Summer Employment Opportunities, #6

Amy BianchiniWe asked several of our 1Ls and 2Ls to discuss the role W&L Law has played in their summer employment search.  Amy Bianchini, a 2L from San Diego, California, offers us her perspective.

For the past two years, I read horror stories online about the difficulty of getting a law firm job without connections.  Friends feared that it was nearly impossible to get a job through on campus interviews.  This made the thought of applying for jobs through OCI daunting.  Washington and Lee’ Office of Career Planning (OCP) made the application process much easier by making the process simple. They put my mind at ease when it came to applying for law firm jobs.

When I came back to Washington and Lee to begin my second year, I knew I wanted to find a job at a law firm for the summer.  The previous summer, I worked in the criminal division of the U.S. Attorney’s office.  I enjoyed my time there, but before I settled on a career, I wanted to see what it was like to work at a law firm.  I focused my job search on law firms instead of public interest jobs.  In particular, I focused on firms that had specialties in employment and energy law because I had a particular interest in those areas.

With this goal in mind, I began my job search with Washington and Lee’s Simplicity website for on-campus interviews.  Through Simplicity, I had access to many firms with summer associate programs across a wide geographic range.  I carefully reviewed the employers that would be interviewing on campus and chose to submit my resume to employers with specialties in employment and oil and gas because of my interest in those fields of law.  I focused my search on states out West and sent out many applications through Simplicity.   Looking at certain firm’s requirements was intimidating, but I tailored my cover letters to each firm and tried to highlight why I would be good for that particular firm.  Additionally, I independently sent a number of applications and resumes to other firms outside of those I found through W&L OCP.  However, a vast majority of firms I applied to independently told me they no longer had a summer associate program.

I started to receive options to interview with firms through Washington and Lee’s OCI program in late August.  Before any interview, I researched each firm very carefully and organized discussion points and lists of questions I wanted to ask each firm.  One of my first interviews was with a firm in New Mexico, Hinkle, Hensley, Shanor & Martin.  The position is at their main office in Roswell, New Mexico.

Washington and Lee made the interview convenient.  Instead of having to fly to New Mexico for the interview, I did the interview at the law school via video conference.  Washington and Lee tipped me off as to who from the firm would be interviewing me: two of the firm’s partners, one a Washington and Lee Law graduate.  The firm specializes in oil and gas and employment law, and their geographic location was ideal for me.

The interview went very well, and after talking to my interviewers, I was sure that I would be happy working for Hinkle, Hensley, Shanor & Martin.  I waited to hear back from the firm, hoping for a call back or a second interview.  In early November, I received an email in my inbox from the firm.  The firm offered me a summer clerkship position for half of the summer.  I eagerly accepted the position and look forward to working in New Mexico this summer.

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