Illness: Graduate or Delay?

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When should I graduate?

2014
12
80%
2013
3
20%
 
Total votes: 15

Anonymous User
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Illness: Graduate or Delay?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Feb 04, 2013 6:52 pm

Hey all I need some advice. I am a 3L at CCN. I got decent grades my 1L year, great former WE, and ended up with jobs at a biglaw firm and midlaw firm in CA. I am also married and have 2+ kids. Spouse is currently in the middle of their degree. Paid sticker for law school.

I got sick at the beginning of 2L year with the onset of an ADA-covered disability. I had some crazy life-threatening symptoms and ended up going on strong meds right before 2L SA. I didn't tell my summer firm per the advice of my school, and things didn't go well. Most of the time I could function normally, however, sometimes I would have bad results due to my medical issue and medicine. Most of the people at the firm were great and didn't know what was going on. However, a couple of attorneys were like "what's wrong with you," and a particular influential partner thought I had something wrong with my brain (he was right) and eventually grinded his axe on me, resulting in a no offer. The second firm gave me an offer, but half of its attorneys jumped ship, junior associates were fired, and my offer was rescinded.

I switched meds and my medical problems have gotten better in the interim. While my grades dropped previously, I can think clearly again for the first time since 1L and am rocking school. Now, I am faced with a choice, graduate now and try to find a job and stay on meds, or undergo permanent surgery and graduate next year. I will take whichever option gives my family the best long-term results and survive the debt obligation.

If I graduate in 2013 I obviously would have to hustle a job now. I will also apply for A3 clerkships. I used to be an above-average networker and interviewer from business-world experience, but am also 50 lbs heavier than before due to the effects of my previous meds.

If I wait to graduate to 2014, I can try to hustle a 2L SA position, have a decent shot at journal, lose weight, see if things improve with my midlaw firm, apply full-cycle for 3L positions next year, apply for clerkships, and have a fair shot at MBB (McKinsey, Bain, BCG). Downside is that I will inject complete uncertainty into my family's lives and we will struggle to pay the bills in the interim.

Any suggestions, thoughts, etc. would be greatly appreciated.

Anonymous User
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Re: Illness: Graduate or Delay?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Feb 04, 2013 7:41 pm

I vote you wait. You are not the first person I have heard of who had personal reasons that warranted a delay in graduation (illness, family death, and other dramatic changes in circumstances). If you graduate now, you will be behind and have to hope the hustle works. Graduating now might leave you with less debt, but you'll be in trouble if you can't get a job soon. If you graduate in 2013, would you have insurance that covers your meds?

As you mentioned, you can do a lot with one extra year. If you and your partner can carry the family through another year of law school, you would do well to wait. If you chose to discuss the issue with employers, you can say that you had a health issue that has since been resolved (and it sounds like it will be if you have surgery).

Disclaimer: I chose to delay graduation because of a situation not too different from your own.

Anonymous User
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Re: Illness: Graduate or Delay?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Feb 04, 2013 7:52 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I vote you wait. You are not the first person I have heard of who had personal reasons that warranted a delay in graduation (illness, family death, and other dramatic changes in circumstances). If you graduate now, you will be behind and have to hope the hustle works. Graduating now might leave you with less debt, but you'll be in trouble if you can't get a job soon. If you graduate in 2013, would you have insurance that covers your meds?

As you mentioned, you can do a lot with one extra year. If you and your partner can carry the family through another year of law school, you would do well to wait. If you chose to discuss the issue with employers, you can say that you had a health issue that has since been resolved (and it sounds like it will be if you have surgery).

Disclaimer: I chose to delay graduation because of a situation not too different from your own.


OP here. Makes sense. I just wonder if it is too late to find a summer associate position again, and how exactly I will need to explain the lapse in time to firms.

Rootbeer
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Re: Illness: Graduate or Delay?

Postby Rootbeer » Mon Feb 04, 2013 7:56 pm

I would hope that having a life-threatening illness is a good enough explanation...

Anonymous User
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Re: Illness: Graduate or Delay?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Feb 04, 2013 8:05 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Disclaimer: I chose to delay graduation because of a situation not too different from your own.
OP here. Makes sense. I just wonder if it is too late to find a summer associate position again, and how exactly I will need to explain the lapse in time to firms.

