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We understand that in this time of uncertainty you may have questions about the impact that COVID-19 will have on your job search, summer work experience, and career plans. While we are in this remote-teaching and working environment, OCS and OPIA remain open to you as a resource for information and advising.

We continue to update and add to this page as new questions and information arise. New questions and updated info added to questions have been marked “New” or “Updated” respectively.

This page was fully reviewed and updated July 7, 2020. Additional updates were added August 19.

Keeping in Touch with Our Offices

Keeping in Touch with Our Offices

Contact Us

OPIA and OCS will be available during our normal business hours, Monday through Friday from 8:00am to 6:00pm.

Communicating Updates

OCS and OPIA will communicate important information through Hire Ground, the OCS Blog, and The Weekly Bulletin, OPIA’s weekly email. To ensure that you are receiving important information from both offices, please make sure you are subscribed to both.

OPIA Weekly Updates

If you are not already receiving OPIA’s weekly emails, please email opia@law.harvard.edu.

OCS Weekly Updates

If you are not receiving Hire Ground visit Managing Your Hire Ground Account. OCS sends the Hire Ground email one or two times per week.

OPIA and OCS Office Services and Programs

OPIA and OCS Office Services and Programs

 

Make an Appointment with OCS or OPIA

Both OPIA and OCS remain open and available for remote individual advising appointments and walk-ins.

Remote Walk-in Access

OPIA and OCS are hosting walk-in hours through Zoom. For guidance on how to install and set-up a Zoom account, please review the HLS Zoom Videoconferencing site about creating an account.

OCS and OPIA Programming

OPIA and OCS will hold their lunchtime and other programs online or through podcast or recordings,

Materials Review

You may continue to submit your resume and/or cover letter for review by an OPIA or OCS advisor.

  • Public Interest: If you would like OPIA to review materials for your public interest job search, submit them through OPIA’s material review portal. Please allow 10-14 business days for your materials to be returned with edits and comments.
  • Private Sector: If you would like OCS to review materials for your private sector job search, check Resumes, etc. for an active resume review program. If a program is not open, send an email to ocs@law.harvard.edu requesting to have your materials reviewed and attach the documents.
  • Judicial Clerkships: If you would like your materials for your clerkship applications reviewed please schedule an appointment for “Judicial Clerkships – Review of Materials” and see our webpage about review of clerkship application materials.

 

Summer Jobs

Summer Jobs

Where can I find up-to-date summer internship postings?

  • OPIA’s public interest opportunities are posted on the 1L Summer Jobs and 2L Summer Jobs pages as they are received. Also consult the 1L Guide to Summer Jobs and 2L Resources and Timeline for additional guidance.
  • OCS opportunities are posted in the CSM Job Bank. Students who may have been solely focused on the private sector are encouraged to consider opportunities in the public sector as well and apply broadly to positions of interest in both sectors.

My domestic employer is conducting work remotely. Can I still work there?

We encourage you to communicate directly with your employer to ensure you have the resources you need to have a successful summer employment experience. Remote work will remain eligible for Summer Public Interest Funding (SPIF); see SPIF COVID-19 Information for details. In a few cases, security concerns may raise additional issues with working remotely. An OPIA or OCS advisor can support you in talking this through with your employer.

[updated 7/24/20] I’m worried my internship won’t be as meaningful in a remote capacity. What should I do?

While a remote internship will look and feel different than an in-person experience, it will still offer opportunities for professional growth, and to gather data points that will help you in your future career decision-making. OPIA and OCS provide guidance and best practices for remote internships– Read our tips on best practices for interviewing, networking, and working remotely and be sure to monitor our weekly emails for updates.

I’m worried about the effect a remote internship will have on my future employment. What can I do?

This is a global pandemic in which no one is unaffected. All law students are in the same boat this summer, and all potential future employers will be understanding that these are circumstances beyond your control. As long as you take your remote internship as seriously as you would if it were held in person, and continue to take advantage of whatever clinics, SPOs, and other learning opportunities remain available on and off campus, a remote internship will not negatively impact your future employment. While some learning opportunities may remain less or differently available during the coming academic year, other new opportunities may emerge. In fact, some students are finding that remote work opens up options for exciting term-time internships outside of Massachusetts that they could not have taken advantage of in the past.

Post-Graduate Job Search

Post-Graduate Job Search

I am still seeking a post-grad job…now what?

If you are waiting to hear from potential employers, now is a good time to reach out to them to see where they are in their hiring process. If you are still applying to positions, we encourage you to continue doing so, with the knowledge that a video interview is more likely at this stage. Additionally, please make an appointment with an OPIA or OCS advisor so we can assist you in securing employment.

Where can I find up-to-date post-graduate job postings?

