4) What have you learned from your career path which current law students might be able to use to help them get to the jobs they want?
I once heard an Oscar-nominated actor give advice to aspiring actors, he told them to act. That is the same advice I have for law students and recent grads: start lawyering. Get started on obtaining practical lawyering skills as soon as you can. If you graduate and don’t have a job, take a small matter, either on a volunteer basis, or by obtaining a paying client. Handle a case from start to finish. Just start being a lawyer. Don’t wait for a firm or other organization to choose you. Choose yourself and see where the road takes you.
5) If you had to offer your law student self advice on things you should have done or congratulate yourself for things you did do that helped you get where you are, what would those things be?
I’d say don’t cry over not being chosen for a journal. Taking practical courses is key. Classes that teach mediation, negotiation, contract drafting, trial advocacy, etc. Also, join a clinic, volunteer, compete in practical-skill competitions. In hindsight, these courses and opportunities are far more valuable for getting legal work (other than at a big firm) post-graduation than journal experience.
6) Did you take any classes in law school which were particularly helpful, or is there anything you wish you had taken?
I wish I had known the type of law I would eventually go into while in law school. If I had, I would have taken more business law classes and taken advantage of practical skills opportunities related to my practice area. However, it certainly isn’t necessary to know what you want to do when you graduate. Sometimes, you just can’t know. Once you get out there and start lawyering, your next steps will become clear.
For more information about Rachel Rodgers, follow her twitter feed @RachRodgersEsq!