When searching for an out-of-state career opportunity, there are many factors that must be considered. Whether you are a law student preparing for life after graduation, a recent alumni, or a veteran lawyer with years of experience under your belt, applying to jobs in another state requires careful planning and preparation. Figuring out what kind of environment you’d like to live in (metropolitan areas will have more opportunities), getting to know the lawyers and groups in the desired location, and understanding the market for your practice area – both on a national level and in the particular city/state you’ll be moving to – will influence how successful your job hunt will be. In order to make your search as efficient as possible, there are a few things you should do well before packing your boxes and hitting the road.

Find more tips and checklists in your 1L Orientation binder!

First and foremost, make connections in the city that you will be moving to. The easiest way to do this is by joining McGeorge’s Alumni group, McGeorge Connect, allowing you to network with other alumni who work in your desired city or state. There are also hundreds of region-specific groups on LinkedIn: whatever your concentration and wherever you’re moving, there will undoubtedly be a networking group for you.

For in-person networking opportunities, explore sites like Meetup and Eventbrite to see what types of events and conferences are taking place near your future home and try to attend at least a few of them before you move. These are great not only for making connections with local lawyers, but it will also give you an opportunity to familiarize yourself with the city and learn about the issues specific to that area.

It is also important to understand that area’s market. For instance, moving from Sacramento (or anywhere on the West Coast) to somewhere like Texas will likely mean less demand for lawyers specializing in employment law and higher prioritization on oil, gas, and energy law. Some practice areas may be more fluid than others: corporate attorneys, for example, can find opportunities all over the world – as long as the economy is stable. Litigators, on the other hand, are always in demand regardless of the economic climate, but may find it difficult to relocate due to licensing policies and varying requirements for practicing in a given jurisdiction.

Next, have a local address that you can use on your application packets. Particularly for government agencies, it is not uncommon for local residency to be a pre-requisite for consideration. If you already know the address where you’ll be living (and can use it as an active mailing address), then you’re in a great position and have little to worry about. For others, this may not be the case. If you find yourself in this situation, contact a friend or family member who lives in the area that you are planning to move to and ask them if you can use their address as your “temporary home address.” Alternatively, where you would typically put your address on your résumé simply state when you intend to move – e.g. “Relocating to Seattle in November 2019.” This will convey to employers that while you haven’t moved yet, it is planned and imminent, relieving some of the skepticism typically given to out-of-state candidates.

Why is having a local address so important? Generally, employers do not want to worry about relocation costs, particularly smaller law firms that simply don’t have the budget to cover those types of expenses. Another reason is the potential waiting period employers may face if the position is offered to someone who still needs to finish (or even start) their move. For those who are interested in local government, having an address in that state or county will also be much more appealing as they’ll be seen as someone who’s already invested in the community.

Lastly, you must be able to explain to potential employers why you are moving. Are you returning to your home state after completing law school? Are you following a significant other or spouse due to their job? Or are you simply looking for a fresh start?

There are many reasons people move, and employers will want to know what your reasons are and whether or not you’ll be committed to a new job after moving. If you explain that you simply love new adventures and new experiences in an attempt to show a level of openness to taking on new challenges, it may also be interpreted as a sign that you aren’t looking for a long-term commitment. Whether it’s in an interview or part of the application packet, your motivation to relocate will inevitably come up. Before you apply, make sure that you understand your reasons for moving and can convey them to potential employers in a way that makes your candidacy appealing.

Whatever your particular case is, the McGeorge CDO is here to assist you in any way we can, and there is undoubtedly an alum who has been through a very similar situation. Don’t hesitate to contact us or the Alumni Department as you navigate the ins and outs of your interstate job search.

Do law students need business cards? The short answer is, “it’s complicated.” 20 years ago, this question would have been laughable because business cards were the most efficient way to exchange contact information. Now, with everyone having an address book, email, and even networking apps on their phone, it is far more convenient to do everything directly on these devices. That said, there are many reasons that law students should still have business cards. While you won’t (and shouldn’t) be handing out business cards to every legal professional you meet and interact with, you’ll want to keep a few on-hand for when someone asks for it.

