T14, rising 3L, no job prospects - should I drop out?

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DropoutThrowaway
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T14, rising 3L, no job prospects - should I drop out?

Postby DropoutThrowaway » Tue Aug 28, 2012 7:14 pm

I'm a rising 3L at a T14 who was no-offered by his summer firm (actually a cold offer). My grades are pretty underwhelming (I had two C's from a semester where I had some family issues, otherwise grades are almost entirely B's with a few B+'s). I didn't get the classes I wanted for the fall, so now I'm enrolled in a hodgepodge of things that I'm honestly not interested in at all.

I'm not sure what to do, and I can't stop freaking out. It seems that I'm paying $25k per semester to take classes I'm not interested in, with no real job prospects on the horizon. I don't even know who to talk to about this. It feels like I'm trapped in a nightmare. Am I supposed to drop out? Should I take a leave of absence? Do people in my circumstances get jobs?

I have around $130k-140k in debt right now. I have $10k in the bank from the summer job (probably another $10k after the tax refund arrives in April). Does it make sense to take out another $50k in loans, plus spend the money from my summer job, to complete my third year?

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sunynp
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Re: T14, rising 3L, no job prospects - should I drop out?

Postby sunynp » Tue Aug 28, 2012 7:21 pm

How did you feel about your summer? Did you enjoy the actual practice of law? Do you see yourself being a lawyer?

What job prospects do you have outside of law?

Can you do anything to get into classes you actually want?

Do you have any family connections that can help you pay debt or get a job? Will your old firm help you find something?

presidentk1
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Re: T14, rising 3L, no job prospects - should I drop out?

Postby presidentk1 » Tue Aug 28, 2012 7:33 pm

sunk cost

your should just suck it up and get the degree
whats the point of quitting now?

would u rather be $130k in debt w/ no degree
or $155k in debt with a JD

seems like an easy decision IMO

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Re: T14, rising 3L, no job prospects - should I drop out?

Postby DropoutThrowaway » Tue Aug 28, 2012 7:45 pm

sunynp wrote:How did you feel about your summer? Did you enjoy the actual practice of law? Do you see yourself being a lawyer?


I enjoy oral argument, and writing persuasively. I'm interested in a variety of public interest issues, and some government/policy issues. I strongly disliked my work at the firm, because it mostly involved changing provisions in contracts and drafting memorandums about provisions in contracts. I think I could be a great public interest lawyer, and that I could enjoy working in government, but I feel like it's difficult enough to get either job without having to explain the two C's on my transcript. I think I could also be happy at a firm - it would just have to be the right kind of work.

sunynp wrote:What job prospects do you have outside of law?


I'm not sure. What other things might I look at? I'm not overly attached to practicing law - other options could be interesting as well.

I have an Ivy undergrad degree, and my GPA in undergrad was above 3.5 (moderate upward trend, had close to a 4.0 for the last couple of semesters). The degree is in a pretty typical field for law students (think history/poli sci/english). But if I don't drop out, how do I explain not wanting to work in law? And if I do drop out, how in the heck do I address that?

sunynp wrote:Can you do anything to get into classes you actually want?


I'm contacting the registrar's office to look into my options. I hold out hope that they'll at least be able to squeeze me into one class that I'm interested in taking.

sunynp wrote:Do you have any family connections that can help you pay debt or get a job? Will your old firm help you find something?


No real family connections to speak of. My firm has stated that they may or may not be able to help me find something (i.e. it's possible, but don't count on it).

Thanks for your help!

DropoutThrowaway
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Re: T14, rising 3L, no job prospects - should I drop out?

Postby DropoutThrowaway » Tue Aug 28, 2012 7:45 pm

Sorry, quote isn't edit...

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IAFG
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Re: T14, rising 3L, no job prospects - should I drop out?

Postby IAFG » Tue Aug 28, 2012 7:46 pm

Is there any chance you're feeling depressed about what happened this summer, and it's coloring your opinion of law generally?

