‘’在美国读法学院”刊登在《世界日报》教育特刊(中英双语)

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新学期将近,《世界日报》8月18日出版了“教育特刊”。这个特刊推出包括“大学申请,课外活动,热门专业……”等系列专访。“Studying Law in USA”和“儿子为何选择读法学院”作为“热门专业”推荐文章也收录刊登。特此对《世界日报》编辑韓傑先生表示感谢。

 

 

儿子为什么读了法学院?
by 春阳

 

 

   在美国律师协会(ABA:American Bar Association)认证的203所法学院里,法学院的排名近年来基本比较稳定,特别是前15名的法学院排名一直比较稳定。但是学校之间也会有上下浮动。请看以下榜单:

 

2018年USNews美国大学法学院排名

 

和2017 年相比,耶鲁大学法学院还是最好的法学院,每年都是排名第一。其他学校的排名则有一些变化。哈佛大学法学院今年被斯坦福法学院超越,名列第三。芝加哥大学去年和哥伦比亚大学法学院并列第四,今年成功跻身第四。哥大法学院位居第五,纽约大学保持第六。第二梯队的杜克大学和伯克利分别跌落两名和四名,而奥斯汀成功跻身前14。上下浮动和各个法学院每年的BAR通过率,就业率有着极大的影响。目前这些顶级法学院的招生率录取率都还是保持比较稳定的状态,所以对申请不会有太大的影响。

 

耶鲁法学院,每年排名第一。

 
 

   下面这张图更详细地介绍了2018年美国排名前22名法学院的概况。

(由于排名来源不同,可能和上面的顺序不太一样)。

 

这里详细列出了GPA要求,LSAT范围,录取率,教工/学生比例,毕业时就找到工作,毕业后10个月以内找到工作,以及BAR的通过率。

 

必须指出的是,这个BAR 考试的通过率是考核法学院的一个重要标准。当时我儿子的事务所对新来的助理们通过BAR考试也是非常重视的,还专门给他们时间和参考书。

 

家长们会更关心毕业后的收入。收入与能否被大的律师事务所录取有很大关系,差别会很大。纽约的大律师事务所新人的年薪是公开的,在网上都能查到。十年前是16.5万。据说2019年起薪19万,这还不算年终奖。实习期间的收入是按第一年工资比例算的。儿子夏季实习的钱,足够交了第三年的学费。但是如果到小的事务所,年薪不好说,少到三万的也有。即使是进了大公司的法律部门,刚开始年薪也就几万美金。我在原单位网站看过一个广告,那是个几万员工的大医药公司。

 

 

 

作者简介

 

下面这篇文章的英文作者熊文剑(Mark Xiong)到美国的时候才四岁,在美国接受了13年义务教育。他高中毕业时获得美国优秀学生奖(National Merit Scholar finalist),并获全额奖学金入学新泽西州立大学---罗格斯大学。

 

毕业后进于德克萨斯州的奥斯汀大学法学院,毕业后就职于纽约的Ropes & Gray法律事务所。

 

Ropes&Grey 在芝加哥的办公楼

 

按照国家法律杂志2008年基于Ropes & Gray LLP有1162个律师,在美国排名前20。而按照$1,748,209,000这个总收入来看,2019年,在美国排名排名第13。在2018年全球排名,这个事务所在全球总收入排名为第18名。

 

但是他进入这个律师事务所的道路并不平坦。下面这篇文章里,他详细地介绍了美国法学院的学习,实习,找实习工作的情况。这是在美国读法学院的亲身经历,希望能对有志于申请法学院的学生有些帮助。

 

 

上州立大学去!

 

每年大学录取季,对大多数家长和学生都是一个很煎熬的过程。儿子高中毕业那年对我们也是。初中毕业时,他囊括七项优秀毕业生奖,只给他朋友留了一项。那时候,我们和老师们一样有信心,这孩子肯定进藤校。


 

和大多数华人家长一样的想法,我们要为孩子创造最好的条件,搬到好学区去!在他高二的时候转学到了一个新学区,后来才知道是个极大的错误。那时候他已经很难融入那些从小就形成的朋友圈了。儿子一度很迷茫,对新环境适应期间很长,很少参加社团活动,这些对一个华裔男孩来说,都是不利因素。申请大学的时候,我们收到了多个顶尖大学的拒绝信,也有等待信。

 

但是州立大学的通知却早在申请以前就到了,天下真有免费午餐?真有!四年全奖,学费和吃住,全包。儿子那一届高中毕业生有八百多人,他是学校仅有的九名“美国优秀学生奖”获得者之一(National Merit Scholar Finalist)。这是从每年大约一百五十万左右高中生参赛者中,选出大约八千二百名奖学金获得者(0.57%)。那年他还获得当年克林顿总统签名的总统奖。

 

没有收到藤校录取,当时也是很遗憾的。后来决定不要等了,上州立大学去!州立大学开出的条件很诱人。四年学费全免,住宿全包,连饭票都发!

