After graduation, law students face a plethora of
scary alternatives to the student life exciting options. Back in the economic glory days, we called these things "opportunities." Now they are more appropriately characterized as "Things which will stress you out when your mother asks about them." Here at NoSchool, my options basically fall into one of the following categories:
Big Firm: Big money, big hours, big ego. You know. Exactly what you read on Above the Law. There is one guy who actually got that job this year. He has flawless grades and skin, and a cold, icy heart. He is totally having sex with your girlfriend, by the way. 1Ls, look long and hard at this firm, and then look long and hard at your GPA. Most people do not work here. As your first semester grades have not yet come in, you may still be under the delusion that you are not Most People.
Bad news. You probably are. Revisit this post when you get that transcript in- that's a whole 'nother existential crisis we can address this January. I am the captain of the Most People team, High Priestess of the Most People cult. I sent my transcript to Skadden NY and it came back billing 18 hours a day and telling me it was too good for me.
Even if they'd have me, I listen to too much Rancid to fit in at Big Firm, so there we are. Cross it off the list.
Firm Which Actually Hires Human Beings: The rest of us. Small and midsized firms which have not gone out of business, working in midsized markets. I really have nothing to say about this. Work Hard, Play Hard LLP is a FWAHB. They were fun to work for. They also have sent an email every Friday since our last day, regularly assuring us that "decisions will be coming out next week." Who knows what that means, except that I should be seriously considering applying for other jobs.
Federal Government/DOJ: At NoSchool, this is the smart kids who don't like to eat out as much as the Big Firm crowd. Mostly, this equates to agency work and the DOJ. Excellent work ethic, but the charisma is hit or miss in this crowd at NoSchool. If this is what you think you're doing after law school, fellow 3Ls, turn to the guy next to you. He also applied to the DOJ Honors Program. So did everyone else you know. And everyone else I know, clearly.
I would sell my firstborn child to be part of the DOJ Honors Program. Thankfully, the application has a section which prompts the applicants to write "One thing you think the reviewing officer should know about you," so now you and the DOJ both know that my very good genetics are up for sale. The DOJ starts calling applicants for interviews in late September or so, so you can expect my totally emo post about how unemployable I am around that time.
State Government: Apparently some of our graduates work in state government, but because we are a Very Important and National Law School, we don't believe in advertising this fact. Anyway, I'm not sure if you've heard, but everyone everywhere is in a hiring freeze.
LLM/PhD: When in doubt, go for another graduate degree. Keep those student loans in deferment! I have no idea what I would get a degree in, but I am always in support of more school.
Nomadic Herder: My first choice. I like goats. And dirt.
Clerkships: Clerkships are 1 or 2 year fellowships working with a judge. You research, you write opinions, you get to play at being one of the legal elite. I
Clerkships come in two flavors: Federal and state. Federal clerkships are the delicious, highly sought after chocolate of the duo. State clerkships are the under-appreciated vanilla. Tasty, useful for lots of things, but nobody has a vanilla craving. Nobody makes out with their dates because they bought them a box of vanillas.
People totally make out with their dates because they brought them a box of Federal Clerkship. Of the Federal clerkships, you have two options: District Courts (the box of chocolate/clerkship from Hershey) and Appellate Courts (the Godiva box).*
Career Services will tell you that having a clerkship opens doors, teaches you how judges think, and occasionally earns you a clerkship bonus. I am here to tell you, after a summer working with a federal judge, that clerkships enable you to spend all day doing nerdy law things with brilliant people, gives you true insider credentials, allows you to spend all day reading and writing, and lets you spend lots of time with interesting questions. More importantly, it enables you to defer the real world for a year or two. It should come as no great surprise to the regular readers that I have my sights set on a clerkship, on account of the nerd factor.
Anyway, yesterday was the first day that judges could look at clerkship applications. Friday, they will officially be able to start making interview offers, but there are plenty of judges who don't quite abide by this plan, sending out feelers earlier and hiring as they see fit.
Work Hard Play Hard LLP shows no signs of coming through on their airy promises of job offers, and the Department of Justice is unlikely to recognize my inherent greatness, on account of the fact that the whole building is likely to implode under the volume of applications they've recievd this year. But brace yourself, Internet.
Remember back in June, when I was
moaning about applying for federal clerkships?
A judge. Wants to talk. To me. A real judge. And not even a traffic court judge, Internet. A Godiva judge. Apologies in advance to the downstairs neighbors for the excessive squealing and jumping that will be raining down on their sad little heads.
Awesome. I'm going to go out on a limb and call this one an opportunity. And if it falls through, I'm looking into the goat market.
*Please excuse the tortured food analogies. I did not pack a lunch.