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In Case You Missed It - What You Need to Know: Putting Law Into Practice - Law Students News

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Law Student News

Posted on: Mar 8, 2017

Carlton Martin, Indiana State Public Defender Office, 2012 McKinney graduate
Katie Osborne, Riley Bennett & Egloff LLP, 2014 McKinney graduate
Sarah Phillips, Baldwin & Lyons, 2014 McKinney graduate

Each of the presenters shared the jobs they held throughout law school which represented a variety of positions including small to medium size firms, nonprofits, corporations, clerkships, externships and internships as well as volunteering as a Guardian ad litem.  

What should you look for in a position while in law school?  All recommended gaining exposure in areas of current interest.  Test the waters.  Make sure you truly are going to enjoy being a litigator for the rest of your life.  Some positions were taken with the knowledge that a full-time position after law school graduation would not be available because the company had a minimum five year experience threshold.  

How did you learn about your clerkships/internships/part-time or full-time positions?  Word-of-mouth.  Friend to friend.  Osborne says never to underestimate the relationships you are building with fellow law school classmates.  She learned of positions from upperclassman that knew her areas of interest.  To-date, she receives referral work from fellow classmates who practice in other areas.

Were there other resources that provided you practical experience? McKinney’s civil practice clinic was mentioned by Osborne.  In addition to receiving two credit hours, she was paired with a sponsoring attorney and gained invaluable experience of preparing court documents, handling files, etc. under the watchful eye of an attorney.  To-date, she volunteers for the clinic as a way of giving back to support a cause that shaped her into the legal professional she is today.  

Knowing what you know now, what would you do differently if you could do law school over?  Martin reflected that there is so much pressure on grades.  RELAX!!  When reading for a class, start with West Law or Lexis to get the synopsis first then go back and read the full case.  

Osborne recommends taking classes with practical applications (i.e. filings, contract drafting) as well as those that interest you.  Phillips concurs with Osborne and tacks on that there is a general pressure to take classes covered on the Bar exam.  Both Osborne and Phillips explain this isn’t necessary as the IndyBar Review course taught them exactly what they needed to know to prepare for the Bar exam and that even though you may take a law school course that is on the Bar exam, the law professor still gets to teach what interests them. 

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