Next up in The Shark’s got hope? interview series is Dawes, a jobless 3L who thought she had a nice job lined up at a large, well-known law firm, but was no-offered for “macroeconomic reasons.”
Disclaimer: To encourage candid responses we’ve used pseudonyms to disguise the interviewees’ identities.
Brian: Why did you come to law school?
Dawes: Because I was tired of being a secretary with a college education. I’d always thought about it, but took 2 years off before deciding to go. Wanted more job options/security - ha.
Brian: Can you give me a brief rundown of the jobs you’ve had in law school or the route(s) you’ve pursued?
Dawes: Public interest, small law firm, big law firm
Brian: Why haven’t these worked out? (i.e. Why don’t you have a job now?)
Dawes: The only one of those 3 that could have actually ended up providing a position is the big law firm. I honestly had no warning that I wouldn’t get an offer. I was told it was due to “macroeconomic reasons,” but they certainly didn’t warn me of any two weeks before in my final end of summer review when they said they loved me and “hoped to work with me in the future.”
Brian: Are you depressed/discouraged yet?
Dawes: I’m discouraged, but not depressed. I’m just not really sure what to do about my situation and wonder at what point I should totally give up on having a law-related job.
Read the rest of Dawes' interview, in which she seems to be cautiously optimistic about her future and not so bitter about her law school experience, after the jump.
Brian: What does your family think about you not having a job? Are they freaked out? Supportive? Do they still think law school was a good idea?
Dawes: My family has been very supportive. They’re also all lawyers so they can’t really look down on law school. Eventually, the economy has to improve and the investment in a JD will work out. It’s just the initial few years that we’re all worried about.
Brian: Are there any types of firms or government agencies that you have felt are hiring with more frequency than others?
Dawes: Everyone says small to mid-sized, but I’m really not finding that’s true. I think being in CA and asking about state agencies isn’t the best right now since our state is in the shitter.
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?
Dawes: Contract/temp work.
Brian: Would you consider trying an “alternative career” outside or tangentially related to being a lawyer? If so, what ideas are you thinking about?
Dawes: I think I’ll have to eventually, but really worry that it’ll mean I can’t come back to the law since I’m not getting the initial training people look for down the line.
Brian: Have you found any resources that have helped you (either practically or emotionally) that might help others?
Dawes: Not really.
Brian: 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?
Dawes: My school has dropped a lot in rankings since I arrived, but I don’t know that firms are actually aware of it. I think my career center is in a tough position. In general, I don’t have much confidence in them, but it just seems like no one is hiring, so there isn’t much they can do. Yes career chances have been affected by ranking. My school is well-regarded, but just can’t really compete with the top 20.
Brian: About what percent of your friends do you think also don’t have a job/have lost their jobs?
Brian: Do you still think going to law school is a good idea? Would you recommend it? If you had to do it all over again would you go?
Dawes: I would still go. I’ve met a lot of great people.