As a lawyer, it’s expected that you’ll have business cards. The biggest differentiator between a lawyer’s business card and a law student’s card lies in the general purpose of business cards: it is expected that the recipient will reach out to the card’s owner. If you’re a law student giving out business cards to everyone you talk to at a conference or networking event, you’re implying that the onus is on them to contact you, which can be seen as presumptuous. Instead, you should be collecting the lawyers’ cards, and if there are conversations in which you feel that a good, solid rapport has been established, then you may offer your card after receiving theirs. Keep in mind that different practitioners (including JD preferred positions and those in the Capital lawyering sphere) may have different expectations around a law student’s use of business cards.

As for what actually goes onto a law student’s business card (aside from your name and contact info), a personal website or blog, if you have one, is a great inclusion. If you want to also include your LinkedIn or other networking profiles, make sure to use the simplified URL or a QR code that can be easily scanned. Keep in mind that this is a “business” card, so social networking profiles such as LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. should be limited to no more than two of your most active accounts (you are a law student – your Instagram handle is NOT relevant).

Law student business card services are available to McGeorge students and will include the McGeorge logo and brand. Early in the semester, students will receive a personalized email invitation and link to purchase cards through MOO.com. Students and alumni who need help deciding how to design a business card or when to offer them can make an appointment with a CDO advisor to receive tips and advice on what to do. When you’re giving potential employers something that is meant to represent you and help you stand out from the crowd, you’ll want to make sure that you’re putting your best foot forward.

 

 

 

What’s better than landing an interview with some of the best private firms and public agencies across the country? Getting an interview with them and doing it from the comfort and familiarity of your school’s campus. McGeorge is excited to host another round of early On-Campus Interviews (OCI) this August, and you can see a full list of participating employers by logging on to McGeorgeCareersOnline and navigating to the OCI tab.

BE AWARE: Application deadlines are less than a month away! Before applying, have the CDO review your application materials by sending them to lawcareers@pacific.edu. To make your bid for an interview, be sure to submit your documents for consideration by the following deadlines:

  • Early OCI Group 1: Monday, July 8
  • Early OCI Group 2: Monday, July 15
  • Early OCI Group 3: Monday, July 29

 

Need additional help with OCI? Email Isabella Hannon at ihannon@pacific.edu.

As many of you know, July 8 is the first deadline to bid for on-campus interviews (OCI) and it is quickly approaching. For those who have checked out the list of employers coming to campus, you might have noticed that both the Office of the Public Defender (PD) and the Office of the District Attorney (DA) will be accepting bids for interviews. If selected for an interview, you will want to give yourself enough time to prepare answers to questions commonly asked by their respective offices. Below are a few questions that you can expect to hear as a student looking to gain summer employment. Although the potential interview may be a month or two away, it never hurts to get a jump on practicing for what you may be asked. Practice makes perfect, and allowing yourself plenty of time to polish your answers will only increase your chances of securing the job.

 

Office of the Public Defender’s Office

 

1: Why do you want to work for the PD’s Office?

This question is asked in almost every interview; it’s an opportunity to show your personality and your passion. Prepare an answer that highlights who you are and why you would be an excellent fit in the PD’s office. If you have previous experiences or personal anecdotes that would relate to your reasons for wanting to interview, incorporate them in your answer which should be polished, personal, and succinct.

 

2: What qualities do you possess that would make you a good fit for the job?

This is another question that allows you to show your personality and passion. Craft a concise and creative answer that will make you stand out. This is the time to weave in past experiences and make personal connections. Try to take it beyond the surface level of: “I am smart as evidenced by my grades so, I will do good work.” Keep in mind that the job includes collaborating with co-workers and your demeanor in the office, in addition to assignments and cases.

 

3: How do you feel about helping defend people accused of serious crimes?

The PD commonly asks this question to determine if you are going to be able to work on cases where people may be accused of very serious offenses. They want to know that you are passionate enough to get through the days where the work may be tough. Think about this question thoroughly before you even apply and be sure to prepare a thoughtful response.

 

Office of the District Attorney’s Office

 

1: Why do you want to work for the DA’s Office?

Like the PD’s office, this is a commonly asked question in DA interviews. Follow the same advice above but know your audience. The answer you would give to the DA should be quite different from the one you prepared for the PD’s office. Especially if you plan on submitting a bid for both offices, make sure this answer is unique for both interviews.

 

2:Are you able to work on cases with situations and documents/pictures that may make you uncomfortable?

Likely if you were to be hired at the DA’s office you would see some pictures and documents that would be unsettling, and the interviewer is trying to determine if you will be able to handle some of the unfortunate realities of the job. Think about this question before stepping foot in the interview room so that you can answer confidently during the interview.

