As part of my graduation 3L experience, I have the (mandatory) opportunity to participate in an exit interview. I’m not sure if my school has done this before; I don’t care if they do it again. I do know that I have to spend 15 minutes with an assistant dean I’ve never met sometime this week, discussing a two page survey I have to complete prior to our meeting. Rumor has it I may even get a pen as a parting gift. Woo hoo.
As part of the exit interview process, I also had the (mandatory) opportunity to fill out the Graduate Survey Form for the Class of 2013 NALP Employment Report and Salary Survey. The survey itself is 2 pages, accompanied by 4 pages of “frequently asked questions” including the definitions of “volunteer” and “stipend,” as well as answers to questions like, “How do I choose my employer type?” Because while we were “smart” enough to get through law school, we’re too dumb to know what those words mean. Or, it’s a survey written by lawyers for future lawyers. Take your pick.
Unfortunately my time with the NALP survey was cut short, due to my “not employed” status. See question A1:
Select only one of the following to describe your post-graduate status.
All of the answers that include “not employed” also include this enchanting parenthetical: “(also complete item A2; the rest of the form is not applicable.” (Item A2 asks: are you volunteering?)
As I marked my unemployed box, which completed the survey, I couldn’t help but wonder how many of us stopped after filling out “not employed and seeking work/paid position.” How long will I be checking that box?
I moved on to the exit interview survey. They at least had some questions for the unemployed plebeians. It wasn’t even until the second page that the questionnaire got tricky.
What factors contributed to your decision to choose our school of law?
This one’s easy. Cost, scholarship, location. Boom, done.
Are you happy with your decision? Check one of the follow: yes, no, not sure.
Well, that’s a loaded question. Do I check yes, because of all the schools I could’ve picked, all the options I had, this was probably my best choice? Do I check no, because I’m not really thrilled about it? Do I check “not sure”? Does it matter? Probably not.
What are the school’s strengths?
What does it say, if anything, about me, and the school, that my first response was the main office administrative assistant?
Areas to improve?
I have thought about this question more times than I’ll ever be able to count. If I’m going to answer this honestly, I’m going to need more than 1 x 7 inch space.
But the real question is, do they want me to answer this honestly? And if so, how honest do they want me to be? What’s the point of this little exercise, exactly? What is that they want to hear?
There’s no down side to filling it out with complete honesty, no real punishment to fret over. There’s also really nothing to gain. Is my one answer going to change things here? No. will it make things better for future students? Unlikely. Will it make me feel better in some way? Eh, maybe.
Is that the point? Is this supposed to be some kind of catharsis for 3Ls? Like a course evaluation at the end of the semester, except for last six semesters? (And much shorter, the course evals have significantly more questions). Are we supposed to be appreciative, honored that you asked?
Or has law school made me too cynical and suspicious, too paranoid of ulterior motives, too willing to see something in the shadows? I don’t know. I guess we’ll find out this week. Maybe I’ll get to ask a few questions of my own before I walk out of there with my complimentary pen.
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