 
 
选专业
 

 

上了大学,学什么专业呢?我想这也是很多家长和孩子们的困惑。儿子一向平衡发展,连SAT都是文理科分数完全一样,所以决定都试试。谁知计算机编程学了一个月就不干了,觉得简单,不好玩。还回家对爸爸说:“爸爸,这么没意思的事,你怎么还能天天做?”

 

到大学里,他却对哲学,心理学,历史越来越感兴趣。可是最后选什么专业呢?感觉很为难。幸运的是,儿子碰到了一位好教授,胡门博士(Dr. Humane)。胡门博士是一位知名学者,美国很多大学用他写的书做教材。一次偶然的机会,儿子去教授的办公室帮忙,两人竟十分投缘。

 

经过几次长谈,教授告诉儿子,如果不知道学什么专业就选政治科学吧。(Political Science)。因为罗格斯大学的政治科学在美国大学排名是相当靠前的。可是我们,作为“学好数理化,走遍天下都不怕”的理科生家长,当时还是很吃惊,政治能算科学吗?我们很怀疑。可是儿子对他的这个专业非常上心,学得浑身是劲。每次我去学校接他回来的路上,他都会津津有味地讲那些美国历史上发生的重大事件,还有很多法庭案例。

 

到大学第三年,儿子还是不知道毕业以后干什么。有一次上课是跟着警察转了一天,本来他是有当警察的打算。一天下来,马上打消了这个念头。因为除了在路边发发违规停车罚单,一天啥也没干。

 

后来,还是那位胡门博士救了他。教授说,要是不知道毕业以后干什么,就读法学院,去当个律师吧。这个建议我是一直都不敢想的,因为律师和医生是儿子从小就发誓不干的职业。所以当儿子说要考律师入学考试,想当律师,我还真吓了一跳。我想: 教授阅人无数,以教授对儿子的了解,他给儿子指点了一条适合这孩子的路。

   

考LAST不是一件容易的事。从小就没进过补习班的儿子,报名参加了“Princeton Review”专门练习这个考试。

 

不过有趣的是,儿子进去摸底考试就考了166,当时老师就问“你干嘛来了?补习以后才考了170,1000多块钱才买了4分。好在儿子在州立大学里学得较轻松,平均学分绩点(GPA)4.0。由于法学院录取是综合两项,他还是被排名14的德州奥斯汀法学院录取了。他大学毕业的主专业是政治科学,辅专业是欧洲历史和哲学。

   

虽然儿子后来读法学院时找工作时遇到了一些曲折,他也从那个过程中学会了积极建立各种关系,主动地掌握前进方向。刚开始工作时,当同伴们都还在等待分配工作,他已经主动联系进了一个大项目组,取得了对一个青年律师非常重要的工作经验。这个项目,据说涉及资金两亿多美元。他们的客户之一,就是那个大名鼎鼎,誉满全球的股神巴菲特。

在美国读法学院(译文)
by Mark  Xiong

 

 

 

01
美国法学学位和入学考试

 

 

 美国的法学学位有三种:

 

1)法律博士--JD(Juris Doctor),一般大学毕业后再读三年,这是最基本的法学学位。大概需要八十到九十学分才能毕业。

 

2)法学硕士---LL.M(Master of Law),一般四年完成。很多国际学生愿意读LLM,这是因为他们已经有了本国的法律学位。如果转了学分,再加上一,两年就可以得到LLM,在美国当律师。也可以回到自己的国家运用美国法律,或者进行国际法这方面的工作。

 

3)法学博士---SJD(Juris Doctor of Science),这个学位是研究法律的某一个方向,需要在导师的指导下完成一篇论文。这是在取得JD和LL.M 以后再进一步的学位,相当于其他学科的博士学位。除了学院派以外,一般很少有人去读。

 

一般美国人都很现实,有一个JD就可以开始他们的法律职业了,很少有人去读更高的学位。就连最高法院的大法官都是JD毕业,谁还愿意多花时间和钱多读几年呢?所以 LLM 和SJD一般供外国律师和学者来读。

 

在美国要想进法学院学习,需要参加“法学院入学考试”(LSAT:Law School Admission Test)。

 

LSAT每年四次,(考试时间和次数可能近年来有变化。)是由五个35分钟的选答题部分组成,其中一个部分是实验,不算分(但是考试者并不知道哪一部分不算。)还有一个35分钟的写作部分,这个部分也不算分,但是会送到学校作为参考。

 

LSAT考试主要考三个方面:

1)阅读理解能力(ReadingComprehension)

2)分析与推理能力(AnalyticalReasoning)

3) 逻辑与推理能力(LogicalReasoning)。

 