 

3: The DA’s office is known to ask on-the-spot legal hypotheticals.

Although the thought of combining test-like legal analysis and the pressure of an interview is the stuff of nightmares, you got this. Take a breath and allow yourself a few moments to think through the scenario. A quickly delivered but poorly thought out answer will not score you any points. The main purpose behind these types of questions is to see if you are able to think like an attorney and remain calm under pressure. The DA’s office is looking for an answer that is well thought out but also demonstrates a commitment to upholding justice.

 

These questions may seem impossible to answer but with some careful crafting and practice, you will ace the interview. Feel free schedule an appointment for a mock interview or interview coaching with the CDO. We also have sample hypos to help students get some practice before the big interview.

A big part of bar-study—and, quite frankly, law practice—is about managing stress and staying balanced.  It’s easy to forget to take care of yourself in the face of the million hours of contracts you’re supposed to be re-learning, but your wellness is actually a key component to passing the bar.  Regular sleep and a little exercise can go a long way towards keeping that energy and focus that you need right now. Here are some tips on how to stay on top of your health and well-being while studying for the bar:

Sleep | First and foremost, make sure that you have an adequate and consistent sleep schedule.  Lack of sleep will directly impact your ability to focus and retain information, and the harder and longer you push yourself studying each day will affect your sleep patterns – creating a vicious cycle of too little sleep at night and too much work the next day.

To keep yourself on schedule, set a hard stop time in the evening at which you’ll put down the study materials. Setting aside even a small amount of time to engage in something other than bar study will allow you to get a restful night’s sleep and wake up energized.

Take a break | Believe it or not, you can, in fact, afford to take 30 minutes or an hour in the middle of the day to eat lunch and not study simultaneously. It will also benefit you to schedule a couple of 15-minute breaks throughout the day to give your brain a short relief. Much like the issues that stem from a lack of sleep, ignoring study breaks during bar prep will quickly overload your brain and make it harder to retain the information you’ve been trying to cram in it.

Spend your breaks doing anything that doesn’t have to do with the bar. You can take a quick power nap (be sure to set an alarm!), grab a snack, watch a short TV show, catch up with friends, or try to get in a quick run or meditation session (which we’ll get into next).

Exercise | Exercise may be a great way to release the built-up stress from bar studying. There have been countless scientific studies between the correlation of exercise and increased serotonin activity in the brain. If you’ve tried working out during times of stress, you know how much better and more confident it can make you feel. Not only does it affect your mood, but recent studies show that serotonin plays a direct role in how quickly the brain learns information and retains it.

If you aren’t one for weight lifting or sweat-dripping cardio, you can also go for a walk or do some yoga and meditation. The same concept applies to reading “for fun.” Pick up your favorite book or find some articles about one of your passions or hobbies. The mental stimulation you get from this type of reading has a similar type of serotonin response as physical exercise.

Eat right & plan your diet | Eating healthy will make the bar study period much more bearable. Loading up on fruits, veggies, and healthy proteins will not only keep you energized and focused on the task at hand, but will also make you feel better.  At least until the exam is over, be sure that you’re getting all the recommended levels of vitamins, carbs, and proteins.

Along with being conscious of your food intake while studying, bar-takers should plan their “day-of” breakfasts. In the rush to make sure you have all of your test-taking materials, get to the testing site on time, and find parking (if necessary), it can be easy to forget or be forced to skip breakfast. Planning what, or where, you’ll eat ahead of time can alleviate some of your stress and get your mind at a functional level faster than if you are frantically shoveling cereal while trying to get dressed and pack your bag, or eating in the car while you drive. If you decide to eat out, pick a place that is within walking-distance of the testing site so that you don’t have to worry about further traffic or parking.

 

We know it can feel like the tips above will detract too much time from your study schedule, but you will be in a better position to pass the bar if you actively take care of your physical and mental well-being.

You got this.

One of the many advantages provided by McGeorge to its students is access to a vast network of legal professionals through alumni events, employer networking events, outside-speaker presentations, and more. Josh White, a 2021 J.D. candidate, has recounted his own path at McGeorge that has led him to a highly-coveted summer position with the Vera Institute of Justice in New York. Josh shared his experience and perspective below – continue on to read it in his own words.