DropoutThrowaway
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Re: T14, rising 3L, no job prospects - should I drop out?

Postby DropoutThrowaway » Tue Aug 28, 2012 7:52 pm

IAFG wrote:Is there any chance you're feeling depressed about what happened this summer, and it's coloring your opinion of law generally?


I'm extremely depressed about it, but these are classes that I wouldn't be interested in whether I were depressed or not. I haven't lost sight of my interests, and I'm still interested in being a lawyer (although not particularly attached to it), but it seems at first impression that my one bad semester turns my career prospects from slim (okay, maybe a little better than that) to nil. Maybe I'm wrong, and no one will care about the semester where I landed two C's. It does seem like a major issue to me, though, and it's difficult enough to find employment as a 3L.

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Re: T14, rising 3L, no job prospects - should I drop out?

Postby DropoutThrowaway » Tue Aug 28, 2012 7:55 pm

presidentk1 wrote:sunk cost

your should just suck it up and get the degree
whats the point of quitting now?

would u rather be $130k in debt w/ no degree
or $155k in debt with a JD

seems like an easy decision IMO


It's $25k per semester, so $50k over the year, plus the $20k I would have from the summer job ($10k in the bank right now, $10k after the tax refund arrives). So the comparison is, roughly, $120k in debt ($140k-$20k from the summer job) vs. $190k in debt ($140k + $50k in loans this year).

presidentk1
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Re: T14, rising 3L, no job prospects - should I drop out?

Postby presidentk1 » Tue Aug 28, 2012 8:09 pm

doesnt really change anything IMO

bottom line is you already took out a ton of debt and spent a ton of your time/effort to throw it all away this late in the game

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IAFG
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Re: T14, rising 3L, no job prospects - should I drop out?

Postby IAFG » Tue Aug 28, 2012 8:12 pm

presidentk1 wrote:doesnt really change anything IMO

bottom line is you already took out a ton of debt and spent a ton of your time/effort to throw it all away this late in the game

Ever heard of a sunk cost

the only question is, will he be better off finishing his JD or mitigating the debt.

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Re: T14, rising 3L, no job prospects - should I drop out?

Postby sunynp » Tue Aug 28, 2012 8:13 pm

What is your GPA and/or rank? What have you done about finding other jobs.
Do you have any chance at clerking- I didn't clerk and I know nothing about the process.

What does your OCI tell you?

If you do drop out, you can just tell people that after working at a firm you realized that law was not for you. People really do understand that staying in something you hate is a bad idea.

There were some interesting posts in the alternative career thread about government relations as a career. But I know nothing about it myself.

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sunynp
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Re: T14, rising 3L, no job prospects - should I drop out?

Postby sunynp » Tue Aug 28, 2012 8:19 pm

IAFG wrote:
presidentk1 wrote:doesnt really change anything IMO

bottom line is you already took out a ton of debt and spent a ton of your time/effort to throw it all away this late in the game

Ever heard of a sunk cost

the only question is, will he be better off finishing his JD or mitigating the debt.

Do you think that the answer to that question depends solely on finances and having a job/ career? I am leaning that way. But it isn't simple. I would think scold offer will help him get another job - but the difference in debt for one more year is massive. (at least to me but I an extremely debt averse). He might be able to handle his current debt without big law, but beyond that I don't know.


Loan payment on 120,000@ 6.8 interest for 10 years is $1380 ; $190,000 for the same is $2180.

By the way OP- hold on to your savings for a while until you figure this out.
Last edited by sunynp on Tue Aug 28, 2012 8:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

presidentk1
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Re: T14, rising 3L, no job prospects - should I drop out?

Postby presidentk1 » Tue Aug 28, 2012 8:22 pm

there is really no way for someone on an internet forum to answer OP's question
each of us can just say what we would do in his/her situation

@iafg, look at post #3 of this thread = )

delusional
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Re: T14, rising 3L, no job prospects - should I drop out?