LSAT 满分为180分。如果LSAT能考到165分以上,GPA在3.9以上就商量美国顶尖法学院的录取线了。所以我的建议是,考试前一定要多多地做练习题,越多越好,因为LSAT可不是你闭着眼睛,随便就能考好的。LSAT成绩在法学院的录取中占的比例最大。

 

美国法学院的录取和大学录取的情况完全不同,值得指出的有下面几点:

 

1)和SAT在大学录取的算法不同的是,LSAT在法学院录取中分量最重要。所以考一个好的LSAT分数非常重要。

 

2) 法学院录取更重视学术表现,也就是你的分数,而不是参加社团活动的多少。

 

3) 与毕业的大学本身排名也没有很大关系。我和几个毕业于罗格斯州立大学的朋友,本科专业是政治科学,都被很好的法学院录取了。

 

4) 与大学本科专业也没有什么关系。

 

不管你是学的哲学,历史,数学,还是音乐,只要是你愿意考LSAT,分数够高的话,就可以申请法学院。但是要想进好的法学院,LSAT和大学GPA的成绩越高越好。

 

 

02
法学院的学习

 

 

法学院学习总共三年,但是第一年的成绩最重要。在法学院的第一年,大家的课程安排都基本上一样。必修课包括:物业法,国家法,刑法,合同法,法律研究与写作,侵权法,和宪法。其中写作部分非常重要,也很锻炼人。这一年的课程,最重要而又关键的,是训练学生学会“像律师那样去思维”。我个人认为,这一年学到的知识,比在大学四年里学到的都多。

 

由于有大量的阅读与写作,很多学生都认为法学院的第一年是非常紧张的。而且第一年是学习成绩最重要的一年。因为第二年初的时候,各个大的律师事务所,很多需要律师的大公司,以及政府部门都要到各个法学院来面试选人,招下一年的夏季实习生,这样可以试验一下他们想雇佣的人。

 

由于律师事务所的雇员主要来自夏季实习生,所以他们在实习生招聘是非常严肃的。如果这一次面试不好的话,想进入顶尖律师事务所和大公司的机会就少得可怜了。因为律师事务所和招人单位只能根据第一年的成绩,和第一年夏季实习来考虑学生的能力。如果第一年的成绩不好的话,会影响面试结果,而使自己从一开始就处在不利的位置。不但面试机会少,而且会面临更严格的面试。

 

  法学院的夏季实习是一个非常重要的学习过程。第一年的夏季实习,主要是学习一些基本的法律程序,了解真正的法律世界。我第一年夏季实习是在华盛顿DC的联邦巡回法庭。在那里我在帮助法官的案例中,也看到了真正的法庭活动。我和法官在一起工作,也建立了很好的关系。而这种关系为我后来找到律师事务所的工作,打下了坚定的基础。不过这种实习往往是没有钱的,(甚至有时候还要交钱,因为那样可以算学分)。但是这也是很值得的,因为这样的工作经历,对下一年的面试会很有帮助。

 

到了第二年以后就可以根据自己的兴趣去选课。比如我就选学了合同法,知识产权法,和商业上的有关课程。还有一些国际法的课程等等。还有一些对以后考各州的律师资格证有帮助的课。

 

第二年的夏季实习可以说是法学院最重要的时期,因为这次实习会直接关系到将来的工作。前面讲了法律事务所一般都是从实习生中招雇员,也就是说不通过实习直接进入的可能性几乎为零。第二年的实习是有钱的,而且是按照以后被雇用的工资来算,还挺高的。我自己就是用第二年夏季实习的钱,交了第三年的学费。

 

第三年的选课就比较自由,通常这时候离毕业所需要的学分已经差的不多了,而且大多数人都知道了自己毕业后的去向。一般就选一些自己最感兴趣的课来补足学分。

 

 

 

03
夏季实习---第一年

 

上法学院的时候,夏天实习和上课一样重要。因为这是法学院个人简历上非常重要的一部分--工作经验。而顶尖律师事务所都希望学生有夏季实习的经验。

 

   上法学院后第一年的夏季实习,我去了两个地方。首先,我去了华盛顿特区的联邦索赔法院。

 

联邦索赔法院有一个很特别的管辖范围,全美国就只有一个这样的索赔法院。最简单的解释就是,任何人想状告美国政府,不管是什么原因,也不管是在美国哪个区域,都可以到这个法院起诉。但是大部分的时候,原告也可以到就近的法院起诉,所以美国索赔法院并不比别的法院忙。如果原告不满意索赔法院的裁判,可以到联邦巡回法院上诉。要是对巡回法院结果还布满意,还可以上诉到美国最高法院。说起来,美国索赔法院很像一个地方法院,但是这法院的管辖范围是按主题决定的。

 

