The random thoughts of an architect-turned- lawyer from the deep south living in Washington, DC...

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Summer lovin' happened so fast

The second semester of the first year of law school has brought about quite a few changes. We have new teachers, more classes, less juice left in our highlighters and the introduction of the important question "what the hell am I supposed to do this summer?" That last one is killing me. Who would have ever thought that there would be so many options? (For those of you cozily sitting in your little 'already figured out job' over at the PTO, you can quit reading now:-) Seriously, though, I understand that next summer is supposed to be the 'crucial 2L summer job', but for now, I would like to stress about this summer. In trying to categorize my options, here's what I've got:

1) Summer School. Yeah, this one kinda sux, but looks pretty inevitible from where I am sitting. GW has a fabulous program allowing a part time student to transfer into the full time program after one semester. This path includes summer school in order to 'catch up' and still graduate in only three years. If one were to put off summer school until the second summer, that would seriously mess up the 2L Summer Job. This means, I really need to handle the summer school thing this summer.

2) Study Abroad. I could always put off Property and go to London instead. Georgetown has a good program (except that one of their teachers just got pregnant and will not be teaching the class I was anticipating enrolling in.) Duke also has a fascinating Duke-Geneva program about war tribunals and terrorism. Judging from the pamphlet they sent me, this one is highly selective. They only take about 70 people world-wide. This is including students, lawyers, teachers, etc. The ABA Law Student division put out a fabulous January issue of Student Lawyer. In this issue, they summarized by country every study abroad program offered by law schools around the U.S. Quite an impressive array of options, yet it makes the decision that much more difficult.

3) Working for a judge. Assuming I decide to stay here, which something seems to be pulling me to do, I could always get a job interning for a judge. From what I hear, this is one of the better routes to go. Words of wisdom from NB: "The best thing you can do is clerk for a federal judge. The second best is clerk for a state judge." GW has a great database set up for judicial clerkships. Furthermore, if I want to clerk for someone important for a while after I graduate (which is apparently another good thing to do), I need to work my way up the judge ladder. No SCOTUS judge is going to let me clerk for them if I never clerked before. (And don't tell me that my 'average' GPA will inhibit my SCOTUS dreams. My grandfather told me last night that my charm will make up for it!) While this provides great experience, my understanding is that it provides no pay. The "you are already going to be that far into debt, what's a few grand more" isn't holding much weight with me anymore. I have anticipated a gargantuan amount of debt. I did not anticipate my summers adding too much to that debt. I guess as an option, I really do need to get on the ball researching this one. Damn it, that means I have to go 'polish' my writing samples from last semester.

4) Public Interest. This one is tricky. I think that the only way I could really take a non-paying job in a sector that I most-probably will not pursue post-graduation is if the cause is one in which I truly believe. There are a lot of folks in my section who have a passion to work with Civil Rights, or Human Rights, etc. They will do public interest work this summer and they will love it! On the other hand, knowing that BigLaw is my destiny, I am not so sure about taking a public interest job this summer. I am finding out firsthand what it is like to work in an office that does things that you don't necessarily believe in and I'm not having that much fun. Not saying I don't believe in human rights, just saying this is not the cause I will fight my life for. The GW/G-town public interest/government fair was this past weekend. I did have an interview with some folks in the DC Govn't in which I would be clerking for judges on a rotating basis all summer and would be paid. Hmmm...sounds like the best of both worlds to me. Keep your fingers crossed on that one.

5) Summer Associate - Big Firm. This one will be short. After 70+ rejection letters, I am going to throw the towel in on this one. It does not look like I am going to land a $2400/week summer associate position. Stupid NALP. However, my work was not in vain. I received an email which led to a phone conversation yesterday with Mr. Important Big Firm guy over at top Big Firm. He assured me that this is not the year for 1Ls (as they hired none), but asked if I would be interested in coming to clerk for them during the school year. He said the pay is good and it would be on a part time basis as a way to introduce me to them and let me get my foot in the door. That would be nice if that works out!

6) Summer Associate - Med/Small Firm. I have not actually looked into this one yet, so not sure what is out there. Actually, I've got typed pages at 8 point font of firms in this realm to contact. Just saving money for postage.

7) Maybe I could take another road trip around the country and work odd jobs like McDonald's along the way!