I've posted here before both as an AP and under my forum name. I thought I would share my story for whatever it's worth, esp as I scale back from visiting the site since I don't know how much I can contribute.
To give background, I graduated w/ honors from a CCN. Unfortunately, I struck out twice at 2L OCI. After the first year of law school, I went into a major depression that reached a high point after completing striking out at my first 2L OCI and becoming suicidal. It was at that point I started more intensive therapy as well as medication. The second semester of that year I went part time and joined a day program at a city medical center, which included group therapy and DBT almost everyday while I took classes afterward. I was unsuccessful that year of obtaining a firm job, and took a gov job w/ a state atty while pretty much all my friends, who had become increasingly toxic w/ 2L were working in biglaw. I came back after that summer as a partial 2L, so I was able to do 2L OCI again. Unfortunately, while I got some callbacks, I failed to secure a position in a law firm, and took a bs fed reg job in an unknown agency. Throughout this course, I continued to go in and out of major depression and suicidal thinking, even though I was continuing intensive treatment. I tried various methods of obtaining a job, including networking in specific industries that was well beyond what any law student ever does, and at significant expense that included paying an outside career counselor who was ultimately useless. School had no idea what to do w/ me, and seemed to want to just dump me, as it does with all its failures. For my final semester, 3L OCI was a complete joke and I never secured anything.
Fortunately, my school had a fellowship program, which I was able to secure in Feb before I took the bar exam. The fellowship, while providing exp, was a very difficult place as it did I was its first and only fellow, and was treated quite poorly bureaucratically. It was also clear there was no future there for me. Throughout the fellowship, I continued to network and take interviews, to come out w/ no success. As the fellowship was coming to a close, it was increasingly apparent that I would finish w/out a job lined up and likely have to move home once my lease expired and take another bar exam. As you can imagine, this magnified my depression, and prolly for the first real time, I made a much more actual commitment to kill myself. It was only after seeing how devastating it would be to people who weren't even that close to me, both from comments on here as well as in real world, and hearing my sister cry as I told her my plans, that I moved back from that brink.
Towards the final weeks of my fellowship, I was able to secure an interview for a similar agency continuing the same work, even though I was not exactly what they were looking for (they advertised for a person w/ more exp and a technical degree). Unfortunately, when my fellowship ended, I kinda continued volunteering under the radar, but was suddenly and unceremoniously terminated on less than a day's notice. All the while I was waiting to hear from that agency. Finally, after weeks of waiting, I was given a conditional offer. It was conditional b/c they still needed to get budget approval from another department. So I was stuck in limbo, but with things kinda looking up. It wouldn't be till much over two months later that I was given a full offer, and I started the new job recently.
While I am happy to finally have landed a job, and a good one at that being govt and the lawyers unionized, there is still a lot of lingering doubt and bad feeling. I still feel butt hurt about not getting into biglaw like students from my law school are supposed to, and significant friction and toxicity that people who were once my friends became as they continued in big law while I was treated as second class. It didn't help that many people had no understanding of depression and how messed up things were when I was constantly changing meds for a year. I also have no idea where this new job will take me, what exp I will get, or what my future will be like, and of course not making as much money as my big law classmates and not being in the "ideal" setting. There is also much anger that the networking and industry focus I did really did not contribute to how things turned out, so significant regret over all those costs. And like many others, I have significant law school debt and credit card debt that I will need to figure out how to pay while living in a city that is not cheap. I have also discontinued therapy, but I still take meds, and those demons will be there and the exp I went through, including losing a friend to suicide, will stay with me. But things did work out eventually in a strange, circuitous, and fucked up way.
As I said earlier, I don't know if my story can give hope or whatever. I was fortunate to have many privileges that I know others don't, including coming from a CCN w/ a fellowship program, a family that was willing to bear some of the financial burden of living and medical treatment that my fellowship and loans could not cover, and living in a city that had some of the best medical treatment in the world. One thing that did help that I would recommend to anyone, and what I wish I had done during law school, is joining meetups/clubs/gyms outside the fucking law school. It made a big difference when I joined a non-school affiliated gym and meetups, where I met people who weren't insane law students or lawyers.
The only thing I can say in the end is just have to keep trying. It will be an absolute bitch and many, if not most people, will not understand the hell you are going through, which sucks and makes it worse. You will also be treated like shit by many people, whether employers or peers. Do be open to getting medical and psych help, including group therapy, and know that suicide really does fuck w/ people. Law is a hell of a field. At one point, everyone in the day program with me were either lawyers/law students, or the child of a lawyer. Make friends who aren't lawyers, and just take one day at a time and keep trying. I really do hope everyone the best and will contribute however I can, including answering any questions people may have in response to this. Good luck and god speed.