jgadsden wrote:
(cont'd)
I recently had this conversation with a handful of recent graduates. After speaking with them, I was not surprised some did not get jobs. For the majority of them, their job "searches" were limited to emailing cookie cutter resumes to a hodge podge of firms. They were addressed to "dear Hiring partner." They relied on their law school's career service listings. Their resumes mirrored those found in the career services example book. They never took part in clinics, bar association events or career oriented seminars during law school. They didn't spend their summers working and networking. They never approached alumni. Many went straight from high school to college to law school. Only a few had any real job experiences.
I could have easily fallen into this hole of self loathing misery. I graduated from a lower tiered school. I was an evening student. I worked during the days and took classes at night. I wasn't a law review, cum laude graduate. To make matters worse, I decided to practice law in a state where law jobs were few and far between compared to the offerings in the neighboring meccas of Boston and New York City. My law school contacts, career service leads and my friends were all in New York. Here, I was starting from scratch.(Did I mention walking up hill, both ways in blizzards and that I lived in a log cabin?"
Granted, it was tough. When I didn't land a job my first few months out, I decided to take on an internship at a small firm for experience. To pay the bills, I spent my nights working as a bar DJ. Every time I started feeling sorry for myself, I thought of my father coming to this country as an immigrant. He had nothing. I wasn't exactly standing in a soup line at the local shelter. I had a law degree. I passed the bar. All I needed was a client and I was in business.
Thankfully, my sacrifices paid off. I would eventually provide my own salary. I became a rainmaker of sorts. I joined civic and bar associations. I did pro bono work for the experience. I reminded family and friends that I was a lawyer. I didn't wait for career services to find me a job. I networked. I pounded the pavement. I did contract work. As my experience and client base grew, so did my salary. Word of mouth spread. The money I made, I put into the firm's marketing efforts. I gave seminars. I started a blog. I created a website. I developed a niche practice. In two years, I had made partner.
Law practice isn't for everyone. It can be very stressful. But it can also be extremely rewarding. To be successful in law practice, you can't be doing it just for the promise of a big paycheck. I know several people who entered law school for just that reason. They never had an interest in practicing law. For most lawyers, it's a love / hate relationship. And it beats digging ditches.
Besides, since when did a law degree guarantee you a BMW in your driveway and a huge salary in your wallet. Neither does a teaching degree, an engineering degree or any other degree. Would you tell your kid not to go to college because its a tough job market? A law degree will still open doors for you. If you think the market is tough with an advanced degree, imagine the market without it.
There is no doubt about it. Law school can be a miserable experience. What's your point? Nothing is going to be handed to you. Not every law student will find work on Park Avenue. No likes hard work. But hard work can lead to great things. There are countless directions you can go with a law degree. Even if you can't find a job you can always hang your own shingle. That's what is great about having a legal degree. The possibilities are endless. To paraphrase Ben Franklin, you are only guaranteed the right to the pursuit of happiness. You have to catch it yourself.
Where did you cut and paste this from? Nice story. Similar to most successful people who simply don't take no for an answer. The American dream is alive and well in the US.