那一次是在法官布莱顿(Braden)的议事室实习。法官布莱顿那年招了七个实习生。开始只有六个人,都被塞在一个长方形的小屋。那个屋子确实太小了,因为坐在里面的人,常常需要从别人身上翻过去。挤是有一点挤,但是因为坐得那么近,也很快就成朋友了,没事就聊天(当然有时候有事也会聊天)。我们实习期间有两个主要任务:第一是要学习写一个从头至尾的完整司法决议,第二是要仔细地观察法官布莱顿带我们参加的所有活动。

 

我在法官布莱顿的议事室实习只有一个半月,但是给她留下了很好的印象。法官布莱顿给了我们很多机会,参加各种各样的活动。比如,我们观察了很多真实的法庭审理过程,到美国最高法院去听讲话和吃晚饭。作为一次寻找真相的访问,还去了一个宇航工业公司。下班后还会跟别的法庭或政府机关打棒球。

 

虽然我在法官布莱顿的议事室时间不是很长,但却是我最重要的实习经验。法官布莱顿在法律界里有很多关系,她也很愿意利用这些关系来帮她的实习生去建立关系和找工作。如果不是到她那里去实习,我很可能不会顺利找到毕业后的第一份工作,进了Ropes &Gray。

 

那次夏季剩下的时间,我去了一个很小的知识产权法律公司,每周去三次。因为公司很小,大部分的工作都是从网上来的,所以基本上没有客户到办公室。在那里,我主要做的事都与申请商标有关。事情和活动没有在法院那边那么多,但是由于我对知识产权法很感兴趣,所以觉得挺有意思的。

 

  以我看来,第一年的夏天实习是非常非常重要的机会,不仅仅是让学生体会以后的工作环境,而且对建立简历也很有帮助。第一年实习常常被忽视(特别是当你学习成绩不错的时候。)但是这次实习也可能是你校园面试和毕业后找工作的决定因素。

 

 

04
夏季实习---第二年

 

找到一个好的第二年夏季实习可能是上法学院最最重要的事情。这是因为法律界招工都是非常早的。到第二年夏天来到的时候,90%的顶尖事务所的工作已经被他们的实习生填满了。不经过这种传统途径而进入公司的员工,需要很强有力的关系,运气超好,或两者都有。

 

找第二年夏季实习最常见的方法,是参加法学院的校园面试(OCIs:On CampusInterviews)。每年十月份,(现在好像越来越早了。)每个法学院都会请大批的法律事务所,政府机构,和其他的大公司,到学校跟学生面试。每个公司派的面试者会在两天的时间选一些候选人,送到公司的本部去第二轮面试。校园面试时,每个人只有15分钟面试时间。记住,这是你唯一的机会让面试者知道你的能力和个性。

 

当你通过了第一轮面试后,公司或者律师事务所,会让你去公司总部进行第二轮更加正式的面试(一般叫做“Call-back”)。律师事务所的面试是用半天时间,和4-6个来自不同部门的律师面谈。(我对其他公司和政府部门的面试不了解,因为没有那方面面试经验。)面试完了,平常会有两个律师带你出去吃饭。别太放松了,这也是面试的一方面,是看你在非正式的场合下的表现如何)。第二论面试主要是看你的个性跟公司的文化是不是融洽,所以不会有说明特别专业的问题。

 

   我的校园面试结果很不好。虽然有很多第一轮面试,最后只有两个律师事务所给了我第二轮面试机会。一个在纽约,一个在洛杉矶。遗憾的是,他们最后都没给我实习机会,必须承认,我都是感到很震惊。

 

   现在回头想想,我可以清楚地看到我犯的两大错误:

 

   第一, 我没有及时强调自己的长处。首先,我很自然地不喜欢吹嘘自己或者多说自己的长处。我总是觉得完美是一种需要永远去追求而不容易得到的东西,不管你做得多好。我也不知道怎么会有这样的想法,估计是我的父母害了我!

 

   面试时,我只是感觉自己的内心,没有把精力放在鼓吹自己的强处上。这是一个巨大的错误!特别是在面试的时候,没有任何人会主动帮你说好话,除了你自己。如果有什么事情不在您的简历和求职信上,面试者是完全不可能发现的,除非你亲口告诉他。当然会有好多和不好的方式去强调你的长处,但是如果任何人告诉你,应该尽量让面试你的人多说,你只需要问些问题,那绝对是个很坏的衷告。

 

   第二,我过分懒散了,没有充分表示我对工作的热情。几乎每个要去面试的人得到的劝告都是不要紧张。这当然是个很好的劝告如果你是个容易紧张的人,可是我不是。回头看看,我认为这害了我,因为我的懒散让面试方觉得我好像对那个工作没有兴趣。当然,这只是我自己的印象。但是我还是坚定地认为,这就是我过了第二轮面试二没得到实习职位的原因。不紧张当然是很好的忠告,但是你一定要有点紧张并且表现出你对那个位置的极大的兴趣。

 

 

05
抓住新的机会

 

