“So, why’d you go to law school?” Oftentimes, the answer to this question is “to make a difference” or “to promote justice.” Every year, scores of people are led to law school by a desire to make a difference in the world and to give back to their communities. However, once in law school, these same individuals are often perplexed as to how to actually make a public interest career a reality. While the path to law firm careers seems to be paved and well marked, the road to public interest careers is a more complex terrain. Take, for example, on-campus interviews. For every one public interest employer, there are likely to be 10 or more big law firms recruiting, and the public interest employers who do come to campus are usually government agencies.
Rebecca A. Clark admits she was stunned into tears by a three-student panel discussion on handling family life during her law school orientation. “It was not a positive presentation,” says the 2008 graduate now employed at the Law Office of James B. Palmquist III in Medina, Ohio. “It was very dark, with panelists saying things like, ‘I have not gone to a movie in three years’ and ‘My family went to Disney World, but all I did was study.’ I left crying, got into my car, and called my husband. I said, ‘I am never going to make it!’ He told me not to listen to those people and to go back into the orientation. I did, and I said to myself, ‘I am not going to be like those students.’ And I was not.”
Planning, persistence, and determination are essential ingredients in every legal job search. Jobs—summer or permanent—aren’t secured by luck. Even the right-place-at-the-right-time stories have a backstory of someone seizing an opportunity, cultivating a relationship, or taking initiative to be in that right moment.
Sometimes, despite our best intentions, we are our own worst enemies when it comes to professional behavior. We agree to take on projects we aren't interested in and don't want to complete. We schedule more work in one day than we can possibly accomplish. We agree to do a favor for a friend when we really don't have the expertise or the time to follow through.
Law students often hit a slump in early March. The excitement of a new semester has worn off. The initial interest in learning a new legal topic has waned, And everything has settled into the too-familiar routine.
On a 400-acre dairy farm east of Pittsburgh is where Lindsey Harteis spent the first 18 years of her life.
Take the time to learn your craft and do good work.
Student access to Westlaw or Lexis, clinics, success tip.
Stephan Pastis has been drawing comic strips since he was a little kid. Without any formal training, he created cartoons for every school newspaper from elementary school through law school.
The year 2012 has arrived and it's time to take control over your future! Some of you have just completed your first semester of law school, while others are preparing for your final semester. No matter what type of law student you are, the ABA as the resources you need to succeed.