“Finding your first legal internship can be an incredibly daunting experience. Particularly, first-generation law students like myself must navigate a competitive application process for summer internships without the support and connections that come with having proximity to lawyers in our families. Fortunately, I was able to take advantage of some of the services McGeorge offers its students through the Career Development Office. The advisors in this office work ardently to ensure students have the resources they need to present themselves as competent candidates for legal opportunities. My advisor was actually one of my professors. Her help was invaluable, including the time she spent reviewing my application materials. What I found most helpful was the practical advice I was given about which opportunities would best set in motion my personal career goals.

An opportunity that sparked considerable interest was a legal internship at the Vera Institute of Justice. I have followed this organization and the industry-leading work they do in addressing the issue of mass incarceration for the past few years. Just two months after I had applied for a position in their New York City office, I learned that Professor Dajani here at McGeorge invited the President of Vera, Nicholas Turner, to speak on campus. I was excited for the opportunity to hear from an expert who leads the work I hope to contribute to. After his presentation on mass incarceration, some of my peers and I were able to engage President Turner with questions and the opportunity to share some of our own passions. These conversations unexpectedly evolved into a networking opportunity, which led to me interviewing for one of just a few internships that nearly 2,600 students applied for.

I was offered a position working at Vera’s Center on Youth Justice, where I support the project, Initiative to End Girls’ Incarceration. The team I work with is doing incredible work to transition girls out of prison and impede the pipeline funneling them there. My assignments consist of reviewing the agency regulations and statutory requirements of some of the solutions Vera is working to support. I work with a cohort of interns who have varying academic backgrounds and support different centers across Vera. In addition to our individual assignments, Vera has curated programming for our group that includes hearing from Vera’s leadership, partners such as ACLU leadership, court visits, etc. I also have the opportunity to engage teams who do incredible work around areas in which I have a personal interest, such as policing and prosecution reform.

Not only is the work I am doing relevant to my personal career goals, but it is also the experience of a lifetime. Acquiring this opportunity would not have been possible without the diligent efforts of McGeorge faculty and staff who support student internship readiness and organize meaningful networking opportunities that take place throughout the year.”

Congratulations, Josh! We look forward to having you back on campus this fall and know that your experience this summer will have you well-prepared to excel as you continue your education here.

 

We are proud to announce that 6 rising 2L McGeorge students have secured a Diversity Fellowship through the Sacramento County Bar Association. Patricia Castillo, Arvinder Kaur, Erika Munoz, Cheyanne Martin, Ronald Ussery, and Jules Jallab will join students from UC Davis Law School in working at some of the most prestigious private law firms in Sacramento. Not only will the students gain invaluable professional skills, but they will also have the opportunity, through weekly events and programs, to tour different law firms, meet local judges, and network with prominent local attorneys.

 

If you’re studying for the July 2019 California Bar Exam, the CDO team is here to support you. To offset the daily grind of bar-study classes and the hours of at-home studying, we have planned a few pick-me-ups to keep you energized and focused over the next couple months. Make sure to check out the schedule below or sync your calendar with our events page to get automatic updates and reminders.

  • Thursday, May 23: Starbucks coffee and specialty creamers (CDO Lobby)
  • Thursday, May 30: Bar-Study Survival Kits (outside of Classroom D)
  • Thursday, June 13: Power Up Breakfast (Fruits & Bagels in the CDO Lobby)
  • Thursday, June 27: Chair Massages (S-3 in the Lecture Hall)

Since you’re already on campus for the prep classes, why not recharge and take advantage of these FREE goodies? Watch your email for more details about each of the above events, and we look forward to celebrating with you at the Post-Bar Reception in July!

The most nerve-racking part of a job search is often the interview. While top grades and stats that look good on paper may get you past an initial screening, it’s what you do before, during and after an interview that determines whether or not you receive that elusive job offer. From an employer’s perspective, doing well in law school is no guarantee that an applicant will do well in the office. Looking specifically at how candidates can distinguish themselves during an interview, you need to show that you are not just another statistic – you are an individual with passion, skills, and above all, a genuine personality.

 

“The first [thing I look for] is the ability to be empathetic and interact with people. Secondly, being able to clearly articulate what you’re thinking and why, in a succinct way. Both in writing and when you’re arguing in court – that’s probably the most important thing, honestly. Lastly, you just need to be really passionate about what you’re doing because if you’re not, it’s going to come through in your work and it will suffer.”

