Well, I found out today that nearly 40% of our class has accepted full-time offers. Since I'm top third, I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong. I can't study, I can't get anything done in clinic, I'm just... defeated. Gotta pick myself up, I guess, but this didn't help... The most disappointed kind of response from family friend attorney contacts, which is almost every kind that I get:
You have an outstanding resume! In my limited experience with hiring, law firms really like to see attorneys with some life and work experience prior to law school, which you have. I would start truly emphasizing your finance background if you are not already. It distinguishes you from about 90% of the attorneys I’ve met and it will actually be useful wherever you start out.
Have you tried some of the big [hometown] firms like [firm that only hires from Harvard/Yale] or [firm that hires from T14 or top 10% of school I go to only]? You should also try [big firm] in [nearby city] as well as [other big firms that have already rejected me because I'm not top 15%] in [smaller city nearby] - if you are interested in living any of those places. These firms never seem to openly recruit, but they have big business law practices and would probably appreciate your undergrad degree and prior work experience. It’s worth calling the person listed on their recruiting pages if you haven’t already. And, just as a general note, if anyone tells you they aren’t hiring new associates, you should at least mention your position at [Fortune 50 company] and your finance degree. It makes you a little more like a lateral hire, which I think firms are always interested in. If you decide to apply any of these places, let me know and I’ll attempt to find a contact.
A judicial clerkship is always helpful to get your foot in the door as well. I suggested the [Clerkship I attached] because it has several judges who graduated from [my school], but a clerkship anywhere would be fine. I know the Court of Appeals and state Supreme Court just have an open call for resumes instead of posting (or at least that was the case when I was in law school). If that’s still the case, they might not receive many applications from [your school], so it would be worth submitting your resume through that process as well. Target judges who graduated from [your school]. You could also apply to clerk for a court in the [federal CoA that we're in]. Here’s the website for that: https://oscar.uscourts.gov
and I attached the posting for the [nearby] clerkship so you know where to send things.
Again, if you apply anywhere in [these group of states] let me know. I can’t promise I’ll know someone, but I’m glad to check. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if there’s anything else I can do to help.
I don't even know what to say back:
"Thank you for the note. I applied to every one of those firms you mentioned and was rejected without an interview, despite having a close family friend in hiring at one of them. I've applied also to every other firm with > 10 attorneys in those cities, and even made it to THREE rounds of interviews with one, only to have them select someone with a lower GPA than me and no firm experience and someone who has only ever worked as a prosecuting intern. I've been rejected from every district court clerkship I've applied to, and don't have much hope for the one you suggested, but I already sent my application in for that one so I guess its out of my hands. I appreciate your confidence in my ability to even be remotely competitive for state CoA, state SC, and even (LOL) federal CoA clerkships, but its been communicated to us, very clearly, that if you aren't in the top 25% with A's in all your legal writing courses then don't even bother. I've actually applied to several jobs that I technically qualified for when I graduated undergrad, but being that my work experience ended 3 years ago and my undergrad GPA was barely a 3.0, I've been auto-dinged from every one of those positions as well. Except for one, who brought me in for two interviews, said they'd be in touch before Thanksgiving, and have been silent ever since except for a brief acknowledgment from the HR person that she'd "check on it," Oh, I have a lead in a town of about 8,000 though, so there's that. But I was supposed to hear yesterday, and haven't heard anything, so I can only assume they've offered someone else.
So, let me put this to you directly—I need a job, and nothing I've done is working. Please PLEASE call me the minute you hear of someone that is hiring."
I never thought that the most humiliating and defeating part of law school would be the job search.