Postby delusional » Tue Aug 28, 2012 8:26 pm

OP, I feel for you. This is the worst - the feeling of depression and failure at the same time that you need to be fighting to preserve your chances. No matter how you feel, though, this is not a time to succumb to it. You got a cold offer, which gives you a massive advantage in getting another offer.

You don't mention what kind of firm you worked for, but if it was a big New York firm and you "got an offer" that should be worth its weight in gold to smaller, more local firms. Contact firms in your home market, saying that you realized that you are more suited to their particular type of work, that you decided that the city is not for you, or somesuch. Ignore your grade drop - if they ask, tell them what was behind it, but again - your firm "offered" you, so it's not like they're a dealbreaker.

Do it now, because now is the time that you're plausibly examining your options.

Good luck.

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IAFG
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Re: T14, rising 3L, no job prospects - should I drop out?

Postby IAFG » Tue Aug 28, 2012 8:26 pm

presidentk1 wrote:there is really no way for someone on an internet forum to answer OP's question
each of us can just say what we would do in his/her situation

@iafg, look at post #3 of this thread = )

You know the term but appear to not understand how the concept is applied.

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Re: T14, rising 3L, no job prospects - should I drop out?

Postby DropoutThrowaway » Tue Aug 28, 2012 8:29 pm

sunynp wrote:What is your GPA and/or rank?

GPA is almost exactly 3.0, school doesn't rank.

sunynp wrote:What have you done about finding other jobs.

I've begun directly applying to public interest organizations, government offices and firms. I was informed of the no-offer too late to participate in my school's OCI, although I did manage to directly contact a couple of recruiting coordinators and snag interviews at the last minute. I was also informed too late to sign up for career fairs.

sunynp wrote:What does your OCI tell you?

I only had two interviews at OCI - by the time I learned of the no-offer, it was too late to participate in the OCI lottery process, so I just contacted a couple of recruiting coordinators directly. One dinged me several days after the interview, the other I haven't heard from yet.

sunynp wrote:If you do drop out, you can just tell people that after working at a firm you realized that law was not for you. People really do understand that staying in something you hate is a bad idea.

There were some interesting posts in the alternative career thread about government relations as a career. But I know nothing about it myself.

I really don't feel attached to the law anymore. I still like the idea of writing briefs and doing oral advocacy for a living, but not all legal jobs are like this (see e.g. my summer job at a firm), and I could definitely picture myself doing other (non-law-related) things.

Can you link to the alternative career thread? I couldn't find it on the employment subforum. Your idea sounds interesting to me, though, so I'd like to learn more.

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Re: T14, rising 3L, no job prospects - should I drop out?

Postby delusional » Tue Aug 28, 2012 8:33 pm

DropoutThrowaway wrote:
sunynp wrote:What is your GPA and/or rank?

GPA is almost exactly 3.0, school doesn't rank.

sunynp wrote:What have you done about finding other jobs.

I've begun directly applying to public interest organizations, government offices and firms. I was informed of the no-offer too late to participate in my school's OCI, although I did manage to directly contact a couple of recruiting coordinators and snag interviews at the last minute. I was also informed too late to sign up for career fairs.

sunynp wrote:What does your OCI tell you?

I only had two interviews at OCI - by the time I learned of the no-offer, it was too late to participate in the OCI lottery process, so I just contacted a couple of recruiting coordinators directly. One dinged me several days after the interview, the other I haven't heard from yet.

sunynp wrote:If you do drop out, you can just tell people that after working at a firm you realized that law was not for you. People really do understand that staying in something you hate is a bad idea.

There were some interesting posts in the alternative career thread about government relations as a career. But I know nothing about it myself.

I really don't feel attached to the law anymore. I still like the idea of writing briefs and doing oral advocacy for a living, but not all legal jobs are like this (see e.g. my summer job at a firm), and I could definitely picture myself doing other (non-law-related) things.

