Greetings fellow law students, soon-to-be law students, and all other dreamers. Its meeeee – I’m still heeeeere! And now as a 2L.
So I’m 3 weeks into 2L year. And let me just make one observation. I – Have – Been – Misled – to – Think – 2L – Was – “EASIER.”
It’s a conspiracy. The 2Ls and 3Ls told me last year – don’t worry, 1L is tough, but 2L is way easier. Bull. The only difference thus far is that instead of having just classes to worry about, I now have “OCI” (on-campus interviewing) and all other things related to the job search AND in addition to taking 5 classes (yes, I was delusional when I registered for classes), I also have commitments related to the journal that I worked so hard to be on (as though it was a badge of
honor horror to become intimately familiar with the BlueBook and editing “scholarly” works consisting of citations to newspaper articles dating back to the 70’s).
But in all seriousness, I’m really happy to be back at school. My summer was intense and I learned a lot but I found some comfort in getting back into the grind of law school. Granted, I felt that 1L taught me all I needed to know to become an attorney (and I still feel that way), but quite frankly, I like getting “out of” having to do the dishes, laundry, etc. because I can use “I’m studying” as an excuse (even if the excuse is only to myself). Now – let me clear one thing up here – I am not a gunner. But I do enjoy the intellectual rigors of law school. Plus, the best thing about 2L year is I’m taking the classes I want to take – and therefore only can blame myself (not the ABA) for any developing disdain for any particular subject – say, Ambulance Chasing 101.
I’ve had a few rambling thoughts jumbling around in my head that I wanted to share – none of which are fully developed enough to create stand alone blog posts – so while the following may seem random, well, just take it for what it is:
Random Thought #1
OCI is fun. It’s like speed dating. As long as you have more than 3-4 interviews scheduled, otherwise, you don’t have the luxury of chilling-out because every interview must matter. Not that some don’t, but it’s nice to have a few backups. Some of the interviews I’ve had are actually a lot of fun – the interviewers are extremely personable and like to throw a few jokes around to lighten the mood (and of course test the personality of the interviewee as well). On the other hand, I’ve had interviewers that are so shy, they seemed more nervous than I – in which case, I had to learn to really sell myself without being prompted to and take charge of the interview. Lastly, I had an interviewer who talked about himself for 20 mins – everything from his kid, to his dog, to his passion for rock collecting – seriously. 10 minutes-in, I had already mentally declared I would never want to work with this person even if it was my only offer. Which leads me to this important point – you are interviewing the firm/agency/whatever just as much as they are interviewing you.
Random Thought #2
Why, why, why are my classmate wearing really dark nail polish colors during interviews, half of which has chipped off? Puhl-eeze. I know that we are all very busy bees but either don’t wear polish at all (or just wear clear) or actually make sure you’re wearing an appropriate shade (nude or pale pink) with the lacquer fully intact. Granted, most interviewers tend to be male (and I won’t even get into my long rant about the need for more women on the hiring committee) but even though they are male – they still notice your appearance and are still aware of what is considered appropriate. And in case its not obvious, black polish = not appropriate.
Random Thought #3
Sell yourself. Sell. Your. Self. I am naturally a very modest non-braggy person. Perhaps this comes from the fact I’m unapologetically feminine. But this is something I have to get over. It’s an interview – you have permission to (tactfully) share your accomplishments and the many reasons why you are best suited for the job. I’m beating myself up because I’ve been given many opportunities to elaborate on something in my resume or something that the interviewer may not even otherwise know about me and yet I tend to diminish my accomplishments or prior experiences. I’ve literally said, “Oh, I was just a secretary for five years.” Doh! Not “JUST” – no no no – I was a “legal assistant to three busy partners in x areas of law, which allowed me to develop a good understanding of the inner workings and business side of private practice.” Work it!
Random Thought #4
Similar to #3, when a firm offers to pay you to come back for a second interview – don’t be sheepish in allowing the firms to cover your expenses. In my case, the cost of gas for me driving to a callback was around $45, but because the firm paid $.050 per mile, I was entitled to nearly $150. Because I tend to be financially conservative and am not oblivious to the fact the economy is rough and firms are cutting costs, I insisted that I be reimbursed only for my actual expenses. The response I received wasn’t at all what I had expected. Instead of appreciating my gesture, it was (inadvertently) assumed that I had become less interested in the position after my callback and that my offer was in guilt for feeling that I would not accept – which isn’t true at all. Perhaps someone with more expertise could weigh in here – but I had clearly not contemplated this type of reaction.
Random Thought #5
Callbacks that include a meal (lunch or dinner – or heck, maybe breakfast too) involve alcohol. It’s part of the culture – but it’s also a way to gauge how you can handle yourself in situations where your maturity and business savvy is tested. My top – one glass of wine, and sip slooooowly. Make it last the entire evening. My less fortunate peers who consumed their first glass too early encountered a particularly unique problem (ie their glasses refilled before they could even object) – three glasses in, they were feeling pretty good – all (I mean ALL) inhibitions went to the wayside. And now we see what drunken 2Ls look like at a callback interview. Not. pretty.
That’s all I have for now – I hope to check back in as time permits. And please keep the comments and emails coming – I love hearing from you and since law school is no walk in the park, I love the encouragement!