Passed Bar. No Job. No motivation. Bad Record.

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Passed Bar. No Job. No motivation. Bad Record.

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Dec 17, 2018 3:50 pm

Just passed my state's bar exam as of November, right after graduating law school this year. I'm a licensed attorney now. I did not do anything my 2L year because of depression of striking out of OCI. My foolish self thought that getting a few screening interviews at OCI was going to land me a job. I did not hustle. I am also a TTT transfer to a lower- T1 regional. Did OCI at lower-T1 regional. Have 130-140K debt. Only experience I have is doing an internship at a small state agency for an ALJ(Not federal ALJ). This was my 1L year summer. I applied a few places as of now mostly small and mid, have not heard anything. Takes soo much energy to tailor cover letters that I'm losing motivation. I guess I'm looking for similar experiences by positing this thread really.

I went to law school because I really wanted to be a "lawyer." Now, I am one. I'm still interested in doing legal work and have a get the job done mentality even though I may not be perfect. Also, to make matters worse, in between my second and third year of law school I got charged with an offense (non-felony) during winter break where I claimed self-defense but my claim was not fruitful enough. The charge ended up getting dismissed, in what is called alternative sentencing (Did community service, paid a fine, took classes etc.) No conviction occured. The case can be sealed but I have to wait some time since it was fairly recent. Will this screw me even more? The arrest record may show up in background checks. I had no issues with character and fitness with my state bar.

Am I pretty much screwed in the job market with his type of background? I just started applying as well. I will need to put in more effort. I think it will take me a good 3-4 months to find a job.

At the end of the day, I am fully responsible for my choices. Life is not fair, and I did what I did. I went to law school, knowing the job market was shit, but I really wanted to be a lawyer, why? Because I thought it was cool to be a lawyer! Yes, it is foolish!

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Re: Passed Bar. No Job. No motivation. Bad Record.

Post by jbagelboy » Mon Dec 17, 2018 4:10 pm

No offense, but you sound lazy and it seems like you’ve been lazy about this for quite some time. You have had seven months since graduation (not to mention all of 2L and 3L) and you have only applied to “a few places” in all that time? Because writing individualized cover letters is difficult? Not trying to hit you when you’re down, but what do you want from us here?

There’s only really one piece of advice, and it’s fairly obvious: try harder.

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Re: Passed Bar. No Job. No motivation. Bad Record.

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Dec 17, 2018 4:28 pm

OP here. You're right. Thank you. I've been down because of this chain of events and the offense.

I appreciate you!

lavarman84

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Re: Passed Bar. No Job. No motivation. Bad Record.

Post by lavarman84 » Mon Dec 17, 2018 4:50 pm

Are you screwed? No. But it will take hard work for you to land a job. It's certainly doable. How are your grades?

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Re: Passed Bar. No Job. No motivation. Bad Record.

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Dec 17, 2018 5:14 pm

Top 1/2

Lower T-1 regional (as mentioned) in OP.

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Re: Passed Bar. No Job. No motivation. Bad Record.

Post by Bingo_Bongo » Tue Dec 18, 2018 2:31 pm

No offense if you're actually going through some problems, OP, but I'm trying to figure out of this is a troll or not.

You say:
Anonymous User wrote:I'm still interested in doing legal work and have a get the job done mentality even though I may not be perfect.
But you also write:
Only experience I have is doing an internship at a small state agency for an ALJ(Not federal ALJ).
I applied a few places [but it] takes soo much energy to tailor cover letters that I'm losing motivation.
I went to law school, knowing the job market was shit, but I really wanted to be a lawyer, why? Because I thought it was cool to be a lawyer! Yes, it is foolish!
OP, I don't know you, but make no mistake: the problem here isn't the "shit" market. You seem to be subconsciously honest and aware of this, too. I don't mean to kick you while you're down, but I'm going go give you my candid impressions. And they all have to do with you seeming pretty lazy:

You went your entire law school career with only one work experience (your 1L summer). Somebody HAS to have been telling you that you were shooting yourself in the foot. So many employers (especially non-big law employers) want to see some experience in their field before they hire you. Big Law firms have the money and resources to train you, so they hire largely just based off of grades/prestige of your school. They don't care as much about prior legal work. But most smaller firms and government jobs don't want to have to hold their new entry-level attorney's hands, losing money off of them for years, so they prefer to hire entry-level attorneys that at least have a few semesters of internships/clerkships/clinics under their belt in their field. The applicants you're competing with all have these work experiences.