Can you link to the alternative career thread? I couldn't find it on the employment subforum. Your idea sounds interesting to me, though, so I'd like to learn more.
Based on what TLS advocates, it doesn't seem like OCI is the predominant way to find a job as a 3L anyway. People have talked about how mailing is better, people have talked about how firms are not as busy with 3L stuff because they are preoccupied with the more time sensitive 2L OCIs. You should be able to get a few interviews through mass or targeted mailing. Call lawyers you know in your home market and ask them out for coffee.

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Re: T14, rising 3L, no job prospects - should I drop out?

Postby DropoutThrowaway » Tue Aug 28, 2012 8:38 pm

delusional wrote:OP, I feel for you. This is the worst - the feeling of depression and failure at the same time that you need to be fighting to preserve your chances. No matter how you feel, though, this is not a time to succumb to it. You got a cold offer, which gives you a massive advantage in getting another offer.

You don't mention what kind of firm you worked for, but if it was a big New York firm and you "got an offer" that should be worth its weight in gold to smaller, more local firms. Contact firms in your home market, saying that you realized that you are more suited to their particular type of work, that you decided that the city is not for you, or somesuch. Ignore your grade drop - if they ask, tell them what was behind it, but again - your firm "offered" you, so it's not like they're a dealbreaker.

Do it now, because now is the time that you're plausibly examining your options.

Good luck.

Thanks. I'm planning to reach out to hometown firms this week and maybe next week.

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Re: T14, rising 3L, no job prospects - should I drop out?

Postby DropoutThrowaway » Tue Aug 28, 2012 8:41 pm

delusional wrote:
DropoutThrowaway wrote:
sunynp wrote:What is your GPA and/or rank?

GPA is almost exactly 3.0, school doesn't rank.

sunynp wrote:What have you done about finding other jobs.

I've begun directly applying to public interest organizations, government offices and firms. I was informed of the no-offer too late to participate in my school's OCI, although I did manage to directly contact a couple of recruiting coordinators and snag interviews at the last minute. I was also informed too late to sign up for career fairs.

sunynp wrote:What does your OCI tell you?

I only had two interviews at OCI - by the time I learned of the no-offer, it was too late to participate in the OCI lottery process, so I just contacted a couple of recruiting coordinators directly. One dinged me several days after the interview, the other I haven't heard from yet.

sunynp wrote:If you do drop out, you can just tell people that after working at a firm you realized that law was not for you. People really do understand that staying in something you hate is a bad idea.

There were some interesting posts in the alternative career thread about government relations as a career. But I know nothing about it myself.

I really don't feel attached to the law anymore. I still like the idea of writing briefs and doing oral advocacy for a living, but not all legal jobs are like this (see e.g. my summer job at a firm), and I could definitely picture myself doing other (non-law-related) things.

Can you link to the alternative career thread? I couldn't find it on the employment subforum. Your idea sounds interesting to me, though, so I'd like to learn more.
Based on what TLS advocates, it doesn't seem like OCI is the predominant way to find a job as a 3L anyway. People have talked about how mailing is better, people have talked about how firms are not as busy with 3L stuff because they are preoccupied with the more time sensitive 2L OCIs. You should be able to get a few interviews through mass or targeted mailing. Call lawyers you know in your home market and ask them out for coffee.


My school is pretty far from my home. I'm deliberating between two strategies right now: Call recruiting coordinators at the hometown firms and ask if they're hiring 3Ls, or call one of the partners (specifically, alums of my T14) at each firm directly and ask if I can send my materials along. Do either of these sound like a good approach?

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Re: T14, rising 3L, no job prospects - should I drop out?

Postby sunynp » Tue Aug 28, 2012 8:46 pm

viewtopic.php?f=10&t=192078

You have to read through this thread to find the government relation stuff.

Honestly with an SA and a cold offer, I would press hard for other jobs before I give up. But I don't know how long you have until you can get a refund.... just throwing out ideas- can you take a leave? No idea if that would do anything but delay the ultimate decision.

