The Vale of Tears (3L Job Hunting) (No advice for 0/1/2Ls)

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SFB222
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Re: The Vale of Tears (3L Job Hunting) (No advice for 0/1/2Ls)

Postby SFB222 » Mon Jan 19, 2015 10:18 pm

kykiske wrote:I've been seeing a therapist. Been seeing one for awhile now, actually.

But the sessions just do not seem to help. I want to believe that things will improve. I want to believe that I've done my absolute best. But if I have been doing my absolute best--in my mind at least--I would not be in this situation.

I blame myself a lot because I just feel so incompetent when compared to my peers. It feels as if I have to expend 10x more effort just to get somewhere near my peers.

For instance, I've clerked at firms in the past. And it just felt like my peers just "got it." Like, they'd immediately impress everyone because of easily they spotted every issue and analyzed every issue--even the ones the attorneys did not think of.

For me, however, I expend way more time, and I still miss issues, and I still feel as if I'm just an incompetent burden that the attorneys have to put up with. And that's the case even though I put in a lot of time and effort.

I just do not have any confidence left in myself.


If it's any help at all, I've been practicing for 3 years now and feel the same way. Sometimes the partner or senior associates will actually think (at least say that) i've done a great job but I definitely don't have that self-reassurance. I suppose it builds over time? Anyone else feel this way or has felt this way in the past but has overcome it?

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jessuf
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Re: The Vale of Tears (3L Job Hunting) (No advice for 0/1/2Ls)

Postby jessuf » Mon Jan 19, 2015 10:27 pm

Sorry to hear that. Being in the vale really changes you psychologically and emotionally in ways that other people dont understand. Most of us in this thread have gone through similar depression, so feel free to vent whenever you want.

Also this took me a really long time to realize, but dont let your job or lack of job define who you are as a person. It should have no influence whatsoever on how you value yourself as a human being. Not having a job right now as a 3L doesnt say anything about you or how successful you are in life or anything like that.

kykiske
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Re: The Vale of Tears (3L Job Hunting) (No advice for 0/1/2Ls)

Postby kykiske » Mon Jan 19, 2015 10:32 pm

Thank you everyone.

I just ... don't know HOW I'm ever supposed to get over my incompetence.

I research, I read things over and over, and I analyze things to the best of my ability. Yet I still somehow miss things. I still somehow have to rely on someone else to watch over me.

That's just one reason why I have no confidence in myself.

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gdane
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Re: The Vale of Tears (3L Job Hunting) (No advice for 0/1/2Ls)

Postby gdane » Mon Jan 19, 2015 11:18 pm

kykiske wrote:Thank you everyone.

I just ... don't know HOW I'm ever supposed to get over my incompetence.

I research, I read things over and over, and I analyze things to the best of my ability. Yet I still somehow miss things. I still somehow have to rely on someone else to watch over me.

That's just one reason why I have no confidence in myself.

How often are you asking questions? Do you really understand the assignments that you're given? It's entirely possible that you miss things because you don't know exactly what you're looking for. Don't be shy to ask questions.

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Re: The Vale of Tears (3L Job Hunting) (No advice for 0/1/2Ls)

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jan 20, 2015 3:17 am

kykiske wrote:Thank you everyone.

I just ... don't know HOW I'm ever supposed to get over my incompetence.

I research, I read things over and over, and I analyze things to the best of my ability. Yet I still somehow miss things. I still somehow have to rely on someone else to watch over me.

That's just one reason why I have no confidence in myself.

I've done pretty well in life so far but still feel similar to you in this respect. A few people I've shared this with tell me I'm comparing myself to such a small subset of the population and it's the negative view that's causing my feelings and I know they are right but I can't help it.
Maybe I'm too used to feeling on top of it all but working has sort of cut that down. I seem to feel like I can be good at school but not at work (even though there isn't much to back that up except my own anxiety).
I probably overestimate how confident my peers feel as well as how clever they are.

Last week some attorneys I work with said they really like and appreciate my work - I gave it pretty much no stock. It didn't boost my confidence. And I'm not one of those people who always has positive feedback but ignores it. I rarely have gotten this type of overtly positive feedback at work. But I still only dwell on the negative - like how lost I felt doing an assignment, how anxious I am about the next task, and an attorney's comments suggesting I could organize a motion I wrote better.