I'm not saying it's impossible to overcome this. The good news is that you're never out of the game. It's just that much harder when you're competing with a bunch of new lawyers who spent their law school career tailoring their resumes to give them good shots of getting hired after the bar, with clerking/internships/clinics. It sounds like you weren't concerned at all with doing that.

Then you say that it "takes too much energy to tailor cover letters." Just stop saying this. Definitely don't say this in an interview. You claim to really want a job, but you can muster up the energy to actually apply for them? You blame this bad "job market", but admit that you can't summon up the energy to write cover letters? I'll agree that when you're job hunting, custom cover letters and essays suck. But I'd never say that it takes "too much" energy to do them, whilst simoltantiously complaining about how impossible it is to get a job. You just spent three years in law school. What's a few hours writing custom cover letters? Hustle!

And in terms of your fight, most firms/private employers probably won't care much. Something like that stands you a decent chance of disqualifying you from a place like a DA's Office, or other law enforcement type job, though (at least for a couple years). Those places tend to want people with squeaky clean backgrounds.

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Re: Passed Bar. No Job. No motivation. Bad Record.

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Dec 18, 2018 11:20 pm

OP here,

Yes, I waited until licensure to really get in the game The offense had me worried that I would have character and fitness issue and then having to explain that or possibly get dinged for a year or two from my licensing state agency (board/bar). I did not and am in the clear fully licensed. I guess I really also lost it after OCI. I got to hustle now.

Would anyone here take up an unpaid internship at say, a PD office with hopes of being hired later on? How would you go about asking the interviewer this question that you eventually want to be hired later on?

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Re: Passed Bar. No Job. No motivation. Bad Record.

Post by QContinuum » Tue Dec 18, 2018 11:25 pm

Anonymous User wrote:OP here,

Yes, I waited until licensure to really get in the game The offense had me worried that I would have character and fitness issue and then having to explain that or possibly get dinged for a year or two from my licensing state agency (board/bar). I did not and am in the clear fully licensed. I guess I really also lost it after OCI. I got to hustle now.

Would anyone here take up an unpaid internship at say, a PD office with hopes of being hired later on? How would you go about asking the interviewer this question that you eventually want to be hired later on?
You should certainly try to do (volunteer) legal work while you seek employment. An unpaid PD gig might work, but I don't think you'd be able to get them to promise you upfront that they'll hire you when the next opening arises.

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Re: Passed Bar. No Job. No motivation. Bad Record.

Post by Npret » Tue Dec 18, 2018 11:31 pm

OP - have you been treated for depression?
You sound like your mental health is slowing you down.

I think that if you’ve been licensed, your record shouldn’t stop you from aggressively looking for work.

A volunteer gig can at least help you get experience for a job that you aren’t getting now.

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Re: Passed Bar. No Job. No motivation. Bad Record.

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Dec 18, 2018 11:32 pm

Qcontinumm

Thanks. Let's see how it goes. Not sure if PD is necessarily govt. even though govt. funded, not sure how the record will play into it. I'll just be upfront and honest!

Got interview in a few days.

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Re: Passed Bar. No Job. No motivation. Bad Record.

Post by QContinuum » Tue Dec 18, 2018 11:34 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Qcontinumm

Thanks. Let's see how it goes. Not sure if PD is necessarily govt. even though govt. funded, not sure how the record will play into it. I'll just be upfront and honest!

Got interview in a few days.
Best of luck!

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Re: Passed Bar. No Job. No motivation. Bad Record.

