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In Brief – Let’s be careful out there


Let’s be careful out there
The ZiefBrief blawg from the University of San Francisco’s Dorraine Zief Law Library offers yet another reason to be careful with what you post online: A new service called Social Intelligence Hiring prepares a full dossier on someone—such as a potential intern or summer associate—with information pulled from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Flickr, YouTube, blogs, and “thousands of other sources.” The results are then organized in categories, such as “Poor Judgment,” “Gangs,” “Drugs and Drug Lingo,” and “Demonstrating Potentially Violent Behavior.”

ZiefBrief also points out that Google CEO Eric Schmidt predicts there will come a day when you’ll be able to wipe your digital slate clean and begin fresh as a new digital entity. Chances are, though, that this day will come long after your school’s next job fair.

Early admission: Risky?
Were you admitted to law school under an early admission program? If so, did you have trouble securing financial aid? Sarah C. Zearfoss, assistant dean for admissions and special counsel for professional strategies at the University of Michigan Law School, says early admission has become increasingly common in the past year or two. Visit her blawg, A2Z to read why she thinks such programs can have drawbacks for both law schools and law students, if not carefully managed.

Three quick résumé tips from a 3L
If you’re working on a résumé or soon will be, here are some tips from a 3L who recently helped find her replacement before leaving a job:

  • Consider changing your e-mail provider if the one you use puts a cheesy ad at the bottom of each e-mail you send. It’s not hard to set up a Gmail account, reminds Amanda on her blawg Reconstructing Law School.
  • Rethink mentioning Facebook proficiency, unless you’re absolutely sure it’s relevant to the job. “If [the job is] not marketing and the hiring committee is over 40 . . . take the social media off your résumé,” Amanda advises.
  • Even if you’re sending out tons of résumés, take the time to personalize your cover letter rather than addressing it to “Hiring Manager.” Amanda notes, “If you’re not willing to address a cover letter correctly, it’s hard to picture you as a hard worker.”

New ideas for summer associate programs
Vastly differing needs and expectations can cause both law students and law firms to be disappointed with their summer associate programs, according to Kathleen Pearson, reporting on American Lawyer’s annual summer associate survey.

Pearson identifies some concrete reasons for this. For example, on-campus interviews (OCIs) are typically conducted in the fall of the 2L year, she writes—at least a full two years before the class of new associates will start. It’s often difficult for firms to predict that far in advance just how many associates they’ll need.

To solve this problem, some firms are now conducting OCIs a bit later than usual, Pearson writes. Others, such as Waller Lansden, have moved to an apprentice model during the first part of the 3L year, with students applying for actual job openings.

Beat that late-afternoon lag
As assistant dean for academic success programs at Texas Tech University School of Law, Amy Jarmon often counsels students who are troubled by an afternoon slump in their attention span. Here are some of her tips, from the Law School Academic Support Blog:

  • Lack of focus can be a sign of low blood sugar. A healthy snack such as raisins, an apple, nuts, or a granola bar can give you the boost you need. Candy bars, colas, or energy drinks will temporarily amp you up but send you crashing later.
  • A workout break can help you defuse stress and might help you sleep better at night. Even a brisk walk outside for 15 to 20 minutes can help.
  • Taking a break to do some errands gives you a change of pace and the satisfaction of getting things done.
  • Pairing an hour-long dinner break with an hour to work out or do errands can be reinvigorating.
  • A power nap of 20 minutes or so can be great, but a two-hour snooze can leave you groggy and disrupt your nighttime sleep. If you need long naps each day, that’s a sign that your regular sleep schedule needs improvement. Aim for a minimum of seven hours per night, and try to get up and go to bed around the same time each day.

Law school is exhausting, and it’s normal to need breaks, Jarmon says. “Forcing oneself to continue studying when brain cells cannot absorb any more is counterproductive, frustrating, and stressful,” she notes.

Summit addresses helping law students enter today’s legal profession
Because of the current economic climate and large-scale changes in the profession that were in motion even before the recession began, it is imperative that law schools, bar associations, lawyers, judges, and others work together to help law students transition into practice.

That’s according to Gene Pridgen, president of the North Carolina Bar Association (NCBA). The bar recently convened a summit that brought together representatives from all seven law schools in North Carolina, the NCBA, the North Carolina State Bar, trial courts, appellate courts, and the North Carolina Board of Law Examiners.

Recent survey data indicate that most American lawyers believe the economy is either an accelerator (69 percent) or a game changer (26.5 percent) for the legal profession, according to the summit’s first keynote speaker, consultant Tom Clay of
Altman Weil. Even once the recession ends, Clay notes, “Few think we’re going back to normal. Change is here; the pace of that change is the issue.”

Pridgen has convened a smaller working group to zero in on some concrete ways to help law students prepare for successful careers—whether in a large firm, as a solo, or in a less traditional environment—while also maintaining values such as civility, ethics, and professionalism.

Summit materials, including video of some of the speakers, are available here.

Student Lawyer Student Lawyer magazine provides guidance on educational, career, and related issues for ABA Law Student Division members and other subscribers. It is published four times a year by the Law Student Division of the American Bar Association. Student Lawyer is available online to members of the ABA Law Student Division and to print subscribers.