February 12, 2004

Tales from 2Ls on the Job Search


A ran into a 2L friend-of-a-friend on the street yesterday. She was in a suit. "You look nice, did you have an interview today?" I asked. "No, I'm externing for a judge this semester," she replied. We talked about her experience with the judge and whether she thought it was worth it.

Then I asked, "So, you're not interviewing for spring OCI, I assume that means you already have a job lined up?" I expected her to quickly answer yes. She's got a great technical undergraduate degree, work experience, and I her grades are quite good.

"No, I did fall OCI, I got a few callbacks and interviewed quite a bit on-site, but none of it worked out. The economy is just really bad right now. I want to work for a big firm and it's really competitive. If I had to do it all over again, I'd send letters to the firms that didn't select me for OCI. Now, it's hard because most of them have filled all of their open positions. In years past at least a third of the OCI participants have gotten positions, this year, it's closer to 25% or maybe even 10%."

She seemed to believe that next year it would be much easier for her with her externship under her belt. This summer, she may just continue her work with the judge. I wished her well and walked away, my head spinning.

Oh, wow. I started to stress out even more at that news. Clearly, I can't give up any of the resume fodder or schoolwork. I had no idea that the market was so much worse these days. Sure, I've been getting my share of the we-don't-want-no-stinkin'-one-L-letters, but I've also received a few that say, send us your resume, writing samples, and we'll call you.


A friend of mine from undergrad is also a 2L. H and I went out to dinner with him last night. He's more of the chill, occasional pot-smoker type, who you don't see much of in law school. I asked about his summer plans.

"Oh, you know, I gave myself an hour, went to the career center and selected every firm in the city that didn't require a cover letter. I sent out my resumes and writing samples, and did a few OCI interviews as a result of that in the fall. You know, mainly small firms, but whatever, I wasn't about to do cover letters, I'm too busy." (He is.)

"One of them called me back after OCI and offered me the job. I know for a fact that one of my classmates got the offer before me and turned it down. A few other people probably did as well. But, I don't really care. They seem like a cool firm, I was myself during the interviews and I laughed with the associates and partners, so I'm happy. So, yeah, that's what I'll be doing this summer. At least it's a decent-paying position, last semester I made $12 an hour, which was less than I'd made since high school. Ridiculous."

He also warned that OCI rules your life for a few weeks in the fall, regardless of how chill your approach is.

Somewhere in the middle of quality of life issues (#2) and focus on school and all of the herd-mentality resume fodder that I'll be needing (#1) is the rationale for while I'll be spending one night a week near school in the near future. I'm not quite as chill as #2, but I don't know if I'm as driven as #1, either. I couldn't define my search entirely on a low barrier to entry (I am not that cool), but if I hadn't gotten a job with one of my ideal firms by the end of fall OCI, I think I'd be persuing any other option available to me.

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