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Dec 18, 2018 11:39 pm

Npret wrote:OP - have you been treated for depression?
You sound like your mental health is slowing you down.

I think that if you’ve been licensed, your record shouldn’t stop you from aggressively looking for work.

A volunteer gig can at least help you get experience for a job that you aren’t getting now.

Yes, I am just now beginning this "aggressive" search. I have not personally been treated. Did suffer from social anxiety when I was a teenager, but was not prescribed anything because doctor believed did not need it. Honestly, I got over my SA, naturally. Probably do have signs of mental fatigue and stress, however. Just got licensed last month and began the search last month too. The search is going to slow down for a bit now because of the holidays, etc. But, I did have a negative outlook on a lot of things, so that may have screwed me up. I am also surprised I passed the Bar the first time around. Mostly getting kicked out of OCI messed me up, but hey that was expected I was a TTT transfer to a lower-T1. Less than 19% at my transferee law school get jobs through OCI total. Not sure what it is for biglaw, the 19% includes everything, mid, small, etc.

Npret

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Re: Passed Bar. No Job. No motivation. Bad Record.

Post by Npret » Tue Dec 18, 2018 11:42 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Yes, I am just now beginning this "aggressive" search. I have not personally been treated. Did suffer from social anxiety when I was a teenager, but was not prescribed anything because doctor believed did not need it. Honestly, I got over my SA, naturally. Probably do have signs of mental fatigue and stress, however. Just got licensed last month and began the search last month too. The search is going to slow down for a bit now because of the holidays, etc. But, I did have a negative outlook on a lot of things, so that may have screwed me up. I am also surprised I passed the Bar the first time around. Mostly getting kicked out of OCI messed me up, but hey that was expected I was a TTT transfer to a lower-T1. Less than 19% at my transferee law school get jobs through OCI total. Not sure what it is for biglaw, the 19% includes everything, mid, small, etc.
You aren’t the only person to have mental health issues as a result of not getting something from OCI. That is all water under the bridge now and you need to move forward.

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Re: Passed Bar. No Job. No motivation. Bad Record.

Post by malibustacy » Wed Dec 19, 2018 2:24 am

Where do you eat and sleep? Doesn't sound like you're struggling, debt aside.

I'd bet you'd try harder if you were surfing on friends' couches while struggling to eat. Get off your ass and be an adult.

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Re: Passed Bar. No Job. No motivation. Bad Record.

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Dec 19, 2018 8:34 pm

Did you try talking to your school? They may have some opportunities for you.

Since you have a license, you can always find some document review work or go solo practitioner if all else fails. May not be the ideal situation, but you're not in the ideal situation, and it's better than nothing.

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Re: Passed Bar. No Job. No motivation. Bad Record.

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Dec 19, 2018 9:49 pm

Op here. Have seriously considered solo. However, it’s better to vet some experience under my belt before going at it. Going solo also means running a business. I have no business experience what so ever. However, that does not mean I cannot learn or am not willing to learn. However, I will leave the solo ship alone for now. Also, I am a K-JD, not that it really matters, but this will be my first actual career and interaction with the work force as a professional and going solo just does seem too far fetched to me. It also does not help when you still look as young and skinny as a tall slender nineteen year old... right out of high school (good genes...hell, idk)... Probably look as young as the indivual client’s son or grandson. It doesn’t help when you get asked whenever you’re out with family, etc, “son how’s schooling going? Or “how is your studies going?” Oh, “how old are you?” I tell them I’m done with law school and am an attorney. So hard to believe, huh?

Any tips on how to turn a unpaid govt type internship into an actual job, such as PD or DA office. When should I ask this question at the onset of the job? Obviously I’ll have to work hard to get an offer if even possible? At this point, I’ve decided while I search for a job any volunteer or internship experience, more so geared towards attorneys is beneficial. Luckily, I have found some gigs which have limited opportunities for attorneys to intern. Of course it’s not for pay.

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Re: Passed Bar. No Job. No motivation. Bad Record.

