Friday, October 08, 2010

Open Thread: What's On Your Mind

Alright, after last night's misfire (pun intended) of a post, here's an open thread to gauge what's on people's minds.

1Ls: Lost and confused yet? Doubting whether you made the right decision? Questioning DE's commitment to the school? Provided a crime victim statement to BPD yet? Talking about outlines?

2Ls: Curious what the post-OCIP world is looking like. Is it a world of have's vs. have nots? Was the distribution somewhat even? Plans?

3Ls: Profit!!!

'0910: I have been thinking about a post or maybe an open thread about advice to new associates. I don't think I'm qualified to tell anyone what it takes to succeed, but sort of like a lighthouse, I might guide you away from the deadly pitfalls. Off the cuff, (1) enter the profession with humility; (2) do not buy a fancy car right away--paying off your debt is far too important. Too many fall immediately into a lifestyle fixed by the golden handcuffs; and (3) set boundaries. If you don't f*cking roll on the Shabbas, let people know. It may be hard, but if you start early enough, it just might work.


Blogger McWho said...

FYI, it's the '10's that are starting right about now. I'm still a noob, but you should probably change it to '09/'10.

10/08/2010 10:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't sell yourself short, McWho. You are uber 1337.

10/08/2010 3:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hate to sound whiny, but since you asked what was on my mind, here it is:

There are a whole lot of 3Ls that 1) do not have jobs yet, 2) are not worried that they do not have jobs yet 3) because they have no plans to get(or try to get) firm jobs. I'm sure when you're someone who did/is doing the whole firm thing, it feels like everyone else is too (it feels that way even if you're not!), but not everyone is. Especially this year, even people who originally wanted to do firm jobs have more or less given up on that plan and are actively purusing the public sector.

I only mention this because people say with such certainty that as 3Ls we must be coasting so easy with nothing to worry about, la la la. Or assume so easily that we're so excited about how much money we'll be making next year. As Dan's (incredibly helpful!) LRAP post above shows, we won't all be rollin' in it next year -- by choice!

That's my little rant. Remember that not everyone is in the same boat. Our experience, as 3Ls looking to go into public interest/public sector work, is just as valid and important and real as that of people who are going into corporate work.

10/08/2010 3:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a 2L. Things are pretty great actually. OCIP worked for me, my schedule is chill and it's football season. Well aware that I'm in the lucky camp; at least I haven't heard much about how we did this year relative to our peer schools or previous years. Hope everyone is good.

10/08/2010 3:57 PM  
Anonymous penniless in the public interest said...

Yeah, OCIP "worked" (it's PI and doesn't pay, but what does these days? I <3 BLF), started saying "no" to some extra currics, figured out where to read a professor's analysis/opinion papers online when I can't figure out what her position is from class, and my roommate decided to take me out to brunch.

Now, if I can pass the MPRE and get paid when I graduate, things will be just about perfect. And if my landlady lets me have a kitten.

10/08/2010 4:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Depressed 2L here. It seems like OCIP/job search thus far has worked out for everyone? Or at least those who talk about it. Anyone else get dinged and pretty much have no clue what to do next?

10/08/2010 4:48 PM  
Anonymous penniless in the public interest said...

@ 4:48

I just got the job today, and she apologized for waiting so long to call... and otherwise, I'd only heard from one other interview, and still haven't been offered or not-offered the position.

So as of 9:00 AM I was in your shoes. Maybe make an appt with CDO and/or send out a second tier of apps?

10/08/2010 5:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also just got my first offer this week after a long wait.

I had been to the CDO to ask what would come next and the short answer (for me) was figuring out who I knew well enough to try and get a foot in a door, targeted letters to smaller and mid-sized firms, and government stuff (which CDO St*rn does a great job of sending updates about).

10/09/2010 7:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

fun update on the freeway shooter folks were discussing a while back:

10/09/2010 11:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Still waiting on an offer here; three callbacks, two rejections, one looooooooong ongoing wait.

10/09/2010 11:26 PM  
Blogger Toney said...

Member of '10 here... I have some brief thoughts.

1. Being a lawyer is really hard. It isn't the long hours, or the legal questions, etc, that I find challenging, but rather seemingly facile things like trying to keep deadlines straight and organizing the notes for the various projects I'm working on.

2. Outlook sucks.

3. lets you stream just about any album for free now, which helps the work day go by awfully fast.

10/10/2010 8:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Any other associates care to comment on the life of a junior attorney?

10/10/2010 10:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not doing well at OCIP has been a blessing in disguise for me. It's forced me to actually think about what will make me happy rather than continuing on the traditional path. One thing that really bothered me on my callbacks was how miserable everyone seemed, despite what they were earning. It did not seem like these jobs were any golden ticket. In the meantime, I have applied and interviewed at places where people actually enjoy their work and where being personable ACTUALLY MATTERS. Call it cheezy, but I'm glad I was forced to expand my horizons and find shit I actually want to do.

