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  • paige06517

My #1 Piece of Advice for Law Students

The best piece of advice I received before law school, and the #1 thing I would pass down to law students is… go get a job. Yes, get a job, any job! Before you stop reading and thinking, “Oh, just another future lawyer throwing out nonsense advice.” Hear me out! I promise this blog is going to be full of gold. Consider me your law school big sister. I'm here to tell you the things I did (and I'm so glad I did), the things I wish I did, and we can’t forget about the things I wish I didn't. Being in Topeka, Kansas, it was very easy for me to find diverse legal jobs since I live in the bustling state capital. This is a huge perk to Washburn Law that isn’t highlighted enough!

One of the few things I’m so glad I did in law school was having a different job/internship every single semester. Yes, literally, every single semester. 1L I worked for a political organization and then the Kansas Department of Commerce. 2L I jumped on a political campaign and then worked as a Research Assistant for the agricultural law professor. 3L I worked for a law firm and now I work for a government consulting firm. These diverse jobs were great for networking, gaining unique opportunities, and having a well rounded view of the law. 

You may have heard the popular catchphrase: it's all about who you know, not what you know. Whether that phrase rings true for every career or not, there’s no denying that who you know definitely sets you apart in the legal field. This was one of the main reasons I chose to stay in Kansas for law school, so I could continue to build my network across the state. Networking doesn’t always have to be with other attorneys. It’s good to build a network with anyone and everyone. You never know who you may need to call to get in touch with a distant relative at a law firm that is hiring. And you never know who may need to call you for some legal advice. Network with anyone and everyone and don’t forget networking is a two way street.

When I began planning how I would navigate 1L and an internship, I remember wondering if a semester-long internship would even be worth it. Would it be enough time to gain experience and grow in a new skill set? Would it be enough time to understand the work environment and develop relationships? I quickly learned that it was and I became determined to continue working like this throughout law school. Every internship role was a stepping stone, presenting new chances to grow and develop a new skill set in the legal arena. All these jobs allowed me to observe different office dynamics and areas of the law. These experiences helped shape what I knew I wanted from a law firm upon graduation. Limiting yourself to only summer internships provides just two legal experiences to shape your future plans. However, working throughout the school year provides you with the opportunity to find out more of what you like and dislike. 

These diverse legal jobs gave me a well rounded view of the law and a diverse resume. Okay, I promised you that ‘Big Sister’ law school advice and here is a pro tip: A diverse resume isn't just about looking good on paper; it's about gaining a 360-degree view of the legal landscape. Each job exposed me to different facets of the field, helping me develop a well-rounded perspective. From political dynamics to the ins and outs of government agencies, I've seen that – and it's made all the difference. My government agency internship was extremely eye opening. Administrative law is like a whole other world in the legal profession. Agencies are an entire body that creates regulations and holds their own court-like system called adjudications. Being able to play a very small role in the legal department of a government agency helped me to understand in real time what I was learning about in the classroom. That makes me feel much more confident when I think about working with administrative law today, because I saw a small piece of what goes on inside agencies. 

I know law school is busy and you’re stressed, but trust me, the best thing you can do for yourself is get practical, real world experience. These seemingly small roles and internships aren’t just jobs, they’re stepping stones. They add up and provide a well-rounded view of the legal landscape. Embrace the diversity of opportunities, especially if your school is well positioned like Washburn Law in Topeka, Kansas. Good luck shooting off some emails and applying for jobs! If you ever need any help, I’m just an email away!


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