Post by Bingo_Bongo » Thu Dec 20, 2018 1:34 am

Anonymous User wrote:Any tips on how to turn a unpaid govt type internship into an actual job, such as PD or DA office. When should I ask this question at the onset of the job? Obviously I’ll have to work hard to get an offer if even possible? At this point, I’ve decided while I search for a job any volunteer or internship experience, more so geared towards attorneys is beneficial. Luckily, I have found some gigs which have limited opportunities for attorneys to intern. Of course it’s not for pay.
Depending on your jurisdiction, DA and PD jobs can be very competitive, so don't let the media fool you into thinking these positions are some easy thing that any attorney with a pulse can snag. That's probably one of the biggest thing screenwriters get wrong about the law. There's only so many DA/PD positions per county, and only so many counties in an area, with a lot of people wanting to practice criminal law.

They're not competitive in the big law sense that these employers care about the prestige of your school and your grades, they're competitive in the sense that they like to see a lot of criminal law work experience and court appearances. So my advice (if you could score some volunteer TAP attorney job, or something like that) would be to get as many court appearances/trials under your belt as possible, and keep a log of them. It's the court appearances that'll make you competitive. Also practice opening/closing arguments, and watch misdemeanor trials when you can. Most DA/PD offices will have you give sort of an audition as part of your interview. They'll give you a police report, 15 minutes to prep, and then tell you to come back and give an opening/closing. DAs offices will also usually ask hypos (would you charge this?/what would you charge?/do you think you could prove this case BRD?), so it's good to have practical criminal law experience from your jurisdiction so you can answer intelligently.

If you can get a DA or PD position, you'll love it. When I was in a mid-sized firm, they sent me to a TAP attorney program, and it was one of the best experiences in my life since I was finally doing what it was I always thought lawyers did before I went to law school. In less than a month's time, I got two trials under my belt, five prelims, and when I went back to my firm I kept an eye open for full-time openings at their office. I was finally offered position at a nearby agency, and haven't looked back since.

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Re: Passed Bar. No Job. No motivation. Bad Record.

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Dec 20, 2018 2:02 am

OP here Bingo thanks for your share.

However, so is it even worth asking the interviewer anything at all about job openings after the internship/volunteer work? Should I ask do you hire interns afterwards, or what do interns end up doing after the internship?

I’ve thought that I’ll ask these types of questions towards the end of the interview. Usually during my experience, interviewers, always end with the interview phrasing the question, “Do you have any questions for me?” or something similar. This is where I can start to ask a bit about this because it seems more polite inquiring about it this way than having a “I’m only in it because I want something permanent type attitude,” which people can pickup on. Also, if I don’t get anything permanent, it doesn’t matter. The experience will help.

So, I can ask towards the end when they ask... and say... something like... As you know I’m a newly licensed attorney and am interested in this type of work for an earning as well, how does the office usually hire newly licensed attorneys, etc. and how does the internship help with future employment with such agencies elsewhere (possibly in different county)... etc?

Seems like this is the best place/time to ask, which is towards the end when the interviewer is finishing up if one wants to ask such a question at all.

My interview is likely over the phone and in the next few days. Any advice is appreciated :)

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Re: Passed Bar. No Job. No motivation. Bad Record.

Post by Bingo_Bongo » Thu Dec 20, 2018 3:21 am

Anonymous User wrote: so is it even worth asking the interviewer anything at all about job openings after the internship/volunteer work? Should I ask do you hire interns afterwards, or what do interns end up doing after the internship?
Yeah, that's definitely a good question you can ask when they turn to you for questions. Who knows, the office you're interviewing for might even have a feeder type program for interns becoming Deputy/Assistant DAs. Worst case, you'll probably get some helpful advice from a person who actually works in that office who can tell you what you need to do to start making yourself a competitive candidate for them. And it absolutely won't hurt you for the hiring panel to know that you're interested in working for their office as a permanent career. They know you're a graduate. They know you're licensed. If anything they'd think you're crazy if you wanted to just work an unpaid internship as a career. It's completely understandable that you're looking to this for experience hoping it might lead to a full-time job.

