Friday, October 31, 2014
How did you obtain your first job out of law school?
At the end of my 3L year, I secured a law clerk position in the Environmental Protection Division at the AG’s office and applied for the UHLC’s Graduate Fellowship program. After graduating and taking the bar, I moved to Austin and completed my fellowship. I tried to develop a relationship with as many lawyers in the division as I could, found some amazing mentors, and worked hard to impress the attorneys who gave me assignments. About a month after I passed the bar, a position opened up in my division. Since I had already been there for three months (I stayed past the official time period for the fellowship) and made a positive impression on the attorneys, I was interviewed with the endorsements and support of almost everyone in the division. I was in the right place at the right time.
Describe what led you to pursue your current position/practice area:
I was drawn to environmental law in law school. I took several classes in this area, wrote my journal comment on this topic, and tried to intern at places where I could develop the skills and experience necessary to start my legal career as an environmental lawyer. Through my internships, I also realized that I wanted to work in the public sector.
I knew that the practice area I wanted to specialize in was smaller and very competitive and that typically a law license is required to be hired in the public sector. But I decided I would give it a shot. Because of the successes that my friends who graduated the years before me had in obtaining positions through their UHLC Graduate Fellowships, I decided that a fellowship would be the best option. The fellowship allowed me to work at the place I wanted to work without the employer (or me) having to worry about pay.
What experiences/internships did you have that you found to be helpful or beneficial in your job search and career thus far?
Definitely my judicial internships. Potential employers always asked me about my judicial internships. Working for judges is an incredible experience and really links together what we study in law school with the practice of law. I was able to see how judges view cases and pleadings; interact with judges on a day-to-day basis; observe a lot of different practice styles, hearings, trials, and courtroom procedures; and hone my legal research and writing skills. My judicial internships have proven invaluable as a new lawyer.
Another thing that was helpful in my job search was the variety in my internship experiences. After 1L year, I interned or did research for a professor every semester and summer. As a result, I worked in the public and private sector and in criminal and civil law. This made choosing a practice area to specialize in, and basically my career path, a lot easier.
Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give to current law students?
Try hard not to compare yourself to other people. It is almost impossible not to do it because of the nature of law school, but you will find the job/career path that is right for you if you pay attention to yourself instead of measuring yourself against others. Most of my friends went into the private sector, but I knew that I wanted to work for the government. Instead of following suit, I followed my interests and luckily, found my dream job.
I also think that varied internships are incredibly important because of the relationships you build with other lawyers from a broad spectrum of practice areas, the work experience you can discuss in interviews, and the exposure to the practice of law that comes with it. So intern or research with different professors while you are in school and if your schedule allows it.
And remember, it’s not a matter of if you’ll find a job; it’s a matter of when.
If you'd like to connect with Sireesha to learn more about her career path, talk to your counselor in the Career Development Office.
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Still unsure of which practice areas might be a good fit for you? The Career Development Office has Practice Area Overviews – quick, one-pagers with descriptions of various practice areas, the type of work involved, and recommended classes. You can find these in the Career Resource Library, under the “resources” tab in Symplicity.
If you’re looking for more detailed information about the various practice areas, ask your counselor if you can borrow The Official Guide to Legal Specialties by Lisa Abrams. You’ll get a more in-depth look at what it's like to practice law in 30 major specialty areas, including appellate practice, entertainment, immigration, international, tax, and telecommunications. This book gives you the insights and expertise of top practitioners – the issues they tackle every day, the people and clients they work with, what they find rewarding about their work, and what classes or work experience you need to follow in their footsteps. Over 120 government, public interest, corporate, and private attorneys are featured.
Monday, October 13, 2014
There is an enormous amount of information out there about the legal market, the job search, and professional development! The CDO continually strives to bring this material to UHLC students in an easy to read, useful way. So, we have decided to revamp our communication efforts in order to keep everyone informed and proactive in their job search. Look out for us on these platforms:
- Blog: We’re recommitted to bringing you the information you need to be strong job seekers and great lawyers. Look out for features such as: alumni spotlights, articles about the Houston legal market, job and internship opportunities, professional development tips, and introductions to CDO counselors.
- Weekly Digest: The Digest will now be emailed to all UHLC students every Monday morning. This will be your go-to resource for upcoming events, deadlines, networking opportunities, and recruiting fairs.
- Events Calendar: A handy online resource to see what’s happening in the CDO and the Houston legal community.
Also, don’t forget to like our Facebook page! Get convenient updates in your newsfeed so you don’t miss any of the great information coming out of our office. Like the UHLC Career Development Office Facebook Page by October 31st and get entered into a raffle for a $15 Starbucks gift card.
Monday, September 29, 2014
Tuesday, September 23, 2014
How to Accept Constructive Criticism
One of the hardest things to take, especially when we first enter the professional world, is how to accept "constructive criticism." How we advance in our professional lives depends on our ability to accept and incorporate feedback. We need to take guff in order to give guff.
It's not easy. None of us likes to be reminded by others that we are not perfect. Even when you call it "constructive" to sound nice, the word "criticism" still sticks. The worst part? Sometimes it comes from people we don't like. Or at least we don't like them after we get their feedback.
If you are serious about advancement, ask for feedback:
What you know will help you grow
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Posted by UHLC Career Development Office at 12:19 PM