Along with the rest of you, I am worried about the sour economy and the effect it will have on my job prospects. Not only are there fewer jobs available, but firms are applying pressure even to those that receive summer offers.
This is not a time to sit idly or bury my head until springtime.
So off I went to Career services to take advantage of the UC Hastings Alumni Mentor Program, which pairs up interested students with alum that have similar interests. While the program isn't directly about finding the student a job, the process is a great opportunity to ask a practicing attorney questions about real life layering in a specific field. The mentor may reveal practice areas you didn't know existed, or may help you realize that your dream job probably won't mix well with your dream social life. All in all, the process seems very cool, and will give students a better idea about how and where to search for jobs.
The only problem is that our program is also very popular.
It took about 30 seconds to realize that I wasn't the only one hitting up Career Services when I tried to book a meeting with director of our Alumni Mentor Program and a week's worth of available meeting times had been snatched up within 20 minutes of becoming available. Insane, I know. It looks like there are lots of students trying to squeeze every ounce of help from Career Services.
Anyway, I did an initial screening of potential mentors by flipping through a dozen resume binders and compiled a sizable list of names that sounded interesting on paper. I then presented the names to the director of the program and he gave me a short summary of each person's personality, specifics of their practice area, and any non-career details that overlap with my personal life.
The thing that surprised me is that even though I limited the search to a specific practice area, and narrowed it down even further by only selected individuals that seemed interesting to me, each attorney had wildly different careers. Not only that, but they all took a different path to end up in their current career. Some worked in Biglaw, others worked from home. Some had bounced around from firm to firm and others had stayed put for their entire career. Out of 15 names, there was very little overlap in the path each took before they ended up in a position where they felt successful enough to share their experiences and answer questions from the next generation of Hastings alum.
If nothing else, the variety of mentor experiences is reassuring. I left feeling like a JD is flexible and gives you options beyond OCI. Despite big firms dissolving left and right, there is more than one way to end up as a happy attorney. This 2L welcomes hearing stories about non-OCI success stories. We can finally stop panicking about OCI and start focusing on what really matters: panicking about finding a nontraditional career path.