If you are going back to school for your second year, congrats, you survived first year. Your 2L year will still require hard work, but you should be able to manage the stress better. That said, have a plan before heading back to school in order to use your 2L year as a way to distinguish yourself from your peers.
Get ready for OCI
If you are selected for interviews, take the time to practice interviewing. Sit down with your significant other and have them ask you questions. Do a mock interview with your career services office. You only get one shot at the first round of interviews, so make it count.
If you do not get selected, or choose not to participate, stay strong. Everyone will still talk about it. Yes, many of the clerkships people get from OCI are awesome and lead to full-time job offers. At the same time, the overwhelming majority of your classmates will not get permanent jobs through OCI. If you miss out, you still have plenty of options.
No luck with OCI? Distinguish yourself in other ways
Are you writing for a journal or participating in moot court? Some people take those for granted once they start—do not be that person. Those are great opportunities to stand out and showcase your skills. In some cases, if you do well, you can apply to be a student teacher or student director your 3L year. Not only is it fun, it looks great on your resume.
It can be tough during 1L year to get to know professors, but 2L year is a great time to start networking. If you are taking a class you love, make an effort to go to the professor’s office. Not email, actually go to their office. Professors can help you get a job as a research assistant, a summer clerkship, and writing letters of recommendation.
Start thinking about next summer right now
Career services will tell you firms might not be posting jobs for next summer until next spring. Do not use that as an excuse. Go out and have coffee or lunch with attorneys in an area of law you are interested in. Networking in the fall can give you a leg up on the competition, and it also does not reek of “Hi, I am just looking to see if you are hiring.”
Have a plan
What is your GPA goal for fall semester, spring semester? What professor will you get to know by the end of the year? When do you want to find a summer job by?
Setting goals makes it easier to motivate yourself. 1L year is a matter of survival, think of your 2L year as your chance to distinguish yourself from the crowd.