Summer school?

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on May 10, 2010 in The 2L Life | Subscribe

Efforts at securing gainful summer employment have been fruitless thus far, no doubt partly due to the bad economy but mostly due to my late start on job-hunting.

And with summer school at NCCU Law slated to start next week, that means I need to decide in the next couple days whether I should keep looking for work or take some summer courses instead.

Pros to summer school:  Knocking out 2-3 courses means I’ll have a lighter load at the end of my 3L year, which will be time I can spend on something non-boring; financial aid refund $$ is more than the $0 I’m making while unemployed; and I won’t switch out of “law school mode” so there’s less adjustment when we start back in the Fall.

Cons to summer school:  I’ve taken classes every single summer for the past 4 straight years, and would really like the time off :beatup:

Give me your thoughts, dear readers. If our roles were reversed would you prefer taking summer courses or staying as far away from the law school as possible?

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8 Comments

Warren
May 11, 2010 at 1:39 AM

If you reeally feel like you need the time off, take it. But I’ll say that I was glad I took 2 classes over the summer. It allowed me to take 1 less class in 2 other semesters–I underappreciated this fact even though it was a primary reason for taking them.

2L fall was uber-busy (for that matter, so was spring). I advise 1Ls at my school that it’s only as busy as YOU make it, but depending on what all you choose to be involved with, your time will evaporate even faster than before. Summer classes allow you to shift blocks of busy time (class hours) to an otherwise empty time.

I also liked that they lasted only 7 weeks instead of he regular 14 weeks at my school. Although it was twice the amount of time per week, I likened it to ripping off a band-aid: it was over with before I had a chance to get too down about it! If your summer term is similarly compacted, this may be a factor as well.

To the extent you feel like you’ve figured out the law school exam “game” of what and how to study, this will favor you. Everyone in ou compacted summer classes had the same handicap of compressed time, so the curve makes sure you don’t have to know everything to get a good grade, just perform a little better than the next guy. Exam-taking & preparation skill can pay off even more here because of the reduced amount of time to absorb the material.

Finally, there is the adage to “do something legal” your 1L summer. I think this is a lesser factor, but a possible one anyway. Classes count little to this, but maybe more than nothing. They could show (to employers) you are hungry, driven, etc. But you can probably show these attributes other ways without sacrificing your sanity and your much-needed break… :)

Good luck!


 
Esq.
May 11, 2010 at 7:18 AM

Hey! So thanks for stopping by my site. Thought I’d come and look around. Love it! :O)
I’m taking summer school classes (definitely not because I want to), but because that enticing “free” time in 2L or 3L year sounds phenom! Besides, you’ll want to be able to jet set to all of your awesome interviews, true? haha. Sounds like you’ll end up taking courses anyway (overachiever summer school class for the past 4 years taker). Have you checked into RA’ing?


 
Jansen
May 11, 2010 at 9:56 AM

You can always volunteer, which for resume purposes counts as employment.

And student loan $ aren’t the same as employment $ ;)

I took classes 1L summer to find out that because my school does not have a part-time program, I cannot drop below 12 credits during my last semester. That means I’m graduating with way too many credits now. Do some research to see if you will have a similar problem.


 
Amanda
May 11, 2010 at 2:51 PM

I’m working this summer, but for the government which = no $$. So I’m taking 2 classes (at night) and the financial aid + RA $$ is covering me. We DO have a part-time program, but you can’t drop part-time as a Day student…however, these summer classes mean that next fall I’ll have to take only 12 credits and next spring (my LAST SEMESTER woo!) I’ll only have 8 class credits (4 will be an internship). And those 8 credits? 1 final. Obviously it’s harder to plan for 2 years ahead, but if it works out it might be great. And I’m taking required/bar classes this summer, so I can take electives I want in the school year.

And like Jansen said – see if you can find a place to intern. Depending on what you’re interested in, I’m sure there are non-profits or firms that would be willing to let you help them for your resumé if they don’t have to pay you!


 
Va.
May 11, 2010 at 3:42 PM

You need to find something legal to do this summer, even if it’s just on a volunteer basis. Imagine the crickets chirping in interviews in the fall when they asked what you did this summer. (And they’ll definitely ask.) Summers are a great opportunity to “try out” different areas of the law. And even if you’re sure you want to do government or criminal work, you definitely need to be doing everything you possibly can to build a competitive law school resume. The point of law school is to get a job, so keep your eye on the prize!


 
Angie
May 11, 2010 at 7:56 PM

Yea, I agree with all of the above but definitely try to find something legal. Not sure where you are but here in Chicago there is this self-help clinic where we could help people online from wherever (home). It’s not paid but it is something to put on a resume. I too am taking a summer class but I’m doing it so I can do the trial team this fall. I don’t think you can go wrong with summer school! Plus, I too like the fin aid refund $$!! Clerkships do not pay!! :(


 
TDot
May 13, 2010 at 2:11 AM

Thanks for the advice everybody :D

I found out today it may all be a moot point — because of state budget cuts, a lot of sections have been cut this summer and most of the available classes have prereqs I haven’t been able to take yet :beatup:

I’m trying to finagle my way into one of our clinical programs now, which would knock out some academic credit, qualify me for financial aid, and still be “something legal” so I’ve got something useful to talk about during OCI :)


 

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