3L Job Searching After Returning from Leave of Absence

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3L Job Searching After Returning from Leave of Absence

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 09, 2019 6:20 pm

Here's my situation: I was supposed to graduate from law school in 2017, but my mother passed away a month before graduation. I was unable to focus on my final exams and decided to take a leave of absence. What was supposed to be a short leave turned into two years because I was diagnosed with cancer. I was given a clean bill of health earlier this year and I'm now completing my final semester (6 credits to be exact). While I was told to focus on just finishing the semester, I'm worried about job placement after graduation. Should I start mass mailing now or wait until I finish in December? I'm assuming biglaw is out, so should I focus on smaller firms? Any advice or tips for the job search would be appreciated.

Here's some other background info that may be helpful: I'm a URM at a t14 (MVPD). I had a roughly median GPA (3.2X is probably a little below median), and had a biglaw offer in the metro region near my hometown before my bout with cancer (My offer was rescinded during my two years out and I have no desire to return there). I have somewhat of a checkered past that will probably come up during C&F (was arrested/pled guilty to a misdemeanor before law school, DUI following my mom's funeral) so this all probably won't help. Anon for obvious reasons but I'm sure this may be enough info to out me.


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Re: 3L Job Searching After Returning from Leave of Absence

Postby 2013 » Mon Sep 09, 2019 6:46 pm

First off, I’m sorry for your loss. I’m glad you’re doing better though.

And, biglaw is not off the table completely, imo, because you are still going to have a degree from a very good T14 (plus you’re a URM).

It’ll be difficult given that you have such a big gap, but it doesn’t hurt to try. Do you have friends who are still working at firms you want to go to? Maybe grab a cup of coffee and talk to them, etc.

As for other legal jobs, I’d focus on graduating and passing the bar in February. If I were an employer and I saw a two year gap, I’d be worried about the person passing the bar.


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Re: 3L Job Searching After Returning from Leave of Absence

Postby JHP » Tue Sep 10, 2019 1:10 pm

I don't personally have experience with a large gap in my timeline, and I'm not sure about the best way to reflect/explain it in your applications--I hope someone else can help you with that (hopefully your career services office can be of some help; I bet they've encountered a few people who have dealt with similar leaves of absences).

I also think it can't hurt to mass mail, but I think you should make sure you are not only working on raising your GPA, but also making sure that you are networking like crazy. You have a very good personal explanation for your gap in time, and it would be very helpful for your applications to make sure you have someone at the firms who know your story and know that your application on its face may not charm their recruiting departments right away. Of course, bring that up tactfully and don't overdo it (sad personal explanations can cross the line into pity party fairly easily and quickly). 3L hiring happens in the fall and into the spring (I even know someone who got an offer while we were studying for the bar), so you should be hitting the ground networking, meeting folks, getting your face and name out in the legal community.

For your C&F issues, cross that bridge when you get there. Don't bring it up when you talk to people, obviously. It'll be a separate issue for when you are applying to the bar and (hopefully) once you get an offer and they do background checks.

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