Series” from OCS, meeting with attorneys, and researching legal employers.
- In March, we will be introducing you to our on-campus law firm recruiting program for 2Ls, the Early Interview Program (EIP). Attend the EIP Orientation and associated events.