My next interview subject is “Pearlman,” a jobless 3L with government and private sector experience who is now pinning her hopes on the public sector.
Ed. Note: If you are interested in participating in an email survey on your job search experiences, please contact us.
Disclaimer: To encourage candid responses we’ve used pseudonyms to disguise the interviewees’ identities.
Pearlman: Med school didn't work out, so I tried being a paralegal after I graduated college and it seemed like it might be a good fit.
Brian: Can you give me a brief rundown of the jobs you've had in law school or the route(s) you've pursued?
Pearlman: During my first summer I worked at the California Chamber of Commerce, my second summer I worked at a private firm that took on plaintiffs' securities class action suits. This year, I've externed at the AG's office and am now at a local state courthouse.
Brian: Why haven't these worked out? (i.e. Why don't you have a job now?)
Pearlman: Well, I'm still hoping the AG might work out, but I can't apply until after I graduate. I didn't get an offer from my job this past summer, but I wasn't that surprised. Going in they told us that they would only offer jobs to one or two people, and they did just that. Would have been nice to get an offer, though, of course.
Brian: Are you depressed/discouraged yet? Do you feel like it's the economy's fault and not yours?
Pearlman: I'm sometimes depressed, always discouraged. I totally blame the economy because that's easier, but sometimes I wish I had made different decisions that would have given me better job prospects now.
Read the rest of Dawes' interview, in which she talks about while she'll likely "go government" or "get creative," after the jump.
Brian: How has your search for a job impacted your personal life?
Pearlman: I'm not looking for jobs at all right now, so it doesn't impact my personal life at all. I'm definitely more focused on trying to get good grades though so at least I have that when I'm applying for jobs after graduation.
Brian: What does your family think about you not having a job? Are they freaked out? Supportive?
Pearlman: I think at first my parents blamed me more for not having a job, but they've realized that the economy is just really horrible right now and have been really supportive lately.
Brian: Are there any types of firms or government agencies that you feel are hiring with more frequency than others?
Pearlman: I don't feel like anyone is hiring, but I do feel like I will have slightly more likelihood of success applying for government jobs than private firms.
Brian: What are your plans if you get to the point, say you've taken the bar, and you still don't have a job lined up?
Pearlman: Keep applying I guess? Maybe thinking of alternate job options or applying to go back to school for something else to bolster my law degree.
Brian: Would you consider trying an "alternative career" outside or tangentially related to being a lawyer?
Pearlman: Yes, but I haven't really thought of anything. I think the more pressure I get the more creative I'll become.
Brian: Have you found any resources that have helped you (either practically or emotionally) that might help others?
Pearlman: Sorry, nothing.
Brian: What tier is your law school? Do you feel like your career chances have been hurt by your school's ranking? Do you feel like your law school/career center has helped you in your search for a job?
Pearlman: First tier. Yes, I do think that if I was at a better school I would have better job options, but it's all relative. I don't think my career center has been very helpful, but I don't really know if it's even possible for them to be very helpful at this point.
Brian: About what percent of your friends do you think also don't have a job or have lost their jobs?
Pearlman: I think about 60% of my friends don't have jobs. And recently others have had their start dates pushed back.
Brian: Do you still think going to law school is a good idea? Would you recommend it?
Pearlman: I wouldn't recommend it, but I've learned that even if I try to talk people out of law school it doesn't work. There are very few law jobs out there, and the debt is too high to endure law school. But, that being said, I'm not sure what I would recommend doing.