Career Repercussions of a Leave of Absence

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Career Repercussions of a Leave of Absence

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 08, 2017 11:30 am

I am currently in the beginning of my 2L year at a T2, I am in the top 15% with a 3.533 GPA. I struck out at OCI and was either rejected or received no response from my Mass Mailing attempts (~30 firms). For all of 1L I questioned whether or not I even wanted to be a lawyer and if going to law school was a mistake. When OCI rolled around, the prospect of landing a biglaw SA and the money that would come with it changed my thoughts on law school and being a lawyer. I knew I probably would not enjoy working in a biglaw firm (and it would probably make me miserable). However, I have a full scholarship and only need to take out loans for cost of living, so a biglaw SA would have allowed me to take out little or no loans for 3L, and if I received an offer I could easily payoff my loans in a year or less. I've talked to student services and they are willing to grant me a leave of absence to allow me to decide if I actually want to be a lawyer.I plan to move home and work at a small law firm a few days a week to get a better idea of whether or not I want to be a lawyer. Any advice about whether or not this will be a terrible move in terms of the potential effects on my career if I decide I want to practice law and return to school is apperciated.


Note: I have not been able to schedule a meeting with career services to discuss this before the deadline to withdraw from classes without a W on my transcript.

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Re: Career Repercussions of a Leave of Absence

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 08, 2017 3:59 pm

Not the same situation, but FWIW I took a leave of absence from a t14 for medical reasons. Below median grades. Was only asked about it twice during OCI/CBs, though I did independently offer to explain it a few times. I guess it's impossible to know, but I think I ended up with the same offers I would have gotten without the absence. TBH I would advise making up a good explanation if you have to.. definitely don't say you finished 1L and was then unsure about law.

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Re: Career Repercussions of a Leave of Absence

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 08, 2017 4:20 pm

OP Here. I spent this past summer as a research assistant for a very well respected professor, so I did not get any real hands on experience or a sense of whether or not I would enjoy practicing law. Currently, I am keeping up with my readings and journal work, but I am not giving it my all and more so just going through the motions. I can't really concentrate on the work because I am constantly questioning if I am making the wrong decision. If I do return to law school it will be because I have worked in a law firm and gotten a better idea of what being a lawyer entails and decided that in the end I want to practice law. I feel like I will be able to use this experience to explain a new found motivation to return to law school.

lolwat

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Re: Career Repercussions of a Leave of Absence

Postby lolwat » Fri Sep 08, 2017 4:40 pm

I don't think it's a good idea. Taking a leave because of medical reasons is one thing; taking a leave because you're unsure whether you actually wanna practice law is totally different.

(Edit: I meant I don't think it's a good idea to spin it that way. I have no real comment on the original question as to whether you should take a leave of absence or not.)

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Re: Career Repercussions of a Leave of Absence

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 08, 2017 4:42 pm

Same anon as above here. Others might disagree, but after being interviewed by 70-80 lawyers over the last few months, my sense is that you would have more luck just making up a "better" reason. I think your actual reason is great for you personally (and if your gap experience confirms your interest in law, that is obviously something you should emphasize at some point in each interview) but i don't think that should be your go-to explanation for why you decided to take a leave of absence. It turns a perfectly normal thing (the "shit happens" gap) into a reason to question your commitment to law relative to other applicants.

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Re: Career Repercussions of a Leave of Absence

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 08, 2017 6:31 pm

OP here. My uncertainty of whether I want to practice law and if I am making a huge mistake is a constant source of anxiety and depression (mild), which has distracted me in class and while studying. Would it be wrong for me to say that I'm taking (or in the future took) this leave of absence for health reasons that were having an impact on my school work?

Edit: Or could I just say "personal reasons" and expect that an interviewer would not pry any further than that?

lavarman84

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Re: Career Repercussions of a Leave of Absence

Postby lavarman84 » Sat Sep 09, 2017 2:28 am

From the tone of your posts, I think you kind of have to do it. You gotta figure out if this is even the right career for you before worrying about repercussions. I'm sure you can figure out a way to explain it away if you decide to return.

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Re: Career Repercussions of a Leave of Absence

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 09, 2017 3:19 am

Saying it was a medical reason is 100% ok in your situation. Make it brief and say it's resolved now. Very few if any interviewers would inquire past that, esp with good grades.

Don't mention depresssion and don't just call it a personal reason.

lawstoodent

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Re: Career Repercussions of a Leave of Absence

Postby lawstoodent » Sun Sep 10, 2017 1:16 am

Taking a leave of absence in law school will be much easier to explain than when (or if) you become a lawyer.

It's a lot harder to take (and explain taking) a few months to yourself to think about your career.



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