Do you enjoy reading, researching, writing and presenting? Do you consider yourself analytical and persuasive? Would you enjoy helping others with complex situations? Have an eye for detail? If so, a career in law may be for you! Most students interested in law aspire to be attorneys. Applying to law school is a detailed process with many considerations. It is recommended that any student interested in law school read our Pre-Law Guide at http://www.princeton.edu/career/undergrads/grad-prof/law/. In addition, the Pre-Law Advisor meets individually with students and holds workshops throughout the year to help you decide if law school is right for you.
- Advise clients concerning business transactions, claim liability, advisability of prosecuting or defending lawsuits, or legal rights and obligations.
- Evaluate findings and develop strategies and arguments in preparation for presentation of cases.
- Present and summarize cases to judges and juries.
- Gather evidence to formulate defense or to initiate legal actions, by such means as interviewing clients and witnesses to ascertain the facts of a case.
- Present evidence to defend clients or prosecute defendants in criminal or civil litigation.
Lawyers work in a variety of settings:
- private practice (one-person practice to boutique firms to large firms with several thousand lawyers in many geographic locations)
- government (prosecutors and public defenders at the local, state, and federal level as well as lawyers in government agencies or in judicial clerkships)
- corporations (in-house legal departments)
- public interest (legal aid, non-profits, pro-bono work)
- academia (teaching law in law schools, colleges and other settings)
There are a few ways to get a taste of law as an undergraduate. Although there is no pre-law major or curriculum, you can try to take courses that speak to legal topics. You can also participate in student groups such as debate, mock trial or the ACLU student chapter. You can secure an internship in a law firm or non-profit legal services organization. Career Services can help you identify these kinds of opportunities. Or after graduation, you can get a position as a legal assistant, paralegal or project analyst. Firms such as Shearman & Sterling, Mintz Levin, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher and Cravath Swain & Moore all submit job postings through TigerTracks. Often, these are two-year positions that are ideal for someone to get a feel for legal work before going to law school.
Alumni Careers Network
Alumni have VOLUNTEERED to have students contact them for advice and information about majors and careers. The Alumni Careers Network
(ACN), with 4,500 volunteers worldwide, is a searchable on-line database of Princeton alumni who are willing and eager for you to contact them so they can provide you with advice and assistance about their industry or career field.
Selected Online Resources:
Law School Admissions Council
) - Provides information about the application process, test registration, the Credential Assembly Service (CAS) and more.
Internet Legal Resource Guide
) - Links to web sites of law schools around the country, as well as an index of law school rankings.
Lawyers Weekly Jobs
) - The employment site of Lawyers Weekly USA, the national newspaper for small law firms. Paralegal positions listed. Legal recruiter job listings.
Law.com Law Jobs
) - National employment listings as well as links to legal recruiter directory and temporary staffing agencies (site includes paralegal jobs, not just jobs for lawyers!). Employment opportunities are updated several times throughout the day.
) - The online site of the Martindale-Hubbell directory of law firms. This site is great for researching firms, lawyers in corporations, or governmental agencies by geographic area. Use the Legal Careers link for job-hunting resources.
National Federation of Paralegal Associations
) - A comprehensive site with links to industry resources, networking and legal resources. The Online Career Center lists nationwide opportunities and has a career advice component.
Always remember to check TigerTracks, Career Services’ online career management system for thousands of internship listings from around the world. For more “insider information” use the online Alumni Careers Network (in the Shortcuts dropdown box) on the Career Services web site to search for alumni who have volunteered to give students career advice and guidance. This is an excellent networking tool! Be sure to visit the Online Jobs section (also in the Shortcuts dropdown box) of the Career Services website for links to other job resources in this field and related industries such as government, international and non-profit/think tanks.