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How Goes the FRP?

Open thread.  Let us know what’s going on with your job search.

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I worked at a boutique litigation firm this summer in a mid-sized city.  The firm pays very well for the market, and has great benefits. The partners and attorneys were easy to work with.  The work was stimulating and exciting.  In sum, it was the best 2L gig I could have asked for.  Unfortunately, the work was also slow.  I had to ask for projects almost weekly.  There were a few times when I literally had nothing to do.  In hindsight, this was a bad sign.

When I left, the recruiting attorney told me to expect a decision about an offer within a few weeks.  The call came last week.  When the first words from the caller are “this is one of the hardest calls I’ve had to make,” you  know it’s not going to be good.  In short, I was on the receiving end of the “it’s not you, it’s me routine” a la George Costanza.  The firm simply could not afford to hire another attorney.   The other summer associate did not get an offer either.  The work had slowed down substantially since they gave me an offer last year, and they weren’t expecting it to pick up any time soon.

I was speechless.  Literally, I had no idea what to say, and I stammered quite a bit.  Suffice it to say, the conversation was a little awkward.

The panic and insecurity set in immediately.  What did I do wrong?  I thought I was a fantastic personality fit with the firm.  My work was, I think, as good as can be expected from a person who’s had four semesters of law school.  I sacrificed and moved across the country to take the job.  I have ok grades.  And yet I was no-offered; it was an unexpected punch  to the gut.

Now what?  My wife and I wanted to buy a house.  We were thinking about having kids.  Now we stay up at night faced with a very uncertain future.  Who hires 3Ls?  Where will we be living next year? Will I be stuck in a dead-end job?  How many more cover letters can I write?  I don’t know how many more times can I fake my way through an interview.  “I’ve been interested in [insert practice area here] since I started law school!”

I try to put on a happy face.  I have a lot of things to be grateful for.  I’m not going to starve.  My wife still loves me (thank goodness).  I have a roof over my head.  But I’m still frustrated.  I wish I could direct my anger at someone, at some tangible thing, but who do I blame for this?

In the end, though, I think law school has prepared me for this.  My facetious mantra during my second year was to “expect disappointment.” But there’s some truth to that.  You must have realistic expectations.  Chances are, you’re not going to be in the top ten percent of your class.  Chances are, you won’t be an editor on the law review.  Chances are, you won’t get that job you’ve been dreaming about since before law school.  However, you will likely develop the
mental toughness to overcome disappoint, to work through frustrating times.  I guess we just need to harness those skills and learn from the painful experiences.  Everything will probably work out fine in the end.

— Anonymous

Soda (Pop) Poll

Coke or Pepsi?

Call to Jury Duty Strikes Fear of Financial Ruin

That is a pretty bold headline.  But it also accurately conveys the anxiety that many who are called to serve on a jury feel. Even before recent financial calamities, it was difficult to find jurors because many people can’t afford to be away from their jobs and not receive a paycheck.  Let’s face it – the meager jury service pay that courts give out is simply that – meager.  That doesn’t help pay bills or feed the kids.  Now that financial turmoil has spread to virtually every sector of our economy, the problem is only getting worse.  And it’s not like courts have more money to spend on paying jurors either.  This is a problem.

This is Swampyank's copy of
Image via Wikipedia

So what do we do?  We can keep muddling through the problem and, as the article suggests, call larger jury pools in the hopes of finding more jurors.  Or we can get serious about jury duty, finally.

I empathize with those who can’t afford to serve on a jury. I really do.  But stories like the one above focus on the human interest aspect of the problem at the expense of downplaying the duty aspect of jury duty.  Imagine if the headline had read: Right to Jury Trial Threatened by Financial Crisis.  That has a much different ring to it, doesn’t it?  And it makes the problem much more stark.

Continue Reading »

I was supposed to post this sooner, but as you can see from my last post (below), I’ve been avoiding Sua Sponte for a little bit.

Be sure to check out the latest issue of Nota Bene, available online right over here.  This issue has helpful advice for 1Ls just starting law school, for 2Ls in the middle of FRP interviews, and 3Ls who are looking for any reason to still come to school.

Oh dear.  I guess I can’t put it off any longer.  I have to write my first post of the school year.  Yippee-skippee.  Yay.  Boo.

As the school year starts again, I can’t help but feel ambivalent about the coming year.  No, its not the typical “ugh-school-is-starting-again” syndrome.  And I don’t think  I’m suffering the blues because this year is my last first day of school.  It’s probably  because subconsciously, I’ve resigned myself to have as miserable a year as I did last year.  For a multitude of reasons, last year beat me up pretty bad.  There was a lot of artificially created stress over job searching, journal work, course selection, and all the other tribulations that comes with the law school territory.  Those stresses took a toll on me in more ways than I care to relive.

Ok Fish, so what?  We all suffered through 1L and 2L years, just like you did.  Quit your sobbing.

You’re right.  I don’t mean to complain.  Believe me, I understand that this law school stuff is tough.  I did promise myself that this year would be different, though.  I told myself that I wouldn’t be at school seven days a week anymore.  I told myself that I would take more personal time to relieve the stress of being at school or doing school work all the time.  I told myself that I will  control 3L year – 3L year will not control me.  (Hey, cut me some slack here – everyone has their way of doing things, and silently talking to myself helps me deal).

So why am I so glum?  I’m afraid that no matter what, someway somehow, 3L year will get the best of me.  I hope that I’m wrong, but I have this piercing premonition that I’m not.  That’s why I’m not excited about starting school today.  That’s why I’ve avoided writing a post until I couldn’t escape it anymore.

Well there you have it:  “Hamilton Fish’s Unofficial Official Cry Me a River Story About Law School.”  Coming soon to a theater or stage near you.  I hope the rest of you feel better about starting today than I do.  Good luck to you all and let the games begin!

And just because it’s the first day, here’s a little treat:

Portal Revamped

Log into the portal. Looks nice. Matches the motif of the general website now.