1L Timeline & Checklist

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We’ve prepared an overview of the 1L year and a checklist of items to focus your career planning in the Fall of your 1L year. Before we get to the checklist, take a look at the summary timeline below to get a sense of the big picture. Then, scroll down for your action items.

Before you jump into the frenzy of law school, take time to reflect on what brought you to law school. Staying grounded on this front will allow you to be more purposeful in planning your courses, internships, and future legal career.


Step 1: Get organized and mark your calendars

Ideal Timing: September

It takes a little time to settle into the routine of law school, but that doesn’t mean you should let the experience pass you by! Being organized is key to ensuring that you make the most of law school.

  • Monitor CORE to stay on top of Career Center events and deadlines
  • Set up an email management system.  You get a lot of emails and it’s only going to get worse.  According to some sources, working professionals receive more than 100 emails a day.  E-mail management is an essential skill for all professionals, and “I didn’t see that email” is not an excuse when you are working in a law office.  Start good email practices now.  You’ll miss deadlines, events, and opportunities if you don’t do this.  Only you know what system will work best for you, but as a starting point, here are a few resources:

Step 2: Action plan, self-assessment, and initial counseling

Ideal Timing: September – November

In this structured small group appointment, you and your career advisor will discuss your interests, goals, values, and preferences to build a productive ongoing relationship and to inform your individual career plan.  You will also examine your reasons for pursuing a law degree, to keep you grounded and goal-directed as you continue to explore the wide variety of options available to you in the law.

Your advisor will review our 1L Action Planwith you during this appointment to help set the pace for your semester.  We encourage you to complete the 1L Action Plan’s first task,Pre-Work for Initial Appointment & Self-Assessment” (portal log-in required), which will include statement of purpose, before your appointment.  These self-assessment materials will help you identify your strengths, preferences, and areas for growth. Click the button for instructions on how to make and appointment.

*Your personalized Action Plan can be found in your @law.gwu.edu google drive’s “Shared with Me” folder. The Action Plan found in your drive is private to you. Should you choose to share this document, simply refer to the included sharing instructions.

The initial appointment is a requirement of the Foundations of Practice program. The initial appointment is  the first of many meetings you should have with your career counselor.  The better we know you, the better we can serve you.  

Step 3: Build your relationships

Ideal Timing: September – ongoing

Developing relationships with your peers and professionals is a major part of the law school experience that will continue through your entire career.  Attend an informational interview workshop to understand the best way to find contacts, conduct informational interviews, and make the most of those interactions.

The relationships you build in law school may bear fruit in your job search and beyond.  The key is to start now and keep at it.  This is a skill that you’ll use for business development as an attorney and building rapport with colleagues in any professional setting.

Step 4: Get your documents in order

Ideal Timing: End of September – January

Editing and refining your resume and cover letter are a major part of getting your documents in order, but don’t neglect your LinkedIn profile!  

Attend the resume and cover letter workshops throughout the Fall to make sure your resume is in the proper legal resume format.  Then, make an appointment with your career counselor to fine tune and tailor your application documents to ensure you are putting forth your strongest skills on paper for the positions you want to target.

Step 5: Attend the Premier Career Center Events for 1Ls

If you completed Step 1, then this one is easy because you’re already monitoring Career Center events in CORE, so you’ve already planned for these key 1L events and the applicable deadlines!

Friday, November 9, 2018 (Location TBD): How I Found my 1L Summer Job 

Thursday, November 15, 2018, 3-5 pm, Marvin Center: Practice Area Expo (Get a Sneak Peek from past years)  This is a Foundations of Practice event!

Friday, January 25, 2019, Marvin Center: GW- Georgetown Public Sector Recruitment Program (application period OPENS AND CLOSES over winter break)*Please note this is not an exhaustive list of all 1L career events.


Step 6: Research and apply to summer opportunities

Ideal Timing: November to April

View the Career Center’s Guide to Job Searching Over Winter Break to make the most of your time off and get a head start before the start of the spring semester.

Attend a job search resources workshop to learn about the Most Commonly Used Resources for 1Ls in researching opportunities.

Use the Spring Semester 1L Action Plan* to stay on top of your job search and professional development plan for the spring semester.

*Your personalized Action Plan can be found in your @law.gwu.edu google drive’s “Shared with Me” folder. The Action Plan found in your drive is private to you. Should you choose to share this document, simply refer to the included sharing instructions.

Meet with your counselor again to put any finishing touches on your application documents and to develop your action plan for your summer job search.  Job opportunities posted in CORE and other job posting sites including the Government Honors & Internship Guide, Public Sector JD, and others are reviewed in the job search resources workshop and the law school portal.

Don’t forget to save the date for the the Public Sector Recruitment Program on Friday, January 25, 2019; this is one of the leading ways 1Ls get their summer jobs and applications are due over winter break!

Step 7: Refine your interview skills

Ideal Timing: January to April

Want the secret to a successful interview?  An effective plan.  In the all-new Interview Skills Workshop, the Career Center will teach participants how to create the plan needed to help them get the job.  Please join us for an upcoming session!

Students may also schedule a mock interview with a career advisor. Even if you’ve interviewed well in the past, interviewing is a skill that can continually be refined and improved.  It is imperative that you practice articulating your responses in real time, rather than simply thinking through what you will say. In a mock interview, your career advisor will deliver honest feedback and tips for improving your interview skills BEFORE the interview.


Step 8: Prepare and set goals for summer

Ideal Timing: May to August

Phew! You made it through your first year of law school!  Before you start your summer internship, check in with your career counselor to let him or her know where you will be working and develop a list of goals for your summer.  Work with your counselor to identify the key skills you want to focus on for the summer to continue building your skills and developing your resume.

Watch these videos for tips from lawyers and alumni on how to have a successful summer experience.