AI’m a 1L at a TTT school (peanut gallery: keep the derogatory comments to a minimum please) with a median GPA, so transferring right now is out of the question. I’ve had a summer clerkship for a federal court judge out of state, and I have absolutely no desire to go BigLaw after seeing how miserable it has made my father and other people that I know.
At the same time, I don’t want to end up an ambulance chaser. I worked for a borderline one, and I ended up loathing him—plus the ethical issues ended up giving me nightmares. Ideally, I’d like to work for a boutique firm (entertainment law is preferable because the legal side is actually interesting, and I want to keep struggling performers from getting screwed like so many of my friends have) or for the government.
Yes, I’m more focused on being a lawyer and doing lawyerly things than making money. But lately I’ve been feeling down because of my grades and all of the chatter out there about how if you’re from TTT, the closest you’ll come to a courtroom is when you’re fighting the repo man from taking your meager possessions.
I like the law and am committed to what I want to do (for the most part), but the severe focus on money and the constant berating of anyone who isn’t from a T14 with a 3.9 GPA has made depression set in, to say the least. Should I keep my debt to a minimum, just bail out after the summer and go seek employment serving my government/community elsewhere? Or is there hope outside of BigLaw for people who aren’t anywhere near an HYS 4.0?
ATake a deep breath and repeat after me: There is hope outside of BigLaw. There is hope outside of BigLaw. In fact, if you ask me, there’s a lots more hope outside of BigLaw than inside of BigLaw. But that’s another story.
Law is obviously a snobby, elitist profession. Fact. Schools, grades, Law Review all matter. Fact.
It’s frustrating, I know, but that’s the way it is. Why? Because all of these annoying, objective criteria actually matter. I mean, if you were hiring from law schools, wouldn’t you want to select the best of the best? I would.
Having said that, it actually doesn’t really matter that much. Honestly. I know that sounds paradoxical, but it isn’t. Schools and grades matter to BigLaw for students coming out of school. But schools and grades don’t matter when it actually comes to being a successful lawyer.
Clearly, great lawyers come from all walks of life and all law schools. It’s just that when you’re in law school—and reading websites like Bitter Lawyer—you start to think that everyone in the world went to Yale, clerked for the Supreme Court, and speaks 12 languages.
The good news: According to your email, you have no interest in BigLaw. So what’s this problem? This whole resume inferiority complex thing you have going is a total waste of time. Like I said, the only part of the law is relentlessly elitist is BigLaw. The rest of the legal world doesn’t really care. They’re too busy working to worry about grades or the U.S News rankings.
As for this part:
”But lately I’ve been feeling down because of my grades and all of the chatter out there about how if you’re from TTT, the closest you’ll come to a courtroom is when you’re fighting the repo man from taking your meager possessions.”
I couldn’t disagree more. TTT grads live in the courtroom. They’re DA’s, PD’s, plaintiffs’ attorneys, litigation generalists, etc. In other words, they’re real lawyers, doing real things.
BigLaw chumps (like I was) are doc bitches who draft and review memos and documents for the first five years of their career. If they actually get to go to court, they’ll be sitting in the back, keeping their mouths shut. It’s more like a field trip than an actual litigation experience.
No one can tell you what makes sense for your career. If you really want to make a difference (and you really like law), there’s no reason not to finish your education and pursue your dreams. But no matter what, don’t ever let a bunch of dorky BigLaw blog-frequenting snots and trolls dissuade you from finishing school or chasing your dreams.