Law Student

Getting Ready for the Summer
By:  Taylor Winn

As summer draws near, there are a number of concerns that students might be contemplating. Where am I going to work this summer? What will I do when I get there? What if I don’t like my summer job? What if I don’t work this summer? These are all important questions that could cause a great deal of stress for law students in Texas.

No matter the answers to these questions, holding on to three key principles can help you take the most out of your summer experience.

Maintain Professionalism

Whether you like your summer experience or not, it will never hurt to develop your reputation as a professional. The people you work for or with will be your mouthpiece when you apply for future work, writing letters of recommendation or speaking about you as a reference, so it will be important to impress upon them your professionalism.

Be on time to work, treat others with respect, dress appropriately, and perform the tasks given to you to the best of your abilities. If you are unsure about how to approach something, speak with your employer or even the Career Services office at your school, as they will be able to help you address the issue you are having. If you can walk away from your summer experience with the reputation as someone who is a consummate professional, you will have made great strides in preparing yourself for the future.

Take Care of Yourself

Chris Ritter recently spoke at Texas A&M School of Law about taking care of yourself both mentally and physically, and there is no reason that these practices should stop for the summer. While work can be as stressful as school, you should take advantage of your time out of the office to take care of yourself. Allow time for physical exercise, meditation, or even just relaxation. Choose a television show to watch this summer that will help your mind get a break from the high intensity of school and work. Go to the pool and enjoy being outside. If you can, go on a trip somewhere you haven’t been before.

Giving your mind and body a break will help you be more successful at your summer job, and help you to prepare for the coming school year.

Work Hard

Finally, as with professionalism, you will only benefit by working hard at whatever you do this summer. By working hard, you will be giving yourself the best opportunity to learn and develop as a future attorney. Exposure to the work you do this summer will be invaluable in the future, so you want to do your best and get a good crack at every opportunity put in front of you.

Also, as with professionalism again, the people you work for will be speaking on your behalf in the future. Do you want a reputation as someone who is lazy, or someone who works hard at every task they are given? Your work ethic may prove to be more valuable than the quality of your work, so strive to be great with both aspects of your work.

What if you don’t work this summer?

Let’s say you don’t get a job this summer, or you choose not to work. That’s all right! There is nothing that says you have to have a summer job in law school. Use the time to take a summer course, rest your mind, or even shadow an attorney or judge. Most law schools offer at least a few summer courses. This would be a great chance to take one or two courses you are interested in and lighten your load in future semesters.

Also, you only have a couple more summers left to enjoy time off, so this might be a good time to get some rest and relaxation. Take this time off and make the most of it, because once you start working you are unlikely to get many more breaks like this.

Finally, many attorneys and judges may not be looking to hire a summer intern, but they may not mind you shadowing them over the summer. You can learn a great deal by following an attorney/judge through their daily routine at their practice or in their courtroom, so reach out to legal professionals and see about shadowing them.

Bottom line: Don’t be discouraged if you don’t have a summer job. Make the most of your experience whatever it might be.

Taylor Winn is a J.D. candidate at Texas A&M University School of Law and the vice chair of the Law Student Division.

Views and opinions expressed in eNews are those of their authors and not necessarily those of the Texas Young Lawyers Association or the State Bar of Texas.

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