Tips for Students
So you are a 1L, maybe a 2L, maybe even a 3L. You know that you are particularly interested in business, and/or the intersections of law & business… so what next?
There are a number of things you can do both during your time at HLS, and outside of law school, to make sure you end up with the career that fits you best. Here are some tips from HALB:
Making the most of your time at HLS
If you find yourself more intrigued by the challenges of business or finance than by the nuances of adjudication and legal doctrine, have no fear… there are still a multitude of ways to get a lot out of your time at HLS. Here are just a few to consider:
- Consider applying to Harvard Business School, to get a 4-year JD/MBA
- Pick your courses thoughtfully (and consider cross-registering)
- Do research for HLS or HBS professors
- Get actively involved in targeted HLS research programs
- Self-educate and network
Career-planning and job-searching
As you think about how to spend your summers, and what kind of long-term career you ultimately want to have, you should make the most of the many career-planning resources at the law school, and also go beyond them – especially if you decide you want to pursue a career outside of the law entirely.
If you are planning to focus on a career in corporate law, go through the HLS recruiting process and take advantage of the many resources at the Office of Career Services which give information on different kinds of law firms and corporate legal practice.
If you are thinking you might prefer to not practice law at all, there are a number of options for you:
- Explore the “Alternative Careers” portion of the OCS website for background information on various industries, self-assessment questions, and more.
- Several management consulting firms and investment banks actively pursue and accept summer and full-time applications from HLS students. These and other forms of investment and asset management are the fields in which post-graduation compensation will be most comparable to that of corporate lawyers. (Some financial jobs offer significantly higher returns, especially over the long run.)
- Management consultancy McKinsey & Co. participates in the formal recruiting process at HLS (and also offers a weekend program for potential applicants). For other consulting firms, such as Bain & Co., you will need to apply on your own.
- For potential jobs in investment banking, private equity, venture capital, etc. – keep an eye out for OCS and HALB announcements, or apply on your own.
- If you plan to apply for jobs that MBA students usually apply for, you should investigate the typical MBA-application cycles and deadlines. Talk to OCS, JD/MBA students, and other HALB members. Usually you will not be able to obtain a typical MBA position for your 1L summer, because companies prefer to give summer positions to students who they would be able to give a full-time offer to at the end of the summer, for the following fall. (Business school is two years, rather than three years.)
- Do your own research – Many companies, not only in consulting and various types of finance, but also in media/communications and more, would be very open to considering an application from a Harvard Law student, even though it doesn’t make sense for them to invest in actively recruiting here. Investigate where HLS alumni are working now, or strike out on your own and find new opportunities. For the most part, it takes much more overall effort and persistence to land a non-law job, coming out of HLS, than it does to get a top-tier corporate law job. You will most likely need to do significant independent research and networking — but if the fit is better for you, the long-term payoff will be well worth the extra up-front work.