Hi everyone; I hope I've posted in the right section. This question is for those graduating in the class of 2011, no matter what law school you are at. We are rising 3Ls. Can somebody please give me an honest picture of what the employment prospects are for this graduating class? I know you are all still students but I'm sure somebody out there knows more than I do. I am a 2L right now at a top 50 law school. There are people I know who have multiple job offers for this summer at law firms (I am not sure which ones) and those people who can barely land unpaid internships. For those people without a firm job this summer, what are chances something will come up in late summer or Fall of 2010 that will lead to something at graduation? I am asking because I am seriously questioning where law school is going for me. I am a 2L right now on my school law review with median grades (not spectacular, just middle of the road student)and I came to law school seeking a patent law career, but since none of the firms I wanted are hiring (either that or they say I don't have enough experience), I question what I am doing in law school. I have a Master's degree in biochemistry and molecular biology and I do not really feel there is anything out there for me in the legal field. What does everyone think? I would appreciate some response.
There is a path in the law for you. The real question is one of personal choice: do you like law more than you did biochemistry and molecular biology? This isn't a crank question, actually, as the path (and the difficulties in getting set on that path) might well depend on your answer.
In a better market you might have luck in an IP firm, and this too might change, but as you've seen that is a highly specialized field. Rather that attempting to find an IP firm, if you do like the connections among your three fields, you might open the possibilities up to smaller and mid-sized firms specializing in technology clients, or in corporate departments, or in government agencies. Broadening this will have a number of advantages, not least that the you might find the work quite interesting.
Moreover, the work can come from surprising directions. So, for example, there might be environmental agencies (clients, corporate projects) with a need for regulatory compliance, navigation, and so on. You're looking for that unique combination of legal and technical training.
The downside, obviously, is that this is going to require some legwork. One way to do this is to call or email anyone you know who's involved in any of the areas of your expertise (undergrad and Master's degree profs, law profs, supervisors, you name it).
You might also read Insider's Guide to Getting a Big Firm Job for tips on what to do once you get those interviews.
An upbeat assessment: were I to look at your resume, I would be impressed. Not just because of the specific background (as that would be beyond the immediate needs), but more for the signs of intelligence and dedication. Having undergraduate and graduate degrees in a science or technology field, and having gone through and passed the law review write-on . . . these are things to be very, very proud of.
To paraphrase someone famous, "Yes, you can."
I hope this helps,