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3 Things Law Students Should Do This Summer -- Besides Work

Ah, law school summers. Those long days on the beach and care-free nights, finding young love in the sand dunes. Actually, that's the start of "Grease," not a law school summer. When you're in law school, summer tends to mean one thing: work. And you should be focused on work in the summers! Summer clerkships, associate positions, and internships are the best chance for you to learn some actual lawyering skills.

But work isn't all you should be doing this summer. Here's a few more tasks to add to your calendar.

1. Travel, Veg Out, Relax

Lawyer burn out is real, and it can start in law school. You've had a tough year and, if you're lucky, you're probably in for a challenging summer. Thankfully, there's usually a gap of a week or two between your summer gigs and the start and end of the law school semester. Take advantage of that time to recharge. Drop everything legal and do something to recenter yourself. That could be a road trip to southern Utah, a week binge watching the Wire in your basement, or just hanging out with old friends every day. Whatever helps you recharge, do it now. You might not have a chance to later.

2. Network

Back in my intern days, an accomplished attorney once told me, "If you're not networking, you're not working." It's not the most profound insight ever, but it's good advice.

Your summer jobs are a months-long interview process, but they're also important networking occasions. Take advantage of opportunities to meet and bond with other interns and attorneys at your work. But don't stop at the office door. There are also summer bar association mixers, law school events, and pro bono opportunities. Go. Meet. Network. You might meet someone who can help you land a job later.

3. Learn Another Language

"¿Que?" tu dis. "Nein!" But we're muito sério. If you're not already fluent in a second tongue, summer is a great time to enroll in an evening class in Spanish, Mandarin, Tagalog, what have you. You'll become a little bit more cultured, sure. But there are some obvious career benefits as well. You'll have a whole new world of clients available and a greater ability to work abroad if you want to. And, if you get stuck doing contract work or doc review after you graduate, jobs that require extra language skills often pay twice as much as those that are English-only.

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