I'm the anon in the disclaimer post. You can discuss the explanation you'll give with CSO, a dean, or a trusted professor. I have various approaches I use: craft my resume in a way so that employers are unaware of the delay (make it so it employers might think I started a year later than I really did), mention illness that has been successfully treated, and a few others related to my specific circumstances.

Anonymous User
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Re: Illness: Graduate or Delay?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Feb 04, 2013 8:20 pm

Rootbeer wrote:I would hope that having a life-threatening illness is a good enough explanation...


Yeah, but sometimes I feel that biologically the opposite happens. Firms like to take healthy workhorse people. Even though I am healthy again, it could effect me. Maybe not...

Anonymous User
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Re: Illness: Graduate or Delay?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Feb 04, 2013 8:24 pm

Yeah, but right now, you don't have anything to show you are healthy. One of the firms no-offered you because your health was a concern.

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Re: Illness: Graduate or Delay?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Feb 04, 2013 8:38 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Yeah, but right now, you don't have anything to show you are healthy. One of the firms no-offered you because your health was a concern.


Not OP, but that doesn't sound like that was the case.

Rootbeer
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Re: Illness: Graduate or Delay?

Postby Rootbeer » Mon Feb 04, 2013 8:40 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Rootbeer wrote:I would hope that having a life-threatening illness is a good enough explanation...


Yeah, but sometimes I feel that biologically the opposite happens. Firms like to take healthy workhorse people. Even though I am healthy again, it could effect me. Maybe not...


I definitely sympathize/slightly empathize. Perhaps I'm biased, since I never set out to do anything other than government work, but I suppose one way to look at it would be if you end up not being able to be part of a big firm because they expect you to be a machine with non-squishy indestructible parts, a smaller firm or agency full of human beings that might let you go home during waking hours and spend time with the family could be a better fit, even if you make less money. Not to say that you couldn't get back to where you were before...just saying things will probably work out for you one way or another if you were able to get two good offers before things went to crap.

dixiecupdrinking
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Re: Illness: Graduate or Delay?

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Mon Feb 04, 2013 8:55 pm

Sorry to hear about this, it sounds like you've had a really rough year or two.

If it were me, I would take the time off now. I think at this point, your best bet to get back on the biglaw train, if that's what you want, is to clerk. And it's very late to be starting that process now if you hope to start clerking in the fall. I would take a leave of absence, get your health in order, and come back next year applying to clerkships with a vengeance from day one. In fact, start sending out applications ASAP to begin in 2014, and don't stop until you get one.

And going forward, if it were me, I'd own the medical issues. There are obviously risks either way, and some employers certainly discriminate against medical issues in ways big and small, but it seems that if you had been open about your condition over the summer you'd have had both some protection under the law and the sympathies of your supervisors. Instead, they were left to assume you weren't competent. I think you got some shit advice from your school's career services people. You'll have a completely legit reason for having a weird looking transcript/resume, and the medical situation maps perfectly onto whatever red flags show up in your record—subpar 2L grades, no-offer, etc. Just try not to sound like you're making excuses.

Anonymous User
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Re: Illness: Graduate or Delay?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Feb 04, 2013 8:56 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Yeah, but right now, you don't have anything to show you are healthy. One of the firms no-offered you because your health was a concern.


Not OP, but that doesn't sound like that was the case.


OP here. I don't think the firm no-offered me because my health was a concern. On the contrary, I think if I had tipped them off at the beginning they probably would have tried to accommodate me somehow. In retrospect I definitely would have told them after I had locked down the summer offer, and then the particular partner would not have assumed that I was stupid or something.

Anonymous User
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Re: Illness: Graduate or Delay?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Feb 04, 2013 9:32 pm

dixiecupdrinking wrote:Sorry to hear about this, it sounds like you've had a really rough year or two.

If it were me, I would take the time off now. I think at this point, your best bet to get back on the biglaw train, if that's what you want, is to clerk. And it's very late to be starting that process now if you hope to start clerking in the fall. I would take a leave of absence, get your health in order, and come back next year applying to clerkships with a vengeance from day one. In fact, start sending out applications ASAP to begin in 2014, and don't stop until you get one.

And going forward, if it were me, I'd own the medical issues. There are obviously risks either way, and some employers certainly discriminate against medical issues in ways big and small, but it seems that if you had been open about your condition over the summer you'd have had both some protection under the law and the sympathies of your supervisors. Instead, they were left to assume you weren't competent. I think you got some shit advice from your school's career services people. You'll have a completely legit reason for having a weird looking transcript/resume, and the medical situation maps perfectly onto whatever red flags show up in your record—subpar 2L grades, no-offer, etc. Just try not to sound like you're making excuses.


