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Boley Blog: No Summer Job? Spend Time Focusing on These Skills

by Mari Cheney on 2020-05-07T10:56:00-07:00 | Comments

Your summer job plans may be on hold or even canceled due to COVID-19, but that doesn't mean you should spend entire your summer break watching bad TV. We asked your L&C Law School faculty members what activities they recommend for making your summer productive. Read on for their suggestions. undefined

  • Brush up on your research/writing skills by watching podcasts of some of the great library/writing center programming you might not have been able to attend during the year. The library's Digital Badge program is available for you to complete, too. 
  • Research and read some law review articles in areas you are interested in to expand your knowledge of recent developments in those fields. If you need help locating law reviews in your area of interest, ask a librarian for help.
  • Learn or refresh your technology skills with a legal technology assessment. This includes Microsoft Word, Excel, and PDF. 
  • If you are planning to write or are considering writing a Capstone as an independent study, this might be a good time to get a jump on the often time-consuming process of doing some initial research to find a topic so that you are in a good position to find a topic/thesis. Another professor echoes this: read up on the background of the area you are interested in writing a capstone about, to better enable you to find a topic. Some students might even be able to work on the capstone itself. 
  • Pick a topic you want to learn about and write at least five blog posts about it. It will help you develop expertise, organize ideas into discrete topics, build on a previous argument, and write concisely. It may also get you noticed. 
  • Watch free CLEs in areas of your interest. These may be available from the Professional Liability Fund, the Oregon State Bar, the Multnomah Bar Association, the Washington State Bar Association, or in the state where you hope to practice. Ask a librarian if you need help accessing these for free. 
  • Look for volunteer opportunities, even if non-legal, if it is for an organization doing work you are interested in. 
  • Work on your Westlaw and Lexis skills.
  • Learn Spanish, unless you know it already, in which case learn to cook. You will never regret having both skills. Many public libraries provide access to Mango Languages, which provides basic and advanced lessons in more than 40 languages. 
  • Volunteer your time with a legal organization in a field you are interested in - if they don't have any work that they can easily hand off to you, offer to write blog posts or other content for their website.
  • Consider writing short explanations of legal issues on topics that your non-lawyer friends and family have been asking you. Not only will it help refine your writing skills, but the best way to make sure you know a topic is to teach someone else about it! 
  • Get experience by volunteering at one of the OSB pro bono approved programs, such as the Small Business Legal Clinic, or another nonprofit organization in your area of interest. Or, volunteer in a new area to see if that is of interest to you. Nonprofits may have a variety of projects, such as research, drafting FAQs, presentations, following up on survey responses, data entry, grant applications, delivering food or other supplies, etc.
  • Watch or listen to online court hearings at the trial or appellate level.
  • Expand your network by virtual meetings with alumni, attorneys, and others in your area of legal interest. Set yourself a goal of one meeting every week.
  • Volunteer to write a blog or newsletter for an OSB Section or other organization in your area of interest.
  • Work on your resume, cover letter, and writing sample and ask Career Services to review it.

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