i'm sure all you 1Ls have been inundated with material from career services lately: flyers, seminars, and mandatory meetings. they weren't allowed to talk to you before november 1st, and now they are acting as if they need to make up for the last few months that they lost with you, thanks to NALP regulations.
i wish i had known to tell them to stuff it, at least until after finals.
they were convinced that the first month they could talk to you, 1L november, was the crucial be-all and end-all of 1L job-hunting time. they were so intent on telling 1Ls everything they ever needed to know about career services during that month.
i shouldn't have put up with it. you shouldn't put up with it.
think about job hunting after finals. get your finals done, and then talk to career services about how to fix your resume, how to interview, and how to target your job search. the job hunting process is long, involved, and stressful--and is nothing you have to worry about until after your finals are done. good grades on your finals will get you further in any legal field than a couple of extra weeks of visits to the career services office ever will.
have that "mandatory" meeting with the career services office...eventually. it may be helpful.1 but, if at all possible, do it after finals. you have enough to worry about before then.
that leads to another thing: do not send the december 1st Santa-Sack of resumes out to law firms. yes, december 1 is the first day you can send applications to law firms. but, the time you spend preparing the mass mailing is time that you can spend either studying for finals, or at least getting some much-needed relaxation in--which will allow you to face finals with a calmer and fresher attitude.
the resume mass-mail on december 1 almost never works. i know a lot of people who did it--and only one ended up with a job. the vast majority of firms either ignore the mad december 1 resume drop, or they send you back letters telling you to apply again after you actually have some grades to show them.
if you have a firm or two that you're truly interested in, it may not hurt to send the resume out on december 1 and see what happens if you have your resume ready. but, don't fret about it too much. don't worry if you don't have your resumes ready on december 1. concentrate on finals--if you want a firm job, you're going to be far less likely to get one if your grades on your finals aren't good. there is no use sacrificing a great resume for a minuscule chance at a summer position. it's better to apply after finals, when your grades are out or just about to come out. then, they'll finally have the information they want for evaluation--and your grades will be better because you spent your time in the finals mindset and not the job hunting mindset.
1 i'm trying not to rule out the idea of some career counselors at some schools being helpful. but, from most of what i've heard, they're not all that helpful. mine never were. they seem very focused on getting students into big-firm jobs, and even then they don't provide any creative tips. it's all along the lines of "have high grades and send out your resume a lot." yes, those are all good things to do, but it's not the be-all and end-all of the job searching process. if there is anyone who contributes here, or reads this blog, who did have a good and helpful experience with the career services office, i'd love to hear it. me? i got my job searching advice from the excellent book, guerrilla tactics for getting the legal job of your dreams by kimm alayne walton. that book is more helpful than any ten career counselors i've ever met. it's clear, it's interesting to read, and it provides more diverse advice than the career services office ever will.