First Year of CDO — a Timeline
The summer before beginning law school is one that is often filled with both excitement and a strong case of the jitters. Most incoming students do not know what kind of law they want to practice (and those who do "know" often change their minds). To begin to get a sense of your options, we recommend familiarizing yourself with the most common practice settings and practice areas for lawyers. You can do this by reading (see our Recommended Reading section), by talking to law students and lawyers, and by attending community events. We encourage you to do all three.
During the fall of your first year of law school, it is best to focus on your coursework rather than to spend any significant time career planning or job searching. In fact, the National Association of Law Schools (NALP), of which we are a member, prohibits CDO advisors from doing any job search counseling with full-time first year students, until November 1st each year. While the rule does not apply to part-time (evening) students, the logic may. For the first few months of school, other than attending general career programming meant to familiarize you with the field of law, such as the "A Day in the Life" speaker series, it is simply best to put all of your effort into acclimating to the law school environment; moreover, strong grades will broaden your job possibilities more than anything else you can do during your first year in law school.
In early November, the CDO hosts an orientation to career development for all first-year full-time and second-year part-time students. This event introduces students and graduates to career development, including the self-assessment process, building relationships with lawyers, job search strategies, employer research, McGeorgeCareersOnline (our web-based career management system), on- and off-campus job fairs and programs, developing quality application documents, and interviewing at one's best. After attending this orientation, students are encouraged to make appointments to meet individually with their career advisors. As early as December 1st each year, first-year students may contact employers to apply for summer positions. (There are a few exceptions that allow for and even require earlier applications. E.g., FBI summer program.)
All law students are encouraged to work in a legal setting after their first-year of law school, even if also attending a summer abroad program. Most Pacific McGeorge first-year students use their winter break to polish their application materials and to spend their spring semester attending job fairs (particularly the Public Interest/Public Sector Job Fair ((PI/PS Day)), held in San Francisco, and Career Night, held on-campus), applying to jobs posted on McGeorgeCareersOnline, and making direct applications to law professors, law firms, government agencies, and non-profit organizations of their choosing.