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

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Summer Starts on Monday

Some people call it fate. Some say the stars are aligned. Earl calls it karma. My mom calls it God appointments. However you term it, things have really fallen into place one piece at a time for what will hopefully be an amazing "rising 3L" summer experience.

When I started law school, I really had no idea what my future career would be. I wanted to be a lawyer and that is about all I knew. I figured, much like architecture school, I would get the degree and would simply be led directly into some job or career. I quickly found the legal profession to be much more vast with many more choices of paths to take. As my options began to unravel in front of me, I was overwhelmed. I could do something public-interesty and save the world...but be broke. I could make a lot of money in some Big-Law firm...but work 120 hours a week. I could go the route of politics or government affairs...but then I would have to deal with politicians. Breaking down the broad categories even further, the options seemed to multiply. Do I want the prestigious, ranked "big-law" firm job or the more humanist medium-sized firm? Do I want to work on the transactional side (building relationships) or on the litigation side (tearing them down)? Do I want to stay in DC where the legal market is so competitive and extremely hard to get into or do I want to venture back toward my homestate where my top-20 law school degree will be much appreciated? These were just way too many questions for a 1L to answer with only a few classes under her belt.

Of course, because I am a planner, I laid out some of my summer options really just based on what I thought I wanted to do. I had full knowledge these would change with time and I was not pressed to figure it out at that moment. Not to mention, certain things (ex: GPA and lack of journal) would seriously restrain my options. After a truly hilarious interview, I "fell into" an amazing opportunity with a law firm last summer. I really wanted to go to London, but I believe it's pretty unheard of for a 1L to turn down a Summer Associate position. Truth be told, I took the job for the money. I knew what kind of work they did and was convinced I would hate it. I figured if nothing else, this would be a fabulous resume builder for that wonderful 2L summer job...somewhere else.

To my utter surprise, I found everything I wanted last summer. Not only did I enjoy the work tremendously, but I was pretty good at it. The people were amazing and I actually made lasting friendships in the course of 11 short weeks. I found some really great mentors in this office. The kind that I will look back on 30 years from now and say that person helped mold my career. I found the things that really matter to me. Since I was in summer school, I missed out on most of the social events. For the most part, I was able to make my judgments without the wool of recruiting techniques being pulled over my eyes. Again, I found things that really matter to me.

Going against the "norm" and almost all advice I received, I decided to bow out of the On-Campus Interview process, put all my law firm eggs in one basket, and not split my summer with another firm. I did however, take this perfect opportunity to pick up another item from my 1L summer to-do list. I will be spending my second half of the summer in London studying International Law. So, in the end, with all the twists of fate put together, stars aligned and God appointments attended, I am looking forward to a wonderful summer.