I wish I had real advice but I don't. I just want you to know that you're not alone and its (your competence) is probably not as bad as you think. I made it a goal for 2015 to be more positive, if I can achieve it, I think it will make a huge difference.

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baal hadad
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Re: The Vale of Tears (3L Job Hunting) (No advice for 0/1/2Ls)

Postby baal hadad » Tue Jan 20, 2015 9:03 am

Jessuf wrote:Sorry to hear that. Being in the vale really changes you psychologically and emotionally in ways that other people dont understand. Most of us in this thread have gone through similar depression, so feel free to vent whenever you want.

Also this took me a really long time to realize, but dont let your job or lack of job define who you are as a person. It should have no influence whatsoever on how you value yourself as a human being. Not having a job right now as a 3L doesnt say anything about you or how successful you are in life or anything like that.

Agree. This might sound trite but you are not your khaki pants

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baal hadad
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Re: The Vale of Tears (3L Job Hunting) (No advice for 0/1/2Ls)

Postby baal hadad » Tue Jan 20, 2015 9:03 am

kykiske wrote:I've been seeing a therapist. Been seeing one for awhile now, actually.

But the sessions just do not seem to help. I want to believe that things will improve. I want to believe that I've done my absolute best. But if I have been doing my absolute best--in my mind at least--I would not be in this situation.

I blame myself a lot because I just feel so incompetent when compared to my peers. It feels as if I have to expend 10x more effort just to get somewhere near my peers.

For instance, I've clerked at firms in the past. And it just felt like my peers just "got it." Like, they'd immediately impress everyone because of easily they spotted every issue and analyzed every issue--even the ones the attorneys did not think of.

For me, however, I expend way more time, and I still miss issues, and I still feel as if I'm just an incompetent burden that the attorneys have to put up with. And that's the case even though I put in a lot of time and effort.

I just do not have any confidence left in myself.

Keep goin to the therapist man it helps trust me

keyboardguy
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Re: The Vale of Tears (3L Job Hunting) (No advice for 0/1/2Ls)

Postby keyboardguy » Tue Jan 20, 2015 4:10 pm

Been lurking here for a while now and have my first interview in a number of months. Any advice on how to explain a biglaw summer cold-offer on top of switching practice areas (e.g. lit to corp)? I know not to say anything negative about the summer experience, but it's hard trying to figure out how to best avoid these two hurdles.

Thanks for any help!

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BVest
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Re: The Vale of Tears (3L Job Hunting) (No advice for 0/1/2Ls)

Postby BVest » Tue Jan 20, 2015 5:32 pm

keyboardguy wrote:Been lurking here for a while now and have my first interview in a number of months. Any advice on how to explain a biglaw summer cold-offer on top of switching practice areas (e.g. lit to corp)? I know not to say anything negative about the summer experience, but it's hard trying to figure out how to best avoid these two hurdles.

Thanks for any help!

Depends on where you're interviewing. Firm/Gov/PI; if firm, Big, Mid (i.e. wannabe big), Small (not big and proud of it).

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BVest
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Re: The Vale of Tears (3L Job Hunting) (No advice for 0/1/2Ls)

Postby BVest » Tue Jan 20, 2015 5:32 pm

keyboardguy wrote:Been lurking here for a while now and have my first interview in a number of months. Any advice on how to explain a biglaw summer cold-offer on top of switching practice areas (e.g. lit to corp)? I know not to say anything negative about the summer experience, but it's hard trying to figure out how to best avoid these two hurdles.

Thanks for any help!

Depends on where you're interviewing. Firm/Gov/PI; if firm, Big, Mid (i.e. wannabe big), Small (not big and proud of it). As far as switching practices, I think that plays into not going the biglaw route/not going to work for that firm.

keyboardguy
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Re: The Vale of Tears (3L Job Hunting) (No advice for 0/1/2Ls)

Postby keyboardguy » Tue Jan 20, 2015 8:08 pm

BVest wrote:
keyboardguy wrote:Been lurking here for a while now and have my first interview in a number of months. Any advice on how to explain a biglaw summer cold-offer on top of switching practice areas (e.g. lit to corp)? I know not to say anything negative about the summer experience, but it's hard trying to figure out how to best avoid these two hurdles.

Thanks for any help!

Depends on where you're interviewing. Firm/Gov/PI; if firm, Big, Mid (i.e. wannabe big), Small (not big and proud of it). As far as switching practices, I think that plays into not going the biglaw route/not going to work for that firm.