Thanks for the advice. I am actually interested in transactional work and I feel like it may be the easiest way to get biglaw too. Would it effect my chances at post-clerkship biglaw if I took any legal job now for one year, clerked for a year, then applied to firms?

Alternatively, Is big/midlaw totally closed off at this point for entry-level 3Ls? I should finish in the top-third and possibly be on a journal.

Anonymous User
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Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Illness: Graduate or Delay?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 05, 2013 12:42 am

Rootbeer wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Rootbeer wrote:I would hope that having a life-threatening illness is a good enough explanation...


Yeah, but sometimes I feel that biologically the opposite happens. Firms like to take healthy workhorse people. Even though I am healthy again, it could effect me. Maybe not...


I definitely sympathize/slightly empathize. Perhaps I'm biased, since I never set out to do anything other than government work, but I suppose one way to look at it would be if you end up not being able to be part of a big firm because they expect you to be a machine with non-squishy indestructible parts, a smaller firm or agency full of human beings that might let you go home during waking hours and spend time with the family could be a better fit, even if you make less money. Not to say that you couldn't get back to where you were before...just saying things will probably work out for you one way or another if you were able to get two good offers before things went to crap.


Government work sounds great. I just really like certain types of transactional work, and set out to attend law school because of pre-law work experience in these areas. It is not as much about the money, but I think it has to be to a point when you are in sticker debt and have a family.

Anonymous User
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Re: Illness: Graduate or Delay?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 05, 2013 1:01 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I vote you wait. You are not the first person I have heard of who had personal reasons that warranted a delay in graduation (illness, family death, and other dramatic changes in circumstances). If you graduate now, you will be behind and have to hope the hustle works. Graduating now might leave you with less debt, but you'll be in trouble if you can't get a job soon. If you graduate in 2013, would you have insurance that covers your meds?

As you mentioned, you can do a lot with one extra year. If you and your partner can carry the family through another year of law school, you would do well to wait. If you chose to discuss the issue with employers, you can say that you had a health issue that has since been resolved (and it sounds like it will be if you have surgery).

Disclaimer: I chose to delay graduation because of a situation not too different from your own.


OP here. Makes sense. I just wonder if it is too late to find a summer associate position again, and how exactly I will need to explain the lapse in time to firms.


Just to your SA question, I had a similar situation (terrible flare-up of an illness) during OCI which screwed up my chances of getting a job; I'm trying big firms now but am getting no bites and no help from my CSO in finding them. You may want to focus your job search elsewhere.

Anonymous User
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Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Illness: Graduate or Delay?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 05, 2013 1:07 am

Anonymous User wrote:Hey all I need some advice. I am a 3L at CCN. I got decent grades my 1L year, great former WE, and ended up with jobs at a biglaw firm and midlaw firm in CA. I am also married and have 2+ kids. Spouse is currently in the middle of their degree. Paid sticker for law school.

I got sick at the beginning of 2L year with the onset of an ADA-covered disability. I had some crazy life-threatening symptoms and ended up going on strong meds right before 2L SA. I didn't tell my summer firm per the advice of my school, and things didn't go well. Most of the time I could function normally, however, sometimes I would have bad results due to my medical issue and medicine. Most of the people at the firm were great and didn't know what was going on. However, a couple of attorneys were like "what's wrong with you," and a particular influential partner thought I had something wrong with my brain (he was right) and eventually grinded his axe on me, resulting in a no offer. The second firm gave me an offer, but half of its attorneys jumped ship, junior associates were fired, and my offer was rescinded.

I switched meds and my medical problems have gotten better in the interim. While my grades dropped previously, I can think clearly again for the first time since 1L and am rocking school. Now, I am faced with a choice, graduate now and try to find a job and stay on meds, or undergo permanent surgery and graduate next year. I will take whichever option gives my family the best long-term results and survive the debt obligation.

If I graduate in 2013 I obviously would have to hustle a job now. I will also apply for A3 clerkships. I used to be an above-average networker and interviewer from business-world experience, but am also 50 lbs heavier than before due to the effects of my previous meds.

