Thursday, October 28, 2004

Career Services Night

Ok, I found that Career Services night totally depressing. And I know it wasn't just me. I'm still undecided as to whether I want to go into the private sector vs. the public sector, but I did not appreciate how that woman was pushing public interest at us. She basically told us that we'd be rich but miserable working 80 hours/wk with no quality of life, or we could be poor happy goody-two-shoes lawyers who barely make more money than a secretary.

As our one professor put it, it's not that black and white, and maybe we should take what they say with a grain of salt considering that they haven't been in practice. There are plenty of people who are happy working the frenzied pace of a big law firm, and there are plenty of people who are very unhappy in public interest b/c they're living hand to mouth trying to support their families.

All I can say is, it's all good and well to be funny during a meeting, but don't forget to do your job. As the night went on the mood became blacker as students began muttering how depressing the meeting was. I know from personal experience that it is hard to find a good job in the legal sector, but it's not impossible, definitely not if you're proactive about it. To top it all off, that woman told us first that sign-ups for Partner for a Day were Thursday morning at 8, and then ended the meeting by saying she'd see us bright and early Monday morning. What was that? She confused half the class there, and I know that many of us thought the signups were Monday morning, myself included.


Anonymous said...

I was also confused about when we were supposed to sign up for parnter for a day. Only from Lost in Iowa yesterday did I learn that we were supposed to sign up already.

All in all, the career services meeting was HORRIBLE. I get that life may be hectic and you may be unhappy in a large firm, but do you need to talk about it for 20 minutes!? I definitely had better things to do.

Anonymous said...

Hey, I wanted to let you know that I enjoy reading your blog!

I am in agreement with you that the Career Services woman spent a ungodly amount of time emphasizing the negative aspects of working in biglaw during what was supposed to be a meeting introducing us to the career services center. However I hope you don't go so far as to characterize her comments as representative of the private sector all together.

Small and midsize private sector law firms (which she barely discussed) provide a reasonable salary (often reaching six figures after a few years) coupled with managable hours. Granted, many do not provide Blackberry's or hand out box seat tickets, but your chances of becoming a partner while having (and enjoying) a family are much better. It's really an individual choice of what a person wants out of life, but don't let her fool you into thinking that there are only the two extremes of either money or happiness.

For an interesting, although some may say ficticious personal insight into biglaw, take a look at Anonymous Lawyer's Blog.

Many of the horrors of biglaw the career services lady mentioned are mentioned here, along side numerous other places on the internet.

Finally I wouldn't be too upset about what she said about obtaining a job during the 1L summer. If you work diligently mailing out letters (I know someone that mailed out 300) and trying to make contacts you should be able to find a job, but in all liklihood it will be a nonpaying one. Several people I know have found the unpaid summer work suprisingly rewarding and for one person, the experience even changed the type of law he thought that he wanted to practice. Some of our classmates that I have spoken with seem to have the false perception that many 1L's obtain $800-$1500 a week summer jobs. That doesn't happen to the majority of students at higher ranked schools anymore, and it certainly does not happen for many students at Iowa. Information on 1L summer employment around the country is readily availabe, I think some of our classmates just failed to look into this.

Best of luck with your decisions.

Anonymous said...

Career Services at Iowa is VERY unhelpful. If you are in the 80% that is not at the top of the class and you still want to work for a firm instead of public interest, they act like they are disgusted and you are bothering them.

Anonymous said...

Keep in mind that career services at Iowa is like most things in life---if you put in a lot of time and effort on your own---they will be there to help you along and give you beneficial advice. 99% of the time---those that complain most about career services are those that EXPECT career services, alone, to find them a job.