Q) I’m a “rising” 3L at a T1 university, a journal editor, a “B/B+” student, and a social caterpillar–I haven’t done enough in the way of networking to substantiate “butterfly” status, yet. I’m personable, make friends easily, and have always fared well in face-to-face interviews. Oh, and I’ve completely and utterly pissed away both law-school summers.
My first semester as a 1L (chiefly my torts class) derailed any plans I had that were contingent upon self-confidence; i.e., all of them. That isn’t to say that I didn’t understand the material. I was broad-sided by the final exam–my first law school exam–wherein I mysteriously omitted all discussion of legal duty. This was sufficient to earn me my first “C” since the undergraduate chemistry class that I attended three times. Although my other grades were average-to-respectable, that “C” and it’s four credit hour weight pulled me in to the low-middle third of the class, and sent me on a mental death spiral in to a world of self-loathing.
I only signed up for two on-campus interviews that Spring, and both interviewers gave me the same funny look when they saw the grade sheet. “You want us to pay you instead of that 3.8 standing in the hallway?” I was defeated before I knocked on the door. And I knew it.
So, in an effort to salvage what little appreciation for joy I still retained, I opted to turn my 1L summer in to my last “hoorah” as a free man. It seemed like a questionable idea at the time. Now it seems downright repulsive.
Along comes 2L Fall semester, and I manage to skip right over the opportunity to sign up for 2L on-campus interviews. My grades had substantially improved during the second semester of my first year and I had even received accolades for my performance in a mock appellate trial, but I wasn’t “feeling” any of the firms that were interviewing. As the 2L year progressed, I was interviewed and selected to be an editor of our journal, and my grades were stabilizing within a good range. Things were looking up for me.
So I wasted my 2L summer, too.
That’s right. Zero work experience. No internship. Didn’t even interview. I fired off a few late-in-the-game resumes and cover letters, but the kindest response I got was an apology: “I not only read [your cover letter and resume] all the way through, I wish I had openings to discuss with you.” Maybe I could become a cover-letter drafter?
And now I sit here, approximately one month prior being a full-fledged 3L, wondering what the hell is going to happen. I’ve signed up for interviews beginning in August, but I really question my odds. Would a small firm potentially bring on a newly-graduated JD as a summer associate? Wouldn’t that conflict with bar study-time? What’s a jackass like me supposed to do at this point? Thanks.
A) You got your work cut out for you, brother. Your story sounds a little fishy. Especially your second year summer. You weren’t “feeling” the firms so you didn’t sign up for on campus interviews? If you had some alternate plan in mind, I get it. If you didn’t, you’re just a douchebag.
I’m all for “last hoorahs” and being a “free man” but your email makes you sound excessively frivolous and irresponsible. Anyway, to the question:
Here’s the good news: The game ain’t over yet. You still have a chance to find a decent job. It won’t be easy, and you’ll need a rational reason for being a 3rd year with no relevant work experience. “I decided to travel through Asia and learn Mandarin.” Or, “I helped build hospitals in Kenya.”
If I were you, I’d find some half-assed legal job the day you get back to school and stick that on my resume. At least you can talk about THAT in your interviews. My only other advice is, focus on small and medium-sized firms. You have no chance at finding a job in BigLaw. None. So don’t even waste your time.
PS: It’s highly unlikely a firm would hire a newly minted JD as a summer associate. To be brutally honest, the fact that you’re even considering that is sort of sad. Suck it up and find a REAL job – not a summer gig.