If I wait to graduate to 2014, I can try to hustle a 2L SA position, have a decent shot at journal, lose weight, see if things improve with my midlaw firm, apply full-cycle for 3L positions next year, apply for clerkships, and have a fair shot at MBB (McKinsey, Bain, BCG). Downside is that I will inject complete uncertainty into my family's lives and we will struggle to pay the bills in the interim.

Any suggestions, thoughts, etc. would be greatly appreciated.


Sorry to hear about this. Health issues suck. Do you have particular experience that suggests you would have a fair shot at MBB? I would just caution you that while the criteria is certainly different from say, going to Wachtell, the success rate from CCN schools is around 1 in 20. Not trying to be pessimistic, just wouldn't want you putting too much reliance on your chances there. But I vote you wait.

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somewhatwayward
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Re: Illness: Graduate or Delay?

Postby somewhatwayward » Tue Feb 05, 2013 1:49 am

I definitely think taking a year off is the way to go. Trying to handle finding a job, possibly moving the family, studying for the bar, etc all in a few months would be very stressful. Whether this is a mental or a physical illness, you probably don't want too much stress. I think trying to find either a big law SA for this summer or a big law associate position for this fall is going to be very hard for you because it is so late and you were no-offered last summer. Clerking and then applying to big law after putting some time between yourself and the no-offer is TCR. You could aim for transactional-heavy districts/states. Maybe you won't be able to get transactional big law after clerking, but I really can't imagine you getting a transactional SA/associate position at this point with a recent no-offer. No harm in applying, of course, but I would not rely on it.

The government might also be another good long-term alternative as someone else mentioned. Congressional response to the recession has mandated more financial regulators and lots more financial regulations for lawyers to navigate. Not exactly the same as doing M&A at a firm but there is overlap and much better hours and job stability. If you have a finance background and some coursework in finance in law school, you could apply to honors programs at the SEC, CFTC, etc in addition to clerkships.

It is not fair that people consciously or unconsciously others for having illnesses. But avoiding the stress and instability of big law could be a blessing in disguise, especially if your illness is responsive to stress.

Anonymous User
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Re: Illness: Graduate or Delay?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 05, 2013 3:50 pm

somewhatwayward wrote:I definitely think taking a year off is the way to go. Trying to handle finding a job, possibly moving the family, studying for the bar, etc all in a few months would be very stressful. Whether this is a mental or a physical illness, you probably don't want too much stress. I think trying to find either a big law SA for this summer or a big law associate position for this fall is going to be very hard for you because it is so late and you were no-offered last summer. Clerking and then applying to big law after putting some time between yourself and the no-offer is TCR. You could aim for transactional-heavy districts/states. Maybe you won't be able to get transactional big law after clerking, but I really can't imagine you getting a transactional SA/associate position at this point with a recent no-offer. No harm in applying, of course, but I would not rely on it.

The government might also be another good long-term alternative as someone else mentioned. Congressional response to the recession has mandated more financial regulators and lots more financial regulations for lawyers to navigate. Not exactly the same as doing M&A at a firm but there is overlap and much better hours and job stability. If you have a finance background and some coursework in finance in law school, you could apply to honors programs at the SEC, CFTC, etc in addition to clerkships.

It is not fair that people consciously or unconsciously others for having illnesses. But avoiding the stress and instability of big law could be a blessing in disguise, especially if your illness is responsive to stress.


Thanks for the advice. Its a physical issue, not a mental issue. I would hope firms would treat this situation different from a normal one, and I thought about recontacting my old firm to see if they would write me a letter stating that I "could not complete the summer due to illness," or something like that.

It is really hard to evaluate my shot at a job right now. Only a few firms have shown any interest at this point for 2013, but I already have two firms which would like to review my materials for their 2013 2L summer program if I am not graduating.

Will it really be impossible to find a market paying job with 18 months leeway at this point? I have summered at three firms in the past and have decent grades from a T6. Are the chances markedly better if I wait than if I apply from now through the bar exam?

Rootbeer
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Re: Illness: Graduate or Delay?

Postby Rootbeer » Tue Feb 19, 2013 11:59 am

Anonymous User wrote:Government work sounds great. I just really like certain types of transactional work, and set out to attend law school because of pre-law work experience in these areas. It is not as much about the money, but I think it has to be to a point when you are in sticker debt and have a family.


Fair...but always remember there is loan forgiveness for public sector work. While I admittedly have zero interest in transactional stuff and may be totally wrong about this, I would be shocked to find out that there aren't federal/state/city entities who have a lot contract work and the like.




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