It sucks that you didn't do OCI or job fairs. Did your firm usually give 100% offers? It sounds like you would have accepted if you had been offered a job there.

delusional
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Re: T14, rising 3L, no job prospects - should I drop out?

Postby delusional » Tue Aug 28, 2012 8:48 pm

DropoutThrowaway wrote:
delusional wrote:
DropoutThrowaway wrote:
sunynp wrote:What is your GPA and/or rank?

GPA is almost exactly 3.0, school doesn't rank.

sunynp wrote:What have you done about finding other jobs.

I've begun directly applying to public interest organizations, government offices and firms. I was informed of the no-offer too late to participate in my school's OCI, although I did manage to directly contact a couple of recruiting coordinators and snag interviews at the last minute. I was also informed too late to sign up for career fairs.

sunynp wrote:What does your OCI tell you?

I only had two interviews at OCI - by the time I learned of the no-offer, it was too late to participate in the OCI lottery process, so I just contacted a couple of recruiting coordinators directly. One dinged me several days after the interview, the other I haven't heard from yet.

sunynp wrote:If you do drop out, you can just tell people that after working at a firm you realized that law was not for you. People really do understand that staying in something you hate is a bad idea.

There were some interesting posts in the alternative career thread about government relations as a career. But I know nothing about it myself.

I really don't feel attached to the law anymore. I still like the idea of writing briefs and doing oral advocacy for a living, but not all legal jobs are like this (see e.g. my summer job at a firm), and I could definitely picture myself doing other (non-law-related) things.

Can you link to the alternative career thread? I couldn't find it on the employment subforum. Your idea sounds interesting to me, though, so I'd like to learn more.
Based on what TLS advocates, it doesn't seem like OCI is the predominant way to find a job as a 3L anyway. People have talked about how mailing is better, people have talked about how firms are not as busy with 3L stuff because they are preoccupied with the more time sensitive 2L OCIs. You should be able to get a few interviews through mass or targeted mailing. Call lawyers you know in your home market and ask them out for coffee.


My school is pretty far from my home. I'm deliberating between two strategies right now: Call recruiting coordinators at the hometown firms and ask if they're hiring 3Ls, or call one of the partners (specifically, alums of my T14) at each firm directly and ask if I can send my materials along. Do either of these sound like a good approach?
Don't ask if they're hiring 3Ls. Divide the firms into two groups - ones where you have a connection, and ones where you don't. Mass mail the ones where you don't, and briefly explain in your cover letter that you have an offer from X Firm but you are interested in working in your home market. In the places where you know people, or you feel comfortable contacting them, start cultivating them now. Email about what it's like to work in that market. Chat on the phone if you can. Plan to go home for at least a long weekend sometime mid-semester, and when you do, plan in advance which ones you will meet. As you get to know each other, start to feel out how likely it is that they'll be hiring, and how amenable they'd be to put in a word for you.
The above is not expert advice, and I welcome others to chime in and critique. I'm just trying to present a workable plan that might plausibly come from someone who was, in fact, offered and does, in fact want to return to his/her home market.

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sunynp
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Re: T14, rising 3L, no job prospects - should I drop out?

Postby sunynp » Tue Aug 28, 2012 8:49 pm

DropoutThrowaway wrote:
delusional wrote:
DropoutThrowaway wrote:
sunynp wrote:What is your GPA and/or rank?

GPA is almost exactly 3.0, school doesn't rank.

sunynp wrote:What have you done about finding other jobs.

I've begun directly applying to public interest organizations, government offices and firms. I was informed of the no-offer too late to participate in my school's OCI, although I did manage to directly contact a couple of recruiting coordinators and snag interviews at the last minute. I was also informed too late to sign up for career fairs.

sunynp wrote:What does your OCI tell you?

I only had two interviews at OCI - by the time I learned of the no-offer, it was too late to participate in the OCI lottery process, so I just contacted a couple of recruiting coordinators directly. One dinged me several days after the interview, the other I haven't heard from yet.

sunynp wrote:If you do drop out, you can just tell people that after working at a firm you realized that law was not for you. People really do understand that staying in something you hate is a bad idea.