It'd be biglaw (cold offer) to biglaw. It does help that I can say I want to leave the other firm because I want to switch to corporate, but unfortunately basically everything I have done is litigation so I'm worried about answering "why switch now?" without being exposed to corporate work at all.
Last edited by keyboardguy on Wed Jan 21, 2015 3:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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romothesavior
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Re: The Vale of Tears (3L Job Hunting) (No advice for 0/1/2Ls)

Postby romothesavior » Wed Jan 21, 2015 8:58 am

Say something about how it fits your skill set or experience, if you can. There are also certain characteristics about corporate work that distinguish it from lit, e.g. it's more collaborative than adversarial.

At this stage in your career (i.e., law school), firms will almost certainly not ding you for your inability to articulate exactly why you want to do X or Y practice area. The hiring partner at my old firm said he would roll his eyes whenever someone was gung ho on one particular area. Most people at this stage simply lack the big picture, and you certainly don't get that in ten weeks at a firm.

Unless you get a really zealous interviewer, I doubt it'll be an issue. Just have a solid answer prepared and focus on your strengths.

taway
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Re: The Vale of Tears (3L Job Hunting) (No advice for 0/1/2Ls)

Postby taway » Wed Jan 21, 2015 12:50 pm

kykiske wrote:Thank you everyone.

I just ... don't know HOW I'm ever supposed to get over my incompetence.

I research, I read things over and over, and I analyze things to the best of my ability. Yet I still somehow miss things. I still somehow have to rely on someone else to watch over me.

That's just one reason why I have no confidence in myself.

You've contemplated suicide. That's not a healthy thing. Therapy hasn't been working to its potential. It's time for antidepressants.

Given your accomplishments, I highly doubt it is a competence issue. Just an experience issue. Most of us don't start out great at something, but given enough time and effort we'll get there. So even if you are correct about your comprehension issues: it does not have to be a permanent condition. Your cynical prophesying reminds me of this quote, which may or may not be from Ghandi:

“Man often becomes what he believes himself to be. If I keep on saying to myself that I cannot do a certain thing, it is possible that I may end by really becoming incapable of doing it. On the contrary, if I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it at the beginning.”

I think you would benefit from glancing through Viktor Frankl's "Man's Search for Meaning." It's about how people survived in concentration camps. There's some helpful wisdom in there to keep things in perspective.

Anonymous User
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Re: The Vale of Tears (3L Job Hunting) (No advice for 0/1/2Ls)

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 22, 2015 4:09 pm

So, when I am cold-emailing small-midsized firms that do not have normal application portals, should I say something like this in the email:

Subject: Application for an Attorney Position (I suck at Subject Headings, can someone help)

Body:

I am a 3L at XYZ, and I am emailing you to submit my resume for consideration for a position as an Attorney. I want to practice in (practice area) because (insert reasons). I believe that I would be a good fit for your firm because (insert reasons).

Thank you for taking the time to consider my resume.

Sincerely,

Name

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BlueLotus
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Re: The Vale of Tears (3L Job Hunting) (No advice for 0/1/2Ls)

Postby BlueLotus » Thu Jan 22, 2015 4:26 pm

How are leaves of absences from lawl school for personal reasons treated by employers? I was volunteering in a legal capacity during the leave, so no significant gap on my resume.

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Re: The Vale of Tears (3L Job Hunting) (No advice for 0/1/2Ls)

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 22, 2015 5:21 pm

gdane wrote:
kykiske wrote:Thank you everyone.

I just ... don't know HOW I'm ever supposed to get over my incompetence.

I research, I read things over and over, and I analyze things to the best of my ability. Yet I still somehow miss things. I still somehow have to rely on someone else to watch over me.

That's just one reason why I have no confidence in myself.

How often are you asking questions? Do you really understand the assignments that you're given? It's entirely possible that you miss things because you don't know exactly what you're looking for. Don't be shy to ask questions.


Agree with gdane. Don't be afraid to ask questions. Sometimes supervising attorneys forget what we know and don't know as new lawyers. And other times, they give you a basic set of facts thinking it's enough for you to go on to do research, but as you dig through your research, you'll realize that you need facts that s/he didn't think you needed. That's when you ask, "Hey, I found XYZ in my research and I'm wondering whether [similar or dissimilar facts] are present in this case." Otherwise, you really can't get very far in your research and analysis if you don't have all the facts.

