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Alert COVID-19 Update

Harvard University and Harvard Law School will shift to remote teaching and learning beginning Monday, March 23. For more information and the latest updates, please visit the HLS coronavirus information page.

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What is OPIA and how can we help?

We are a career services office at Harvard Law School specializing in public interest law. We offer one-on-one career advising and job search coaching appointments, a comprehensive website full of resources, networking connections to practicing public interest lawyers, and in-person educational and community building events. We also administer a range of post-graduate public interest fellowships.

What are public interest law careers?

Public interest work covers a wide range of issue areas, practice settings, and work types. Learn more about public interest law careers.

What should I be thinking about as a 1L?

You are beginning a process of exploration, reflection and decision-making that may last your entire career. But right now, concretely, you will be focusing on your 1L summer job search.

Key summer job search goals:

  • Try out an area of the law (civil rights, environmental, antitrust, etc.), type of employer (government agency, nonprofit, union, etc.), or legal skill (litigation, policy, transactional, client-based work, etc.) that might be of interest to you professionally; i.e., begin to answer the question: “what kind of law practice is the right fit for me?”
  • Begin to demonstrate a commitment to public service generally, and perhaps to a particular field of interest or type of practice specifically.
  • Build your connections to organizations and practitioners working in fields that may be of interest to you.
  • Build marketable skills (e.g., client interviewing, drafting skills, etc.).

How do I find a summer public interest job?

You can start by checking out our Job Search FAQs, which cover topics such as resume and cover letter writing, preparing for interviews, and negotiating offers. In addition to our Job Search FAQs, we have created this guide specifically for the 1L summer job search.

Step One: Reflection and Planning (beginning in Fall and continuing throughout the year)

Step One: Reflection and Planning (beginning in Fall and continuing throughout the year)

Step Two: Identifying Potential Employers (can begin in Fall)

Step Two: Identifying Potential Employers (can begin in Fall)

Step Three: Preparing Materials (November through January) and Applying (as of December 1)

Step Three: Preparing Materials (November through January) and Applying (as of December 1)

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Remember to review and, if necessary, clean up your online presence. Employers may do an online search of you, and your online presence should be professional. Make sure you review your social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.), email signatures, and voicemail. Also make sure your LinkedIn profile is professional and up-to-date.

Step Four: Interviewing and Managing Offers (beginning in December and continuing through March)

Step Four: Interviewing and Managing Offers (beginning in December and continuing through March)

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If you have not gotten any offers and are starting to panic, don’t! Make an appointment with an OPIA advisor to talk about your options and come up with a game plan.

Step Five: Funding, Visas, and Housing (beginning in January and continuing through April)

Step Five: Funding, Visas, and Housing (beginning in January and continuing through April)

Step Six: Making the Most of Your Summer (beginning in Spring and continuing through Summer)

Step Six: Making the Most of Your Summer (beginning in Spring and continuing through Summer)

The Latest for 1Ls from OPIA's Blog

The Latest for 1Ls from OPIA's Blog

COVID-19 Updates (As of March 23, 2020)

March 23, 2020

The health and safety of our community is our top priority. In light of Harvard’s evolving guidance regarding COVID-19, we are moving our programming and advising appointments to remote access. Learn how OPIA is adjusting its services.

OPIA/OCS Spring Mock Interview Program (SMIP) – Postponed

OPIA/OCS Spring Mock Interview Program (SMIP) – Postponed

March 23, 2020

Due to all the adjustments to our programs in light of COVID-19, OCS and OPIA will be postponing our joint mock interview program until after this spring. Students who have already scheduled mock interviews through the program may go through with them or reschedule.

Antitrust Open Class – DOJ AAG Guest Speaker

March 5, 2020

Professor Antonia Apps will be opening up her White Collar Criminal Law and Policy class to all of HLS on April 22 in WCC 1015, 3-5 pm when she hosts Makan Delrahim – an Assistant Attorney General at the Department of Justice (Antitrust Division). Any HLS student interested in antitrust is welcome to attend.

1L E-Advising Series: Choosing Clinics, Courses, and Extracurriculars for 2L Year

February 28, 2020

We are often asked by students interested in public service work about how to weigh their wide-ranging academic options while in law school. Our advice gives broad guidance on the choices you may be contemplating.