At HLS we have a community of current students and alumni who have participated in the SEO Law Fellowship, a program that gives students of color the opportunity to work at a top law firm during the summer before law school. We recently sat down with four HLS 1Ls to learn more about this opportunity.
What is the SEO Law Fellowship?
Mo: It’s a program that provides “0L” students a summer position at a law firm, plus two weeks of training as a cohort.
Sabri: It’s eight weeks at a law firm, with options all around the country. You get to rank your preferences. I think most of us got our first choice.
Mo: You did? I’m one of those people who didn’t get my top preference!
What is the application process like?
Gennie: The application is the same as your law school application, so you can basically recycle those. But you need to be accepted to law school and be going in the fall to ultimately get accepted to SEO.
Describe the SEO experience.
Gennie: The first two weeks, they put everyone in the same space. You have classes during the day and networking at night. So you practice meeting lawyers, getting comfortable at firms.
Mo: They bring everyone across the country to NYC for two weeks, you stay in a hotel and are with each other every minute all day. It works out well, it becomes your network of friends.
Marvellous: They also connect all the SEOs from prior years, they give you mentors which is a valuable part of the experience. And it builds community to start Harvard together.
Mo: Some of the alumni are pretty cool, like Julian Castro (HLS ’00). And it’s great to be exposed to the firms early on, see what firm culture is like. The 1L hiring process has been a lot less stressful than I thought it would be because I know which firms I want to target.
Marvellous: And SEO tries to foster the community on campus through coaching calls, other check-ins. They also assigned us mentors to check in for 1L grades, advice for outlining, and free tutoring. I felt like I had an extra support system outside of Harvard. It’s a resource that’s always there for you. For free!
What do you think were the benefits of doing SEO before HLS?
Sabri: I was actually able to write a brief and a memo before I got here, so it helped with things I was going to be working on in law school.
Marvellous: And using Lexis Nexis – four weeks of my summer firm job was using it for research.
Gennie: I had experience pulling public filings, so when I did the J-term Business Analytics class I had had that experience.
Marvellous: It’s a great network and a great way to set yourself apart early on. I feel like my law school experience is better for it.
Gennie: I think the network is the most fun part of it. You build connections with students at other law schools, and former SEOs in other years.
To whom would you recommend SEO?
Mo: Anyone should apply. You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. If you fit the criteria, apply! In general I think it is important to prepare for law school. But I don’t think you need to read and prep cases all summer. It’s a personal choice.
Sabri: Additionally, make sure to relax before law school, travel or see family. Once you get here you’ll have plenty of work.