There were some interesting posts in the alternative career thread about government relations as a career. But I know nothing about it myself.

I really don't feel attached to the law anymore. I still like the idea of writing briefs and doing oral advocacy for a living, but not all legal jobs are like this (see e.g. my summer job at a firm), and I could definitely picture myself doing other (non-law-related) things.

Can you link to the alternative career thread? I couldn't find it on the employment subforum. Your idea sounds interesting to me, though, so I'd like to learn more.
Based on what TLS advocates, it doesn't seem like OCI is the predominant way to find a job as a 3L anyway. People have talked about how mailing is better, people have talked about how firms are not as busy with 3L stuff because they are preoccupied with the more time sensitive 2L OCIs. You should be able to get a few interviews through mass or targeted mailing. Call lawyers you know in your home market and ask them out for coffee.


My school is pretty far from my home. I'm deliberating between two strategies right now: Call recruiting coordinators at the hometown firms and ask if they're hiring 3Ls, or call one of the partners (specifically, alums of my T14) at each firm directly and ask if I can send my materials along. Do either of these sound like a good approac? But also get input from other threads about how to best go about this.Yeah - ignore my advice.


Good luck OP! Stay energized !! Post any question you have or any advice you need.
Last edited by sunynp on Tue Aug 28, 2012 9:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

AC Vegas
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Re: T14, rising 3L, no job prospects - should I drop out?

Postby AC Vegas » Tue Aug 28, 2012 8:54 pm

I don't think dropping out is the right call. A T14 law degree is worth the extra 50k. Speculating but it seems like it would be easier to convince non law employers to employ a JD than it would be to convince them to employ a dropout.

uvauvauva
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Re: T14, rising 3L, no job prospects - should I drop out?

Postby uvauvauva » Tue Aug 28, 2012 8:55 pm

3L hiring occurs after 2L hiring. This means around Oct/Nov. That should be your plan of attack. Now, you should be looking at clerking because THOSE DEADLINES ARE CLOSING IN AS OF NEXT WEEK.

Government hiring is sporadic. You should be looking at those apps.

Also-in terms of contacting partners. You can't just contact a partner looking for a job. You need to set up informational interviews. Also note, 3L hiring is very random and it is not centralized. It is by practice area. So, be smart with what fits your background at this point. You need to meet these partners over coffee (an with an outstanding personality) be able to hold a convo with them for about an hour and make them LIKE YOU in order to recommend you or forward your materials to the recruiting committee. Note too, not every partner knows everything. Try and find partners who are rainmakers or alums... Don't waste time with associates.

That is my 2 cents to your situation. I would give the same advice to people who are looking for firm work too.

DropoutThrowaway
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Re: T14, rising 3L, no job prospects - should I drop out?

Postby DropoutThrowaway » Tue Aug 28, 2012 8:58 pm

sunynp wrote:http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=192078

You have to read through this thread to find the government relation stuff.

Honestly with an SA and a cold offer, I would press hard for other jobs before I give up. But I don't know how long you have until you can get a refund.... just throwing out ideas- can you take a leave? No idea if that would do anything but delay the ultimate decision.

It sucks that you didn't do OCI or job fairs. Did your firm usually give 100% offers? It sounds like you would have accepted if you had been offered a job there.


Thanks for the link, I saved it right at the top of the giant "3L job search" doc I'm making in Word.

I feel like the SA and cold offer should be valuable, I'm just not sure if the two C's will bring me down to the point where the SA/cold offer don't matter. I'm strongly considering a leave of absence, but like you said, it's hard to tell what that would do except delay the decision I ultimately have to make. Maybe it would give me longer to figure out what careers I can pursue besides law?

My firm typically no-offers a couple of people every year. I think I would have accepted, even though I hate the work. What matters at this point is paying off my student loan debt, so if that meant toughing out a few years doing firm work that I don't like, then I'd just do what I had to do.




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