– Molly Campera, King County Public Defender. Northeastern University School of Law, 2015.

“[When hiring new attorneys, I look for] somebody who has a good work ethic because I think that transcends knowledge in a specific practice area. Someone who has interest in the practice area that you’re in because places spend a lot of time training people and investing in their development, so ideally you’d have someone who’s going to stick around for a while. They should have a genuine passion for the subject rather than [this] simply being one among hundreds of their job applications.”

– Amanda Uphaus, Snohomish County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney. University of Washington School of Law, 2010.

“The firm tends to look at some other life experiences these days. I think we are much more likely to hire someone who did not go straight from college to law school, which is an interesting phenomenon that I would suggest is a bit more recent of a trend. Also, a little bit of humility and humanity goes a long way. A bit of humor helps, too. If you can be a little “human” in the interview, that’s really compelling because you’re talking about picking someone you’ll probably spend a lot of time with, and there’s not a lot of time during the interview process to distinguish folks.”

– Chuck Morton, Jr., Partner at Venable LLP and Adjunct Professor at Johns Hopkins University. University of Maryland School of Law, 1990.

 “They have to be able to effectively communicate. Talking to the client and listening – communication both ways. Also, they have to show a willingness to admit when they don’t know something on the job. That was hard for me. I didn’t want to go to others for advice because I felt like I should be able to figure it out on my own. Lastly, they need to have a positive personality because the legal field can be so draining.”

– Anna Othman, Snohomish County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney. Seattle University School of Law, 2011.

Passion is universally the most important characteristic in a job candidate, no matter the career path. Without a genuine interest in the field, everything will suffer: work performance, mental health, personal life, the organization’s performance, etc. As several of our experts noted, agencies spend a lot of time and money onboarding new employees, and that type of investment is expected to pay dividends in the form of long-term commitment and high-quality work contributions. Go to conferences, join associations, and participate in relevant volunteer opportunities while at McGeorge. The CDO offers each McGeorge student up to $150 per academic year in conference and job fair reimbursements, which makes attending those types of events much more financially feasible for law students. There are also several Registered Student Organizations (“RSOs”) at McGeorge for students interested in various practice areas including IP, Cannabis, Employment and Labor, Environmental, Family, and Sports, among many others. Getting involved in organizations such as these will show a future employer that you are serious and passionate about your field.

As we’ve noted in a several posts, interviews are not used simply to determine a candidate’s technical skills but also to see how they will fit within an organization’s culture. Keep things professional, but don’t be afraid to put some personality behind your answers and the way you present yourself. As a lawyer, you’ll spend the vast majority of your waking hours in the office, in court, and with your clients. Employers will want to see that aside from your knowledge of law and ability to apply it in various situations, you have a level of humanity that will make you an effective lawyer and help you better serve their clients. Empathy to connect with clients and humility to admit when you don’t have all the answers will go a long way in showing employers that you are self-aware and mature, and that you’re well-suited to fight for their clients.

All of the aforementioned characteristics include the ability to communicate effectively and succinctly. You need to show interviewers that you are able to relay information to a client in an easy-to-understand manner, and provide relevant information to judges concisely. Can you write a 5-page motion for a judge, or do you author a short novel? Communication is key for lawyers, and anyone who has trouble getting to the point is not going to be seen as an asset during an interview.

For students and alumni who would like to sharpen their interview skills or prepare for an upcoming interview, you can schedule an interview coaching appointment with the CDO by emailing lawcareers@pacific.edu or attend one of our mock interview programs, typically held in January or February each year.

Full interview transcripts of the above excerpts can be found here.

Congratulations to all our students and soon-to-be graduates! As the 2018–2019 academic year comes to a close, we want to wish everyone luck on their remaining finals.

To the class of 2019 – congratulations on this milestone! All of your hard work and sleepless nights have brought you to this momentous occasion; we’re so proud of what you have, and will, accomplish.

For those of you returning after this semester, we hope you enjoy your summer plans and come back ready to learn! We have a lot of exciting programs planned for the coming year and can’t wait to share them with you.

The CDO will remain open to all of our students and grads over the summer, so consider taking some time to come by for a career advising and planning appointment, application review, or any other career development needs as we enter this calmer period. Don’t forget to apply for our Early OCI program happening this July and August, and reach out to Isabella Hannon with any questions about how to apply. Keep an eye on your emails for more details about participating employers – you won’t want to miss this opportunity!