Guchster wrote: timbs4339 wrote:
Fiddler08 wrote:Thanks for all of the help guys. I've got a few questions myself.
1. Did any of you CLSers have money from any schools in the lower half of the T14? What made you turn it down and do you regret that decision at all?
2. How often do you get out and explore NYC? Are there any personal advantages to being in the city, or is it mostly just good for job contacts/networking?
CLS 3L here.
1) My main options when I applied were NWestern at full tuition, with the stipulation that I work a year, CLS at 1/2 price, and NYU at 50K. The choice for CLS over NYU was obvious, but had the amounts been reversed (CLS 50, NYU 1/2) I would have taken NYU without hesitation. The bigger dilemma was NW at full vs. CLS half. I wrestled for quite some time, but in the end I figured that I would not be able to get a job making more than minimum wage for that year and so the extra year of biglaw salary (or whatever salary I could hope to earn after the 3-5 years in biglaw) would be more than the year's salary at min wage + the extra scholly money.
Now I'm an unemployed 3L and this is the one decision I made that just kills me inside. I regret taking the CLS offer and if I had the chance to do it again I would have taken NW. I can go into it in more detail if you want but this decision will probably haunt me for the rest of my career unless I magically luck into a decent job with two months to go in the year.
2) There are many opportunities to explore NYC. During the first few weeks/months there will be student organizations hosting events all around the city. I did most of the real touristy stuff very early on, but I go out often to restaurants and bars outside of the neighborhood. One thing that is really cool is taking day trips to neighborhoods in Brooklyn or Queens. If that's what you want to do there are plenty of people who are down to do it. Having a s/o or friends who are not law students helps immensely. However, it can get very expensive so if you are on a loan budget you might have to skimp in other areas.
Can you PM me (or post here if you're comfortable) about the reason you think you're unemployed as a 3L?
If you do not know how law school hiring works for people going into the private sector, here's a short primer. The bulk of opportunities happen during the on-campus job fair at the beginning of your 2L year. Most large firms in the country will come to interview at Columbia. Depending on their projected hiring needs they will see between 20-200 students for 2L summer positions, in intervals of 20 minutes apiece. Then they will decide who to invite back to their firms for a longer interview. This fair, called EIP, is the best chance to meet employers. So naturally it is important to have your shit together.
Why am I unemployed? This is something I've mused about for a while. The instinct when you meet an unemployed CLS 3L is to immediately assume something is very wrong with the person, usually either very poor grades or a terrible personality- bottom 5% in either case. I can't say I have either. My grades after 1L year, when they matter the most, weren't stellar. They weren't terrible either- less than .05 what is bandied about as median, and they went up significantly in the semesters following 1L year so I am probably now in the top third. I've also never gotten a grade below B. So I don't think I am totally barred from a job based on grades.
Whether I have a bad personality is, of course, more subjective. I don't think so. I've been able to secure callbacks at both 2L and 3L EIP, which generally means my personality does not preclude me from having a basic conversation in an interview setting. I may not be the greatest interviewer, but I am hardly the worst. Mock interviews have confirmed this. I'm even continuing to get second round (callback) interviews during 3L year.
Does OCS deserve part of the blame? Perhaps. They have a very poor reputation among the student body, and could generally do a lot more for students if they took a different approach. But I can't blame them for giving me the same level of services they gave everybody else. They signed off on what was in retrospect a very poor bidlist with a lot of wasted interviews. But like I said above, if you have to rely on them for anything you are not doing enough on your own to prepare for the job search.
In the end, I think I was done in by being just a mediocre student in every respect. I had average grades, a bad bidlist, an average personality, no work experience, a crappy undergrad, and dead-end jobs throughout my life. You have to remember that when you go on job interviews you are competing with other CLS students. Where you rank in the above factors compared to them will determine whether you get callbacks and there are simply fewer callbacks to go around than in 2007. I had the opportunity to review about a hundred resumes of 1Ls for my journal and what I saw really shocked me. Even people who went straight through did some amazing, relevant stuff during college. Meanwhile, I had never had a job paying more than near-minimum wage and had never conducted a job search outside of walking down to the grocery store with an application in hand.
What you have to remember during 2L EIP and in any job search is that the firms are looking for a reason to hire you. You go to CLS after all. But CLS can't be your only positive, because everyone else they are seeing that day also goes to CLS. After 2L EIP, the number of opportunities goes way down. There are a trickle of posted opportunities after the EIP, and those will be highly competitive.
Right now I am at a very depressing stage in my job search. I am actually at the point where interviewers assume something must be wrong with me since I am still unemployed. I get that question often in interviews. The truth is, there simply weren't enough big firm jobs to cover everyone in the c/o 2012. I know about five people still unemployed out of about 50 or so. Some people had to get screwed and I was just one of them.
I'm sorry to hijack the thread with my depressing story. In fact, besides my job situation and impending debt I have really enjoyed my time at CLS and would be happy to answer any more questions you might have.