OPIA continues to receive postings from employers hiring recent graduates, clerks and fellows. These opportunities are posted on the Fellowships and Entry Level Jobs page as we receive them.

All private sector job opportunities are posted in the CSM Job Bank, and there are still judicial clerkships available for 2020. The best way to get started with clerkships is to skim our index of clerkship information and then dig into the step-by-step guide. If, after exhausting the online resources, you have more individual questions on clerkships, feel free to schedule an appointment.

[updated 7/24/20] How will entry-level hiring capacity change for public interest employers going forward?

For public interest jobs, we know that employers will continue to hire students for post-graduate opportunities, and that Harvard students will be among the best positioned in the nation to land those opportunities. Having said that, the students who are most successful in their job searches are those who are flexible about their first job and cast a wide net, both geographically and substantively, in their applications. This inclusive approach to the job hunt will be even more critical as employers cope with the economic impact of the pandemic. OPIA will continue to communicate with employers about their hiring needs and will be providing advice throughout the spring and summer to rising 3Ls and clerks beginning their public interest job searches.

[New 8/14] Can I stay on Harvard’s insurance plan if my start date is delayed or if I don’t have a job?

Harvard is offering an optional health insurance extension for May 2020 graduates through January 31, 2021.  Visit the Harvard Student Health Program for information about health insurance information for graduating students and COVID-19: Health Insurance FAQs.

[New 8/14] What should I do if I have questions about the bar exam?

Review Taking the Bar Exam and if you have questions, any student who would like to discuss issues concerning the bar can reach out to dos@law.harvard.edu (noting subject line “Bar Question”) and a member of the student services team will be in touch to set up a time to meet.

If you have a question about which bar exam to take as a result of delays, we recommend you reach out to your employer before making the decision.

Remote Learning and Working

Remote Learning and Working

Will remote learning impact my future employment opportunities?

This is a global pandemic in which no one is unaffected. All potential future employers will be understanding that these are circumstances beyond your control. As long as you take your remote coursework as seriously as you would if it were held in person, and continue to take advantage of other learning opportunities, remote learning will not negatively impact your future.

Recruitment Programs

Recruitment Programs

Will the Public Interest Interview Program still occur in the fall?

Yes. OPIA’s Virtual Public Interest Interviewing Program (V-PIIP) will run from September 14 to October 9 and will be conducted online. PIIP is for 2L and 3L students seeking summer or post-graduate employment with nonprofit organizations, public defender and prosecutors’ offices, legal services organizations, government agencies, and private public interest law firms. The virtual nature of this year’s program will facilitate the participation of employers from a wider range of locations than in previous years. If you were not able to attend the V-PIIP orientation, please watch the video.

What should I be doing to prepare for EIP in January 2021?

Those of you intending to participate in the Early Interview Program (EIP) are encouraged to follow the steps outlined in the EIP Roadmap and read Hire Ground for updates and new information about EIP. If you are unsure about participating or would like to discuss your EIP strategy please schedule an appointment with an OPIA and/or OCS advisor. Rest assured, we will ensure you are well-prepared for EIP.

Will the Equal Justice Works Career Fair be held in October?

EJW is moving forward with a virtual October career fair on October 22-24. We will update you with additional information over the summer.

Additional Concerns

Additional Concerns

I’m feeling stressed out and overwhelmed. Who can I talk to?

OPIA and OCS recognize the impact of the outbreak on mental health, and that times of such uncertainty can cause anxiety and emotional strain. We encourage students to contact Counseling and Mental Health Services, where they can receive additional support. During the academic year, Live Well @ HLS has information about workshops, groups, and events related to health, wellness, and academic skills.

If this triggers a recession, how will that affect hiring, both for summer internships and for full-time offers?

We simply don’t know at this time what the impact of this pandemic will be on the economy or future hiring. For now, that should not be something you are focusing your energy on. Take care of yourself and rest assured that during the last economic downturn our students fared well.

How do I practice social distancing and continue to network? What are some best practices for interviewing, networking, and working remotely?

Social distancing is a way to reduce exposure, slow the spread, and minimize transmission of contagious diseases. We encourage students to have a ‘virtual coffee’ over Zoom or a phone conversation instead of holding in-person meetings for the time being. For Summer 2020 and potentially beyond, many HLS students and alumni will be working remotely. Read our tips on interviewing, networking, and working remotely.

How Can I Help?

How Can I Help?

I’m interested in providing support to lawyers and organizations working to address issues arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. How do I get involved?

The HLS Office of Clinical and Pro Bono Programs (OCP) is posting volunteer opportunities for HLs students looking to support the COVID-19 response. If you are looking for ways to collaborate, get involved, or share resources, please contact Lee Mestre. Additionally, please review the National Disaster Legal Aid website for resources and upcoming webinars relevant to the COVID-19 legal aid and pro bono response.

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