And if nothing else, you've just alerted your supervisor to additional fact investigation that needs to be done. (And maybe s/he'll let you do it for some client contact!)

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Re: The Vale of Tears (3L Job Hunting) (No advice for 0/1/2Ls)

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 22, 2015 8:33 pm

Holy shit, can I please get an interview someplace? FML.

JJDancer
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Re: The Vale of Tears (3L Job Hunting) (No advice for 0/1/2Ls)

Postby JJDancer » Thu Jan 22, 2015 9:51 pm

taway wrote:I think you would benefit from glancing through Viktor Frankl's "Man's Search for Meaning." It's about how people survived in concentration camps. There's some helpful wisdom in there to keep things in perspective.


Haven't had a chance to read that yet but watched the movie Life is Beautiful (in Italian) that's based on the book. It was touching.

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Re: The Vale of Tears (3L Job Hunting) (No advice for 0/1/2Ls)

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 22, 2015 9:53 pm

BlueLotus wrote:How are leaves of absences from lawl school for personal reasons treated by employers? I was volunteering in a legal capacity during the leave, so no significant gap on my resume.

Did you have to extend your graduation date because of it? If not, I don't think they will notice.

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BlueLotus
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Re: The Vale of Tears (3L Job Hunting) (No advice for 0/1/2Ls)

Postby BlueLotus » Fri Jan 23, 2015 9:18 am

Anonymous User wrote:
BlueLotus wrote:How are leaves of absences from lawl school for personal reasons treated by employers? I was volunteering in a legal capacity during the leave, so no significant gap on my resume.

Did you have to extend your graduation date because of it? If not, I don't think they will notice.


Yes, my grad date was extended from 2015 to 2016.

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Re: The Vale of Tears (3L Job Hunting) (No advice for 0/1/2Ls)

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jan 23, 2015 5:59 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Does anyone have information on how staff attorney positions work?

Is it a foregone conclusion you will never become an associate? Also, how does the lateral market view staff attorneys that are looking for another job?


Staff Attorney in biglaw here. Before you even sit down for the interview, they tell you "YOU WILL NEVER BECOME AN ASSOCIATE HERE." I have been job hunting for a year and a half and had maybe three interviews for associate positions in midlaw. Every single time, they ended up hiring a biglaw associate refugee instead.

That being said, it's a great job if you don't have career aspirations. Alas, I do.

JJDancer
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Re: The Vale of Tears (3L Job Hunting) (No advice for 0/1/2Ls)

Postby JJDancer » Fri Jan 23, 2015 7:51 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Does anyone have information on how staff attorney positions work?

Is it a foregone conclusion you will never become an associate? Also, how does the lateral market view staff attorneys that are looking for another job?


Staff Attorney in biglaw here. Before you even sit down for the interview, they tell you "YOU WILL NEVER BECOME AN ASSOCIATE HERE." I have been job hunting for a year and a half and had maybe three interviews for associate positions in midlaw. Every single time, they ended up hiring a biglaw associate refugee instead.

That being said, it's a great job if you don't have career aspirations. Alas, I do.


Any idea what the market thinks of biglaw staff positions? Would a midlaw place consider you to be just another midlaw associate? Or does it have some negative connotations? (I realize it doesn't carry the usual biglaw prestige..)

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jessuf
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Re: The Vale of Tears (3L Job Hunting) (No advice for 0/1/2Ls)

Postby jessuf » Fri Jan 23, 2015 8:01 pm

What does a big law staff attorney do and what are they paid?

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Re: The Vale of Tears (3L Job Hunting) (No advice for 0/1/2Ls)

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jan 25, 2015 12:43 am

Jessuf wrote:What does a big law staff attorney do and what are they paid?


Totally depends on the firm. I interviewed for one and it sounded like an associate but for 90k instead of 160k.

SFB222
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Re: The Vale of Tears (3L Job Hunting) (No advice for 0/1/2Ls)

Postby SFB222 » Sun Jan 25, 2015 2:12 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Jessuf wrote:What does a big law staff attorney do and what are they paid?


Totally depends on the firm. I interviewed for one and it sounded like an associate but for 90k instead of 160k.


That still seems pretty good. Are they hard to get?




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