One thing I'd avoid in your interview, though, is making it seem like you're seeking the position because you don't know what else to do/it's a fallback. DA and PD offices really look for people who are enthusiastic about the office's mission. I'd talk about the reasons why you're interested in criminal law (be it the fact that the cases you work on are more "real" than doing corporate work; it's rewarding because you're helping victims find justice; spending your day in court sounds way more fun than spending your day doing legal research and writing).

It might be hard to explain away why you didn't pursue criminal law internships in law school, or a lack of moot court/mock trial, but you should probably come up with something ahead of time that fits your situation, in case they ask. Maybe something along the lines of you didn't consider it much during law school, but your friends who went that route love it, and it seems fulfilling.

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Re: Passed Bar. No Job. No motivation. Bad Record.

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Dec 20, 2018 3:12 pm

Npret wrote:OP - have you been treated for depression?
You sound like your mental health is slowing you down.
Don't disregard this, OP. Depression isn't laziness, but it's going to preclude you from getting and/or keeping a job if you don't seek treatment.

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Re: Passed Bar. No Job. No motivation. Bad Record.

Post by AVBucks4239 » Fri Dec 21, 2018 3:02 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Op here. Have seriously considered solo. However, it’s better to vet some experience under my belt before going at it. Going solo also means running a business. I have no business experience what so ever. However, that does not mean I cannot learn or am not willing to learn. However, I will leave the solo ship alone for now. Also, I am a K-JD, not that it really matters, but this will be my first actual career and interaction with the work force as a professional and going solo just does seem too far fetched to me. It also does not help when you still look as young and skinny as a tall slender nineteen year old... right out of high school (good genes...hell, idk)... Probably look as young as the indivual client’s son or grandson. It doesn’t help when you get asked whenever you’re out with family, etc, “son how’s schooling going? Or “how is your studies going?” Oh, “how old are you?” I tell them I’m done with law school and am an attorney. So hard to believe, huh?

Any tips on how to turn a unpaid govt type internship into an actual job, such as PD or DA office. When should I ask this question at the onset of the job? Obviously I’ll have to work hard to get an offer if even possible? At this point, I’ve decided while I search for a job any volunteer or internship experience, more so geared towards attorneys is beneficial. Luckily, I have found some gigs which have limited opportunities for attorneys to intern. Of course it’s not for pay.
There are a million reasons not to go solo, and none of them are very good once you dip your toe in the water and actually do it.

No legal experience? Then office share with some more seasoned attorneys, ask to sit in on meetings and attend hearings, and become best friends with your county bar association's law librarians (I just dropped off four dozen cookies to them).

No business experience? Keep your overhead low and meet with an accountant. There cannot possibly be an easier business to run than a law practice.

You're a K-JD? Who cares at this point -- you need to go make money, and you're never going to get a client or do legal work if you just sit on your ass and make excuses.

Not trying to brag here, just being illustrative because I am not something special at all -- my solo practice this year made $66k in seven months and next year is looking considerably better. In fact, two decent settlement paydays are coming in January ($20.8k and $7.7k). I'm getting another $11.5k flat fee to try a case in January. Add on all my other work and I will probably have made $50k by the end of February.

I had 7 paying clients when I started this past May. I now have 38. I have a good baseline of referral sources. My phone rings pretty regularly. I have 3-4 other cases that are going to be $50k+ settlements, probably next year. And a lot of other civil work.

Stop scaring yourself with irrational excuses, including this opportunity. I also look young (still get carded all the time), have no business experience, etc. But a law degree is a license to start your own business and charge $200 an hour for civil clients and $60 an hour doing public work (you know how many people would eat a pound of dog shit to make $60 an hour?). GO GET IT.

If you are in a reasonably sized city (think Cleveland or bigger), I bet you could make $75,000 EASY just doing appearance work (showing up at default hearings and pre-trials), criminal appointment work, and some other publicly funded work (guardian ad litem, working with legal aid, juvenile court, etc.). Then you WILL get clients and you will make even more money.

