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When the first round of law school exams is mercifully over, stop thinking about them. They’re in the past. There’s nothing you can do. Revel in the bliss that you don’t know what your grades are yet and you don’t have to start reading those case books for another three weeks. Please, for your own sanity, resist the impulse to start compulsively checking your grades.
1L winter break is a great time to relax and clear your head. It’s important to spend time with family and friends without complaining about law school. Read some books for fun and try to decompress.
Unfortunately, 1L winter break shouldn’t be completely law school free. Now that you have some free time, you should start thinking about your future career. Think about where, geographically, you want to practice and which areas of the law would you like to explore. Once you have a rough idea of what you might like to do post-graduation, start working on a plan to get there.
In fact, winter break is the ideal time to start applying to summer jobs. 1Ls and employers aren’t permitted to communicate with each other until after December 1, and I highly doubt you were applying to jobs while studying for finals, so it’s time to start making some moves. Although you may want to just completely zone out and enjoy your break, you’re only going to get busier once the semester starts, and deadlines come faster than you think. Start job hunting now!
How you spend your 2L winter break really depends on one thing. Do you have a summer job?
If you do, great! Work on any journal assignments or extracurricular obligations that you may have, but otherwise do whatever you want.
If you don’t have a job lined up, that’s okay. Take advantage of your downtime to pump out a few resumes. You may also want to consider participating in your law school’s summer clinic.
For those that are considering clerkships following law school, start strategizing about which professors will have the pleasure of writing your letters of recommendation. You may want to get back in touch with some of your 1L professors to see if you can help them during the semester or you may want to pick who you will be sucking up to during the upcoming semester.
Just one final semester stands between you and freedom from law school. Much like for 2Ls, how you spend your 3L winter break will largely depend on whether or not you have a job lined up for after graduation.
3Ls with post-graduation jobs locked down can breathe a sigh of relief. Get off the treadmill. As long as you don’t completely bomb your final semester, your job is likely secure. Enjoy your break, do something fun!
If you don’t know where you’ll be working after taking the bar, keep applying to jobs and keep networking. Although you are now outside the “traditional” BigLaw hiring timeline, many smaller and midsize firms hire on their own schedules. Some government jobs, fellowships and even clerkships may also hire during the spring, and you may be able to participate in your law school’s spring OCI. Consider making an appointment with your career services office; they may be able to help you develop a job hunting strategy and explore your career options. Above all, it’s important to stay positive and make time for family and friends during the break!
Although law students are likely deep in the throes of exam prep, the glorious reprieve of winter break is coming.
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