10/10/2010 11:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with 11:03. I hope that all of us find jobs that make us happy. And for those who choose jobs in which you are unhappy, please do not go on to comment on Above the Law.

10/11/2010 9:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

3L here. Like many people, I'm taking the MPRE in a few weeks (Nov. 6) and like many people, feel pretty unprepared. I've taken ethics, but still don't know much about the model rules. Anyone have any advice? Should I be worried? Or will John Steele's lecture the week before the test be enough?

10/11/2010 1:38 PM  
Blogger Armen said...

Over the years there have been countless threads on the MPRE. The consensus is that only minimal studying is necessary to achieve a passing score.

My advice is to attend John's lecture, and if you have a Bar/Bri mini-outline, then perhaps read that. And as an optional add-on, if you really want to do incredibly well, read the model rules and the commentary. More than a few questions are just reworded scenarios from the notes to the model rules.

10/11/2010 1:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Member of '10 who's yet to find employment.

Life is peachy. Looking for jobs, is about as much fun as you would expect. On the bright side, at least I can do it in my underwear and I don't have to take showers. So I've got going for me.

I've also sent off resumes for jobs that don't require a law degree. In fact, the jobs are more suited for my previous career. But I can't even get jobs I was qualified for before I left for law school because of the time out of the industry. But at least my old industry was less stressful than law. So I've got that going for me.

It's not all gloom and doom in this job market. I was offered a job that was part-time, required a full year commitment, and would have paid me less than $15k for the year. So there are jobs to be had. So I've got that going for me.

10/11/2010 6:33 PM  
Blogger caley said...

My advice for those of you lucky enough to be starting out this fall (or, in my firm's case, in January):

1. If you haven't already, get to know at least some of the second- and third-year associates in your firm. They can be a valuable resource in getting to know the office, what it's like to work for certain partners/senior associates, or how to use the firm resources to your advantage.

2. Repeat back, preferably in an email, a summary of your understanding of an assignment to the assigning attorney. If nothing else, this is a little CYA to ensure you've got the right idea so you don't do something stupid, like research all day in federal class actions when you should have been in state. And sometimes, you might find out that the assignment you were given has changed because of some change of circumstances.

3. Check in during an assignment, don't just wait until the deadline. Somewhat related to #2. It's much better to give an update as to how a research assignment is going, whether you're finding anything, etc., while you still have time to change course.

4. Save things longer than you might think. I just recently had a case I thought was all but done come flying back with a vengeance. Luckily, I had boxed all my working binders on a shelf in my office which I had already tabbed, highlighted, and put notes on, so I could navigate the briefs and motions much quicker.

5. Take primary responsibility for all deadlines in cases you're on. This probably goes more for litigators than you transactional people (I still don't know what it is you people do). It was never really explained to me that this is expected of first years in my office. If you have a calendaring department, make sure you're getting the calendar updates for the cases you're on. Partners are very busy and will sometimes not be aware that a discovery deadline or opposition filing date is coming up. Take the initiative and keep track of these for them.

6. Keep a record of things you've done on your cases. Our mid-year and year-end review process is driven by a "self-evaluation" that is like a bullet-by-bullet-point essay of you advocating for why you did such a good job over the last six months. You'd be surprised how much you forget about what you've done after 3-4 months go by. Whenever I finish a substantial project (drafting a motion or brief, writing a client alert, etc.), I have a Word doc on my desktop to jot down the client/matter #, the task, and a short description of what the result was. This goes made the self-eval waaaaaay easier when it came up.

So, that's a few things I wish I'd known prior to starting. They may or may not apply to your office/department/practice. Good luck everyone!

10/11/2010 8:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Comments like 6:33 bring up an interesting conflict I face when I talk to 1Ls. All the time I hear 1Ls talk about how awesome our grading system is, and how they will still be ok in Ps-ville, and that public interest jobs are a dime a dozen. This is how I felt too as a 1L. Do we actually disclose the truth, or do we give them a year of ignorant bliss before they face reality?

10/12/2010 12:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

6:33 here--

Granted, I wasn't Order of the Coif. But I was probably in the squishy middle.

Suggesting that grades are only or even the primary reason my search is difficult is doing others a disservice. There are a number of reasons that my search is going badly, probably several of them that don't apply to most of my fellow '10 classmates. I could have been top 10% of the class, and I most likely would still be in the same position.

10/12/2010 7:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

6:33: Care to elaborate?

10/12/2010 11:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

6:33 Here--

I think that my situation is unique enough that relatively few details would make me identifiable, and I don't want to be.

But the firm that no-offered me also no-offered another summer associate that graduated top 5% from their tier 1 law school.

So grades are only one factor.

10/12/2010 1:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another thing is this. I know of a few people that didn't pass the bar or got no offered and are still looking for work.

I haven't heard from them since they graduated nor have any of their friends.

I assume these people want to be anonymous because they are embarrassed.

The better thing is to not be ashamed if you are in this situation. Let your friends know. That is the only way they can help you. If they come across something they might think of you.

10/17/2010 6:08 PM  

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