正如我前面所说的,校园面试后,我没有得到实习机会,我很失望。后来我想,也许这是个信号,法律事务所也许不是我最好的选择。第二学年一开始,有一位校友来讲授关于一门“电信规章与创新”的课,使我对电信和做生意产生了兴趣。这位校友教授原来有自己的电信公司,卖给了AT&T以后,拿了一大笔钱,就来把给学生讲课当作一个爱好。那门课结束以后,我问那位教授有什么项目需要学生帮他做些事。没有想到,一个简简单单的问题导致一个全新的非盈利电信公司的诞生,还有我的第一个公司领导职位。

 

那一年,我们从头开始建立了一个叫做“USFON”的公司,这是一个非常特别的公司,迄今为止,我还不知道世界上还有这样的公司。从起步到最后运作成功,整个过程用了差不多一年时间,虽然我在课堂上学到了很多知识,但我在成立公司的实践中学到了更多。在申请公司成立的时候,我给自己封了一个主要监管负责人的位置,从一个电信公司的日常,到和政府打交道。不过我也自己动手铺了第一根电话线。

 

到第二年的二月,我收到了法官布莱顿的电邮问我情况。我告诉了她我们公司的情况,也说了夏天继续要在自己公司工作。她问我想不想跟她到纽约“知识产权法律协会年会”,她想介绍我认识一些人。这是一个法律界规格很高的年会,一般不允许带别人去,除非是自己的孩子。(她在法律界威望很高,估计也是对我印象很好。)我当时就答应了,因为我觉得这是跟知识产权律师建立关系的好机会,也能进一步扩大我们公司的影响。

 

三月份,我来到了纽约。那天晚上法官布莱顿介绍我认识了很多人,从晚上八点一直跑到十二点多。每见到一个人我就介绍我们的公司和公司所做的工作,等到我和布莱顿法官的好朋友,Ropes& Gray LLP律师事务所的M先生见面的时候,我已经用了好几个小时练好了我的演说,肯定给了他很好的印象。

 

第二天我就飞回了学校。没过几天,布莱顿法官的好朋友M先生给我打来电话,问我愿不愿意去纽约面试,他说纽约夏季实习生班还有一个空缺。这时候我有一点儿为难,因为我们的新公司刚刚起步,我不想做事只做一半。我咨询了我的父母,朋友,甚至和一起开公司的教授,他们都认为我应该去纽约去面试。因为公司的工作可以等我夏季实习回来在做,另外还有别人也可以接着做。于是我同意去面试。

 

因为有了足够长的时间去总结上次第二轮面试时的问题,这次我作好了充分的准备。面试过程很正常,只是很多给我面试的人都很感到奇怪,为什么那个时候会面试实习生?因为实习生面试早就结束了。后来我才了解到,因为我给M先生的实在印象太好了,他专门在实习班为我设立了这个位置,因为他本人就是招生委员。面试以后我对结果有些信心,我认为自己一定留下了好印象,当然在等待的时候也有一点儿紧张。

 

五月二号,M先生给我打了电话,说我得到了下一年到事务所在纽约办事处实习的机会。夏季实习结束时,我得到了工作机会,我高兴第接受了这个机会。

 

  希望我的经验可以给想进法学院的朋友们一点帮,同时也是提供一个例子,通往成功的路并不只有一条。有时候,看起来一个很失败的事件也许是个很好是机会去学习和成长,你只是需要去抓住这个机会。

 

 

Studying Law in US

 

By Mark Xiong

 

 

The types of law degrees in US

 

  1. JD (Juris Doctor) – This is usually a three-year degree available for college graduates and is the most common law degree. It takes about 80 to 90 credits tocomplete.

 

  2. LLM (Master of Law)– This is usually a four-year degree. Many international students choose to pursue an LLM rather than a JD because they already have a law-related degree from their own country. Assuming thecredits are transferable, it only takes another year or two of additional credits to receive an LLM, after which you will be qualified to practice in theU.S.  A LLM graduate also has the option to return to his or her country and leverage the U.S. degree to practice international law.

 

 3. SJD (Doctor of Juridical Science) –This is an advanced degree that is only available after receiving a JD or an LLM. It’sbasically the legal equivalent of a PhD and is very rarely pursued outside of academia.

 

  Generally speaking, Americans are very pragmatic and are happy to start their legal careers with just a JD. This is widely accepted in the U.S. with even the Justices of the Supreme Court usually having (at most) a JD. That being the case, why waste time and money pursuing a more advanced degree? This is why LLMs and SJDs are generally pursued by foreign practitioners and scholars.

 

 

The LSAT entrance exam

 

  Anyone interested in applying for law school in the U.S. has to take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT).The LSAT is administered six times each year and consists of five 35-minute parts, one of which is an experimental section that is not counted towards your score (but you won’t know which part is the one that isnot counted). 

