5 Ways to Approach the End of Law School


With the law school year drawing to a close, my 3L friends are having to face their looming graduation. Ask them how they’re handling things and the standard answer is that they’re worried about the job market but optimistic. When you get past the “elevator speech” they give in job interviews though, there seem to be about 5 ways that people are actually handling the impending change.

1Panic. Most prevalent among those who have nothing lined up after graduation, but even those with good prospects can succumb.  People who came into law school straight from undergrad are now dealing with having reached their “end goal.” Even if these graduates have jobs lined up, the stress of no longer having a defined path can unhinge them a little.

2Sadness. Generally these folks are on solid ground job-wise, but they have spent the last three years enjoying “working” as a law student and the transition is bittersweet. They have forged friendships and genuinely like the connections they’ve made during school. Graduating from law school and moving into a new law career means leaving people they don’t want to leave.

3Doucheyness. Gunners with jobs. Not just jobs, either, but high-paying jobs in big law. If I hear the phrase, “I just don’t understand why some people are complaining about the job market, I didn’t have any trouble” from someone in this group again I’ll be dangerously close to having an incident to report when I’m writing up my application to the bar.

4Self-Righteous Resentment. Gunners without jobs. Often gunners who have also failed the bar and are now working as smoking cessation coaches. There is a tendency in this group to blame the law school for failing to prepare them for the job market, despite the fact that they applied for exactly one job during their entire time at law school.

5Drunk. The fun group. You don’t know whether these people are celebrating or depressed, and if you press them they won’t tell you. But they’re a lot of fun to go bar-hopping with.

The Northwest 3L spent 6 years in the "real world" cultivating cynicism and a dim view of humanity in the telecom and software consulting industries before deciding that the best way to deal with having zero debt in a down economy was to load up on student loans and truck on off to law school. Asked for a description, his friends replied, "says inappropriate things." Grainy, out-of-focus film footage suggests that he attends law school somewhere in the Pacific Northwest.

1 Comment

  1. Guano Dubango

    April 10, 2012 at 9:04 pm

    I attended law school in Ghana but got my LLM here. It is a good time to reflect when you graduate on all the righteous babes you could have had, if you had not been toiling away in the library. Now that you are out, make sure to try and take advantage while you are still young, because once you become an old lion, the righteous babes just wont be there for you.

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