Warning Signs Unheeded

In retrospect, there were warning signs that law school was a bad investment. They were sitting right out in the open and would seem to be obvious to anyone from the outside, but as with most students, we operated with blinders on and didn’t see the forest for the trees. By the time most of us were truly aware of the bad state we were in and understood the direness of the situation, we were well into our second year and by that time you’ve already invested 2/3 of the money. Might as well finish. In retrospect it seems like throwing good money after bad.

All through law school there were ‘networking events’ setup by the law school / career service office and sometimes by the student organizations. The supposed end to these events I had assumed were to get you a job, it seems that they were really window dressing to continue to delude people that you would be employed once you left law school.

Towards the end of my second year, I went to one particular networking events. I had been to others, but this one was related to the specialty I was most interested in and I was determined to find an summer position at one of these firms. It was arranged by the Student IP association in conjunction with our career service office. I have a decided interest in IP and had taken every IP class my law school had to offer while I was there, and considering my background I figured I would be just what these employers would be looking for in an intern / summer associate. So I put on a suit, polished the ole resume, printed it out on some spiffy paper and set out to go to the networking event.

Probably a little more than 12 firms were represented which ranged from smaller specialty boutiques to IP departments within a large law firm. They all had tables out with various informational pamphlets on them about their firm. Some were handing out cups and tote bags and key-chains. I made a circuit of the room speaking to every attorney there. Not one was hiring. Not one was looking for an intern. Not one would take a resume, because. they.. weren’t… hiring.

I left confused. It was titularly a networking event wherein interested students were going to meet with select attorneys from one narrow corner of law. It was far enough before the summer that filling internship positions was a distinct possibility. Instead what I saw was a bunch of firms advertizing to law students and talking about how wonderful it was to work in the field that they were definitely not hiring for, and oh, here have a tote bag with our logo on it. I’m not sure what the point of it was. The law school regularly setup Q&A sessions wherein they invited attorneys from the whole spectrum of the legal field to talk about what they did and career options within the legal field. But this was a networking event… not a free-food lunchtime Q&A session.

I’m still not sure what the IP attorneys got out of it. They wasted part of an evening to stand around and feel superior to the law students trying to do something with their profession. Maybe that is what they got out of it. I’m still not sure.

 

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