Hello. I graduated from a top 20 USNWR ranked school with a 3.9 GPA back in the fall of last year and have been unemployed ever since. During the entire time, I was applying to jobs, but nothing has ever panned out after interviews. I've also been set back a bit struggling with depression, but I'm on medication now and trying to take care of mental and physical health. I'm just really worried, and I feel like a failure right now as to what to do. I don't think there's anything inherently wrong with being a bartender or doing some other service-related job, but I'm just worried how that would look like for law school applications. I just really want to work an office job for a large company, and I'm still applying as we speak because I want to take a 2 or three years off before law school. I want to get into a T6, ideally get one of HYS, but without solid work experience, I don't even know if I can get into. Any advice/feedback/insight/input would be highly appreciated. Thanks in advance.
Get any job you can, especially in the current market. It doesn't matter if it's an office job. If anything, jobs like bartending look better on law school applications because they make you stand out from the crowd of people who did their obligatory 1-2 years as a paralegal before applying.
Any work experience is solid work experience. Just get something that will pay the rent.
Agreed w/ Cav's advice---just get any job that pays the bills, and don't worry about the prestige factor right now. I would add that this is an excellent time to get good/well-read/fluent at something that you don't yet have as part of your background, which could make you a more interesting and attractive candidate for law schools and legal jobs later on.
A simple job can show humility and you can get a better job when the economy improves. Don't make a big deal over it. Lives aren't made or broken at 22 but you should probably mature past the strawberry princess mindset.
I can echo the previous posters. You have a strong GPA indicating a very good academic performance from a top school so you have proven success in that regard. A good chunk (maybe even a majority) of law students have no job experience other than internships, so you are certainly not in a doomsday scenario. That being said, a prolonged work experience gap is a red flag for your general career prospects. You get some slack for being a new graduate, but I recommend doing one of the following:
1) applying for entry level jobs at tech start-ups. There are quite a few remote jobs listed out there.
2) start some kind of certification program to fill the gap and keep you busy (General Assembly, Udacity, Boot Camps, etc)
3) reach out to your school career counseling - frequently they will have job listings that have specific slots allocated for their graduates.
4) teach english online through one of the online platforms.
Don't stress too much about it. I remember many students worked in starbucks, tutored english, or did some other random job before school. It's not impressive but it's not a knock against you.
Don't stress at all OP. If you wind up with a job as, e.g., a bartender, it will not foreclose your ability to land a T6. The T6 (including YHS) is always in play for people that (1) have a solid GPA, and (2) kill the LSAT. You already have the first requirement. If you meet the second requirement, the sky is the limit, regardless of your work experience. I went to YLS, and ran into plenty of people who had "regular" jobs before law school. You could always spin your experience as a bartender (or something similar) into an interesting personal statement. Good luck!
I got my biglaw job talking mostly about working at a fast food place in my screener. A WilmerHale partner told students at my school he specifically looks for people with service industry experience. It's similar to biglaw in important ways (dealing with dicks all the time), except you get paid shit instead of lots. His theory was if you could deal with that, it was a good sign for being able to cope with big law.
Census seems really cool tbh. Idk how it'll work with Covid but I bet you'll get some amazing memories doing that.
Echoing others, law schools don't care so much about your pre-school work experience. For their purposes, the LSAT score and GPA are the most important metrics. For law firms, when hiring, 1L grades are the most important metric, followed by soft skills/how you present during an interview. And as others have said, it's doubtful that any law school or law firm will fault you for any unemployment or other challenges you face during this time.
Also adding to what others have said, now may be a great time to really focus on getting the highest LSAT score that you can. As others have noted, with your GPA and a high LSAT score (165-170+, perhaps), you would have your choice at many of the top law schools. During the time frame that you laid out, you could take the test probably as many times as you need (most of my friends took it twice). Although LSAT study materials are not cheap necessarily, a higher LSAT score can lead directly to substantial scholarships, so the cost is likely worth it if you're able to spend your money in that way. If not, there may be people out there with lightly used/secondhand materials who would be willing to give these away for free.
That said, with the mental health issues that you've described, sitting down and focusing on the LSAT may be challenging. I agree with you that working on your physical and mental health, especially during this difficult time, should be your first priority.