  

  There is also a 35-minute writing section that does not counted towards your score, but is sent to the schools you apply to as a reference.

 

  The LSAT exam mainly tests three areas:

 

1. Reading Comprehension

2. Analytical Reasoning

3. Logical Reasoning

 

  A full score for the LSAT is 180 points。If you can score higher than 165 points and your GPA is 3.9 or higher, you are generally above the cut-off for any of the top tier law school. My advice is to take a prep class and as many practice examsas you can stomach before your exam as it is not something that you should walk-in to blind.

 

  It’simportant to keep in mind that the law school admissions process is totally different from the college admissions process in a number of key ways:

 

  1. Unlike the SAT when applying for undergraduate programs, the LSAT is given more substantive weight in the law school admissions process so it is important to score well.

 

  2. Academic performance generally outweighs extra-curricular activities.

 

  3. Where a candidate went to undergrad doesn’t have as big of an impact on what schools they can get into. My friends and I graduated from Rutgers University with "political science" degrees and we were both accepted to top 15 law schools.

 

  4. Your undergrad major doesn’t matter. 

  

  Whether you majored in philosophy, history, mathematics, even music, you can apply to (and get into)law school as long as you score well enough on the LSATs.  If you want toget into a top tier law school, you will want your LSAT score and GPA as highas possible.

 

Law school life

 

  In the first year of law school,everyone's curriculum is basically the same. Required courses include: property law, civil procedure, criminal law, contracts, legal research & writing,torts, and constitutional law. The first year is also critically important asit really reshapes your mind to “think like a lawyer.” I personally believe that I learned more in this first year than all four year of college combined.

 

  Due to the large volume of reading and writing, many students find the first year in law school to be very intense. The first year is also the most important year for academic performance because at the beginning of the second year, many law firms,companies, and government agencies will go to the different law schools to recruit interns for the upcoming summer.

 

  Law firms in particular hire their employees almost exclusively from their summer interns so they take their intern recruiting very seriously. If a candidate doesn’t do well on these interviews, the chances of finding a job at a top tier firm or company are incredibly slim. 

 

 Because law firms can only consider the student's credentials based on the first year's grades and any activities the student pursued over the 1L summer, this puts extra pressure to do well in that first year. Poor grades will put a candidate at a disadvantage from the beginning since he or she will get less, and tougher, interviews.

  The first-year summer is also acritical time during law school and a great opportunity to learn what theactual practice of law is like.  My first summer was spent interning atthe Court of Federal Claims in D.C. where I saw the court in action as I helpedmy judge with her caseload. I worked closely with my judge and built a great relationship that ended up being instrumental to how I got my law firm job. While this kind of internship is often unpaid (and sometimes you even have to pay for it because that can be counted as school credits), it is still worth pursuingas it builds your resume for the second-year interviews.

 

   Starting your second year, you can choose classes according to your own interests. For example, I chose to study secured credit, intellectual property law, and mostly business-related courses. There are also courses in international law, tax, etc. that can be helpful when taking the state bar exam.

 

  The second year of summer internship can be said to be the most important period of law school because this internship will likely be directly related to your future employment. As mentioned earlier, law firms (and companies in general) usually recruit employees from their summer interns and getting into a law firm through other means is almost impossible.  

 

 The 2L summer internship is also usually paid, and quite well actually as you are generally paid at the same rate as anentry-level associate. For context, I was able to pay for my entire third yearof law school tuition with the money from my 2L internship.

 

Summerinternships – 1L

 

  When attending law school,summer internships are just as important as classes. This is because it is acrucial source of work experience for a resume that usually consists entirely of school. Additionally, all top tier law firms will expect students to havesome sort of work experience on their resume for the 1L summer.

 

  For my 1L summer, I interned at two places. The first was the Court of Federal Claims in Washington, D.C. TheCourt of Federal Claims has a very special jurisdiction and there is only onesuch court in the United States. The simplest explanation is that anyone whowants to sue the U.S. government can do so in this court, regardless of thereason or where the harm occurred. However, plaintiffs can also usually sue intheir district level federal court so despite its broad subject-matter reach, the Court of Federal Claims is about as busy as any other district level court. Ifa plaintiff is not satisfied with the judgment provided by the Court of Federal Claims, they can appeal to the U.S.Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Ifthe U.S. Court of Appeals can't resolve the claim, it can further be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. In other words, the Court of Federal Claims is much like a district level federal court, except that its jurisdiction is based onwho the defendant is.

 

  While at the Court of Federal Claims, I interned in the Chamber of Judge Susan G.Braden. That year, Judge Braden had a total of seven interns. We started with only six people and all of us were stuffed in a long small room. It was definitely a bit crowded with folks in the back of the room having to climb over others to get in, but the close proximity helped us quickly bond and become friends. When there wasn’t much going on, we would spend our time chatting (and ofcourse even if there was work to be done, we would sometimes just chat the day away as well). There were two main tasks assigned to us during our internship:the first was to write a decision for an actual case from beginning to end and the second was to carefully observe during all the activities that Judge Braden took us to.

