Career Services Office
Evening Student Career Information
Acquiring Legal Experience
At some point in their academic career, most evening law students face the question of how to build practical legal skills. While legal employers respect the dedication and energy necessary to complete law school while maintaining numerous other commitments, they typically prefer hiring law graduates with practical legal experience. The decision to pursue legal work while in school depends on many factors unique to your situation. We strongly recommend that you meet with a counselor to create a plan to obtain legal experience tailored to your individual needs. As a starting point for your plan, consider these possibilities:
- Volunteer: Most public interest organizations and government agencies are eager to hire law students for volunteer work. There are a limited number of groups that have evening or weekend hours as well. Contact the CSO to find the right opportunity for you!
- Law School Clinics & Externships: There are various clinical programs within the law school. Some of the clinics may allow for you to have flexible work hours. If your work schedule permits some flexibility, you may choose to participate in the clinical externship program which requires a minimum of 8 hours/week. (Ex. Fair Housing Center)
- Research Assistant: Most professors hire at least two research assistants at any given time. The research is conducted on your own time. To find a research assistant position, you may contact your professors directly or ask the CSO if they know of any open positions.
- Local Bar Association: Get involved with one or more of the local bar associations which provide great opportunities to network, to learn more about different practice areas, and to attend excellent programs and social events.
- Attend Career-Related Programs & Job Fairs: The Career Services Office presents a number of evening programs throughout the year. A list of programs for the semester can be found by clicking on the “Events” tab under Symplicity.
- Find Permanent Employment in a Legal Environment: If you are looking to make a career change while in law school, consider working at a law firm or in a quasi-legal work environment. To explore your options, please contact the CSO to schedule an appointment with a career counselor.
- Try Out for a Journal: If you have the time, being on a journal will provide you with excellent writing experience and an opportunity to build relationships that can be helpful down the road.
- Networking & Informational Interviews: Networking is simply meeting people who may be able to help you in your career planning and job searching. Informational interviewing is asking people specific questions about their careers so that you gather information, narrow your career search and make connections with practitioners who may lead to jobs down the road. Read our Networking and Social Media handout to learn more, or make an appointment to meet with a career counselor to discuss how to conduct informational interviews.
- Become a Published Author: Write an article for a legal journal. Bar associations and other professional organizations are always seeking well-written articles on timely legal subjects. Writing an article deepens your understanding of an area of law or a particular issue that interests you and demonstrates to employers your writing ability and commitment to your development as a lawyer.