I don’t know what the legal profession used to be like, but I feel as though young lawyers have it a bit different today than they did in the past. Maybe in my mind one of those reasons is because somehow I found a way to gain admission to the profession.
My parents and non-lawyer friends think I’m part of this wonderful, elite super group and have trouble understanding why it’s difficult to find a job or why I’m not diving into cash Uncle Scrooge-style. I just let it ride at this point; there’s no point of burdening others with my explanation.
I only graduated from the University of Maryland’s law school in 2009, but it seems to me that, among other things, in the legal profession there is an abundance of unsolicited advice. And I did enjoy listening to everyone’s bar exam advice, I really did. And I’m happy that fellow attorneys are so willing to help to those of us who are just starting out.
However, I have found that, for me at least, listening to the experiences of other attorneys (peers and elders alike) has been more helpful than the advice. Granted, I am a psychology major who genuinely enjoys listening to other people’s problems, but I think it can generally be helpful for everyone.
That being said, here’s a snippet of where I am right now. I’m four weeks in as a legal recruiter. I never pictured myself in a traditional legal career while in law school. I decided to go to law school because I thought it would help me find a law-related job. I had always thought something maybe in policy, or lobbying. During law school, I took advantage of the policy internship programs Maryland offered and was able to intern in the General Assembly and the U.S. Senate for credit.
I never seriously considered clerking or working for a law firm but, with the job market looking bleak, I sent out my resume early and often. I ended up clerking for one of the smartest, kindest judges I have ever met and then landed a job with some incredibly talented, and genuine trial lawyers.
I had great experiences and learned a great deal as an attorney, but my heart was never in litigation. When I was offered an opportunity as a legal recruiter I couldn’t turn it down. Although these past couple years have brought a heck of a lot of transitions (sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night wondering where I live and work) I couldn’t be happier right now.
I hope that by telling you about my experiences it will help you in some way – whether you empathize, are better able to make a decision or just plain feel better about your career/life in comparison. At the very least, I’ll have some interesting anecdotes for you about my experiences in legal recruiting.