 

  My internship in Judge Braden’s Chambers lasted only about a month and a half but the impression she left on me was a very positive one. Judge Braden gave us many opportunities to participate in a variety of activities. For example, we observed a lot of court trials, went to the U.S. Supreme Court to listen to talks given by the judges, and visited an aerospace company as part of a fact finding mission. After work, we also played softball with other courts and government agencies. Although I wasn’t there very long,it was the most important internship experience I had. Judge Braden has a lot of relationships in the legal profession and she is also willing to use these relationships to help her interns to find jobs. If I didn't go to her for an internship, I would not have gotten my job at Ropes & Gray LLP.

 

  After the Court of FederalClaims, I went to a small intellectual property law firm for the rest of my 1Lsummer. The firm was quite small and most of the work came in through their website so it was extremely rare that a client would actually come into the office. My main job was to assist with the trademark application process. This was much more of a real job so there wasn’t much interms of activities outside of work. That said, it was still a great experience for me as I am very interested in intellectual property law.

 

  In my opinion, the 1L summer isan incredibly important opportunity to gain real working experience while building your resume. It’s often overlooked (especially if you already have good grades) but it can be a deciding factor going into youron-campus interviews and post-graduation job hunt.

 

Summerinternships – 2L

  Securing a good second-year summer internship is probably the single most important thing you can do whilein law school. This is because legal recruitment occurs extremely early so by the time the 2L summer comes around, 90% of the top tier jobs will already have been filled by their summer internship pool. To get a job outside of this traditional path requires strong relationships, great luck, or both.

 

  The most common way to find a 2L summer internship is to attend your law school’s On Campus Interviews (or OCIs). Starting in October (although it seems to get earlier every year), each law school will invite a large number of law firms,government agencies, and companies to interview their students. For OCIs, each interview only lasts about 15 minutes and often times it is your single chance to showcase your abilities and personality.

 

  If you make it past this initial round of interviews, the next step is to be flown out to the employer’s headquarters for a more formal round of interviews (often called a “call back”). For a law firm call-back (I don’t know what company or government agency call backs are like as I never had any), you usually meetwith 4-6 lawyers from different groups over the course of half aday. Afterwards, two junior associates will take you to lunch (or dinner if your interviews were in the afternoon). Do not be too relaxed at lunch/ dinner, this is just another aspect of the interview process to see how you respond in a less formal environment.  These call back interviews are really a personality test to see if you would be a good cultural fit for the firm /company so you shouldn’t expect much in the way of substantive questions.

 

  My OCIs actually went very poorly. While I was able to do a lot of interview, I only had two call backs for two law firms, one in NYC and one in LA.  Ultimately, neither of theselaw firms offered me a position, which was quite a shock to me at the time.

 

  Looking back at it now, I could clearly see that I had two major problems:

 

1. I didn’t properly highlight my strengths. First of all, it is very much against my nature to brag or talk myself up to strangers. My mindset has always been that perfection is something that can always be chased but never achieved and no matter how good you are,there will always be someone better—I don’t know where I developed this mindset, probably my parents!

 

 During my interviews, I followed my natural inclinations and didn’t put much effort in highlighting my strengths. This was a big mistake. 

 

 Especially in an interview context, nobody is going to speak on your behalf or say anything good about you except yourself. If something is not already on your resume or cover letter, it is literally impossible for an interviewer to know about it unless you tell them. Of course, there are good ways and bad ways to highlight your strengths, but if anyone ever tells you that you should try to let your interviewer talk as much as possible and just ask questions, that is very bad advice.

 

  2. I was too laid back and didn’t convey enthusiasm. One of the fundamental pieces of advice everyone receives before going into an interview is to not be nervous. This is great advice ifyou tend to get nervous but personally, I don’t. Looking back on it, I’m pretty sure this hurt me as Iwas probably laid back to the point that my interviewers felt that I wasn’t really interested in working there. This is just my own  impression but I’m fairly sure that this is why neitherof my call backs met with any success. Not being nervous is great advice but honestly, you should be a bit nervous and you should definitely show interest in the position that you are applying for!

 

My experience after failing OCIs

 

  As I mentioned, I ended upwithout a 2L summer internship after OCIs, which was pretty disappointing at the time. After a while though, I felt that not getting a 2L summer internship was a sign that maybe a law firm position wasn’t the best option for me anyways. In the fall of my second year, I took a class taught by a University of Texas alumni who had sold his business to AT&Tfor a ton of money and now taught telecom regulations as a hobby at the law school.I found both the course work and the professor to be quite interesting. After the semester was over, I asked the teacher if he was working on any projects that could use some student assistance. Unexpectedly, this simple question lead to the formation of a non-profit telecommunications company and my first officer position at a company.

