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Messages - uh huh.

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I did a bunch of interviewing this year as well, and I have received a few handwritten notes from candidates the day after their interview.  One even sent hers FedEx. While I'm ok with e-mail thank you notes, I think the handwritten ones are a particularly nice touch, and I did let the hiring partners know about that.  But then again, I am very old-school.

Something to think about - remember that your classmates are your future colleagues, and that your law career starts now, not when you graduate.  You may want to consider that now is the time to start marketing yourself (especially given the economy and the fact that legal jobs are kind of scarce).  I'm not saying that you have to dress in a suit and tie every day, but the way you present yourself is a huge part of doing business.  You might want to consider at least shaving every other day.

getfit, have you considered working with a career counselor of some kind?  I mean, no one ever knows whether what they choose to major in is really what they want to do until they actually do it. But if one takes stock of their strengths, weaknesses, likes and dislikes, they should be able to make a reasonable guess, especially if one is of a more mature age and has had some life experience under his or her belt.  Maybe a career counselor, or even a life coach, can help you make some educated decisions and help you plan for your next steps. 


Why did you think it would be a good match for you, when you decided to go? 

For me, the law is a good fit partially because it allows me to use many of the skills that I developed in my prior career (advertising sales).  In fact, I observed during the week I shadowed my friend that the advertising sales process has many parallels to the litigation process.  I had spent over a decade learning to communicate with clients, negotiate with adversaries, and essentially advocate on my clients' behalf; and while I didn't like my job, my dislike had nothing to do with the tasks I had to perform and skills I had to use.  There were actually some aspects of my old career that I liked very much.

The reason I left my old my career was due to the lack of mental stimulation.  I could do my job in my sleep, and I was bored to tears and miserable.  Making money and reaching new sales quotas just wasn't a big enough challenge for me anymore.  What I really needed was to use my brain, to twist it into little knots trying to figure out how to spin an argument, to help clients solve bigger problems than how many spots they wanted to buy on my radio stations.  And that's what I have with my career now.

Truth be told, there are many careers I could have chosen that would have given me the intellectual engagement that I need.  I always thought I'd make an excellent engineer (I'm very good with math and science), and if I could have gone back in time to college, I might have chosen that route, and I probably would have been quite happy.  But to pursue that in my mid-30s would have been very difficult due to the fact that I had no science background; I really HAD to find something that would allow me to use the skills I already acquired.  Going to law school just made sense considering my circumstances.

As a non-traditional law school graduate and practicing attorney, I must say that going to law school because you need a "quick career change" is the absolute wrong reason to go to law school. Like some other posters have pointed out, the expense, opportunity cost, and sheer emotional and energy investment is simply too great (especially at this point in your life) to take on law school without a concrete reason why you think this career is a good match.  Before I made the decision to go, I did extensive research by reading a great number of law-school related books, speaking with attorneys that I knew, and shadowing one that is a friend for a week.  I also did a detailed cost analysis to see if the move would be financially worth it.  Finally, I contacted and visited every school I was interested in before I even applied and observed several classes at those schools.

For what it's worth, I spent 12 years before law school in a job I really truly hated, so I understand how you feel.  It's like the walls are caving in on you, and you want to do anything to escape.  But trust me, law school is not an escape; it's a destination that you really should head towards purposefully because you want to be a lawyer.  And you won't know if you really want to be a lawyer unless you talk to other lawyers about what they really do every day.  Very little of what I do every day is glamorous like the stuff you see on TV; in fact, most people would find it painfully tedious and way too detail-intensive.  Fortunately for me, I have a real taste for minutia, so I love what I do.  But it definitely is not for everyone.

Current Law Students / Re: Blowing off Write-on?
« on: May 22, 2009, 09:06:56 AM »
Not to be alarmist here, and trust me, I'm all for doing what's right for your given circumstances in life, but unless you have a guaranteed job for after graduation, or you go to HYS, you'll probably need every credential possible on your resume given the current economy.  No, getting on journal and being on journal is not fun.  I loathed it.  But look at the big picture here - unless you have a list of other things that you do that expand your experience, is pure laziness and mental fatigue really a good reason to give up now?

Current Law Students / Re: Overall most important post-1L course?
« on: May 22, 2009, 09:00:06 AM »
I think it totally depends on what specialty you think you're going into, or at least what types of tasks you think you prefer doing (litigation/research work, as opposed to drafting/corporate work).  Frankly, I took evidence and found it highly useless, but then again, I'm not a litigator.  I think that any practitioner could benefit from a UCC/Article 9 class.  And I think I've gotten the most mileage from my Real Estate Transaction class - I bring that outline up at least once a month.

Current Law Students / Re: Tips for law review write-on?
« on: May 22, 2009, 07:48:07 AM »
I think the thing that helped me most was to bluebook all of my sources, long and short forms, before even reading the problem.  That way, I was familiar with what sources I actually had before reading the problem, and I had the most important part of the competiton done (bluebooking was worth 60% of our write-on grade).  If bluebooking is worth less than the writing, bluebooking first can still help you because it's just one less thing you'll have to worry about as you (inevitably) edit with clock winding down to the last minute.

Current Law Students / Re: Law student journal?
« on: May 22, 2009, 07:42:54 AM »
If you weren't talking about law school publications, what were you referring to?  Do you have a link so that we can try to figure it out and answer your question?

I would really like to learn how to be a non useless lawyer when I graduate but I do not see any law school course offerings that will help me accomplish this goal besides "native american arrowhead law" and "gender and the law." who says that 40 grand a year for law school isn't worth it.

clinics and externships.  they're something, anyway.

You can also try to get a part-time job as a law clerk for a small law firm or solo pratice.  They are always looking for cheap labor, and you'd likely be given the opportunity to do real lawyering type tasks (like drafting parts of memoranda or contracts).  That was my experience when I was a law clerk.

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