If you're seriously interested in this, read Solo by Choice, How to Start and Build a Law Practice, and The E-Myth Attorney. It's definitely not for everyone, but don't talk yourself out of it before seriously considering it.

Sooner or later I may make a TLS post on this, but PM me if you have any specific questions about going solo.

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Re: Passed Bar. No Job. No motivation. Bad Record.

Post by manwithplan » Sun Dec 23, 2018 2:21 pm

People telling you that you almost certainly need to work harder in terms of overall output in order to succeed are probably correct (whether that be cover letters/getting bits of experience). However, to assess the reason you are not working as stupidity or some sort of internal lack of motivation problem is not productive and frankly, not fair to yourself (unless you feel something is wrong with you, in which case, this is the United States and we have some of the world's best medicine). There could be any number of reasons that have nothing to do with your intelligence that put you in what sounds like a tough situation (trying to turn a few screeners into an offer).

The beauty of your situation is that while you have debt, you were a pretty solid student and you still want to be a lawyer. And what is stupid about wanting to be something because you thought it was cool? (attacking yourself again!!) The fact that you are still here, after the low periods you have endured, tells me that you still do think law is cool. Obviously no one thinks not having anything to do during the day is cool — you probably just need to get in the action and start getting exposure to things. My advice is to cease completely any attacking of yourself. And to think only about the things you can do to get to what you want: which is being a lawyer, helping people figure out legal problems, and eventually getting paid to do so while obviously managing as best you can financially until you get there.

The others had better advice about the specific opportunities to pursue. But I echo their general encouragement to move in that direction. In my experience, there is no competitive advantage gained from attacking yourself in trying to assess the causes of difficult situations. There is only moving on from them.

As for the legal "problem," treat it as an opportunity to grow stronger. Think about how good it will feel to have found a way to succeed in spite of it, and then be able to look back on it as something from which you learned. There's not much more you can do about it. And that in itself is a beautiful thing because now you can concentrate on what matters.

Cheers, friend.

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Re: Passed Bar. No Job. No motivation. Bad Record.

Post by rcharter1978 » Tue Dec 25, 2018 9:17 am

^ agree that you should probably stop beating yourself up. That cannot be good for your mental health.

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Re: Passed Bar. No Job. No motivation. Bad Record.

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Dec 25, 2018 11:10 am

OP here,

Thanks everyone for the words of encouragement. I am focusing on what matters most to me at the moment, which are quite frankly two things: (1) getting a paid job and/or volunteering to get legal experience; and (2) focusing on myself, attempting to avoid any distractions, so I may concentrate on (1). Attempting to find internal motivation, drive, and stamina is what (2) is about. This will help me in the long run. I have started to avoid a lot of distractions in my life, such as extended family outings and social media for now. Both of these things can cause a lackluster of time being wasted in my situation. As mentioned, I’m focusing on the two things that matter most at the moment. It’s time to be more assertive, responsible, and mature. This is a career, which I still have an interest in and need to pursue it to make a living. Who else is going to pay my debt, start a family eventually, move out and buy a home, get married? With a positive move and impact towards my career, this can happen.

I did do an interview for volunteer work at PD/DA. I specifically asked to be put in a department where I can get practical experience and a readily transferable skill set, applicable to lawyers who spend a majority of their day at the courthouse. I think the interview went very well. The individual said, to look out for the offer letter. I am hoping to volunteer here while continuously sending applications to govt. and private firms (small and some speciality midlaw). I guess any sort of hands-on legal experience will be beneficial to give me that boost to kick start what is to come next in the long run in my career, at this point. Also, wouldn’t hurt if in the long run, I could get a paid gig with PD/DA. My interest primiarly involves practical hands-on legal work, which involves filing motions, attending docket hearings, pretrial hearings, client and witness interviews, memoranda drafting, motion drafting, legal research, etc.

Thanks again! Merry Christmas!!!!

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