 

  That year, we built a fully operational non-profit telecom company from scratch called USFON. It was truly one-of-a-kind when we created it and to this day, I’m not aware of another company like it. The whole process took about a year from inception to full operation and while I learned a lot from the class, I learned even more by actually building the company. I took the position of Chief Regulatory Officer once the company was up and running and did everything from interfacing with the government agencies that managed telecom companies to physically wiring up the phone closet at our first location.

 

  In the middle of all this, I received an email from Judge Braden in the spring of my second year asking me what I wasup to and whether I had found an internship for the coming summer. I told her about USFON and my plans to continue working towards getting our company operating over the summer. She then asked me if I would like to attend the NewYork Intellectual Property Law Association’s Annual Dinner so that she could introduce me to some people. This is considered a very prestigious event in the legal world and especially for practitioners in the intellectual property space. Invitees usually aren’t even allowed to bring a guest unless it is their own child. I happily agreed because I thought it was an great opportunity to not only build relationships with some intellectual property lawyers but also to raise USFON’s profile as well.

 

 A month later, I flew out to NYC on a Friday afternoon and attended the dinner that same night. Judge Braden took me around and introduced me to a ton of people, we were going almost non-stop from 8:00pm until well after midnight. Every time I met someone, I used it as a chance to talk about USFON and the work that we were doing.  Towards the end of the night, Judge Braden finally introduced me to a close friend of hers who worked at Ropes & GrayLLP.  By that point, I had basically spent hours practicing my speech so I ended up leaving a strong impression.

 

   I flew back to Austin the very next day and a couple days later, Judge Braden’s friend called me up and asked if I would be interested in doing a call back for their summer internship program in NYC.I was a little bit hesitant at first because our new company was just getting off the ground and I didn’t want to leave in the middle of things. I asked the advice of my parents, friends, and even the professor who I had started USFON with and they all advised me to take the internship. 

 

 They made the very good point that the company would still be there when I came back in the fall and the other students could help pick upthe slack while I was gone. So, I decided to go in for the interview.

 

  Because I had spent quite a lotof time thinking about what went wrong in my previous call backs, I was fully prepared this time around. The interview process was pretty typical but a lot of people I met with were surprised that the firm was still interviewing any one at all since OCIs were long over. Only later did I realize that I had made such a strong impression on Judge Braden’s friend that he actually created this opening for me in their summer program since he was on the recruiting committee. I was pretty confident that I had made a good impression this time around but of course I was still a bit nervous as I waited to hear back.

 

  On May 2nd, Judge Braden’s friend call me and offered me a position as a summer associate in R&G’s New York office for the coming year. At the end of the internship, I received a job offer from them as well,which I gladly accepted.

 

  I hope that my experience canprovide some insight for anyone interested in applying for law school and also be an example that there are many possible routes to success. Sometimes, evenwhat looks like a total failure is simply another opportunity to learn andgrow, you just have to be willing to chase it.  

 

 

亚马逊有售:找《岁月流沙》,《散花轻拾》即可。

 

作者春阳,82年毕业于武汉大学化学系,后获美国化学硕士。现定居美国新泽西。多篇文章刊登于海内外报刊,杂志。

参与并编辑出版《与西风共舞》,《生活还可以》,《教育还可以》,《如切如磋,如琢如磨》,《诗情画意》等多部合集。

多篇文章选入武大海外校友会文集和《武大校友通讯》。

散文曾获江南美食杯佳作奖。多篇散文,小说获汉新文学奖。

出版个人文集《散花轻拾》,《岁月流沙》。《岁月流沙》,由刘道玉校长亲自作序,并获海外华文著述奖佳作奖。

北美中文作家协会会员。海外文轩作协首任秘书长,纽约女作家协会会员。

 

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所有跟帖: 

太棒了,为你们喝彩,也觉得这文章意义很大,信息量高,无私奉献给后来人 -卧听风吹雪- 给 卧听风吹雪 发送悄悄话 卧听风吹雪 的博客首页 卧听风吹雪 的个人群组 (0 bytes) () 08/22/2019 postreply 12:23:09

Very good -HCC- 给 HCC 发送悄悄话 HCC 的个人群组 (12 bytes) () 08/22/2019 postreply 18:34:25

法学院有不成文的Top 14,进了之后工作好找。第一年后的暑假,一般7,8月份,各大律师事务所都去名校招生。 -yingjia- 给 yingjia 发送悄悄话 yingjia 的个人群组 (365 bytes) () 08/23/2019 postreply 10:35:06

写得非常真实。妈妈的文章应当是根据儿子的文章写出来的。我自己的孩子今年法学院毕业,我可不了解那么多细节。 -BeagleDog- 给 BeagleDog 发送悄悄话 BeagleDog 的个人群组 (146 bytes) () 08/24/2019 postreply 20:45:23

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