Law Students

Is the First Job Offer the Only Option?
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job offer

Summary: Receiving a summer associate job offer can be hard in the recovering legal market so rejecting the first offer may not always be the best option.

The legal market is still not bustling even though it is improving. As a law student, securing a summer associate position is critical but how do you tackle job offers when you may only receive one or two. Is immediately accepting the first offer the best option, especially if the offer is for something you are not interested in.


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There are three things to consider before accepting a job offer. Test your personal risk level by imagining how you would feel if you accepted the job or rejected it. If the anxiety level is greater one way than the other, consider why that is so.

Read Job Offers Increasing for Summer Associates to learn more.

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The second thing to do is think up a backup plan. Perhaps making money is more important so you don’t want to risk turning down any offer but what if there was another way to earn money. Or perhaps there is a firm that will take you back if no other offers materialize. If money is not critical, think of other things that you can do over the summer such as a summer study abroad program for a law related topic. Or just volunteer at a legal services organization or help professors do research so that you are still gaining experience.

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The third option is to negotiate the first offer to see if it can make you happy. You should be learning negotiating skills in law school so use them to see if you can secure an offer that is worth accepting. This may be asking for more money, vacation time, different hours, or reimbursement for commuting expenses but be careful not to ask for too much. Express your enthusiasm for the position many times as you ask for extra things such as time to make your decision.

No matter your thrill level of the offered position that you plan to accept, do so with appreciation and enthusiasm. Perhaps there is something about the offer that excites you like the location or the people you will be working with. Get everything from your job title to start date down in writing like a real lawyer would do.

Accepting the first offer you get is not a bad route to take. The position is just for the summer and can lead to other opportunities that you never imagined. When there are other strong options, rejecting the offer is okay but don’t give up an offer without a plan in place to replace it.





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