To many of you in the class of 2013, I am your future self. If you are graduating from an average law school, your future is at best uncertain. Fucked at worst. Now I understand that there are no guarantees in life and the recent economic downturn put a monkeywrench in most peoples’ future plans. But I think we should be allowed to bitch and moan.
To those who got the job that they wanted, I congratulate you. Chances are you worked hard to get it along with a little help from Lady Luck.
To those who are not satisfied with their post grad job, I suppose you should be thankful that you at least have a job. While you are working for your evil overlord, try to learn things and do what you can to make yourself valuable. In the meantime, keep looking for a better job.
Finally, to those who didn’t get a job, keep looking and do what you have to do. And keep bugging the shit out of your school’s career services office. After all, you paid a small fortune in tuition to your law school so the least these fuckers can do is help you find a job.
A number of you feel jaded about your law school experience. Your projected career path didn’t turn out the way you hoped or thought you were entitled to. You might feel that you didn’t learn anything useful. Your student loan payment is greater than half of your salary.
Yet most of you enrolled in 2010 – a year when people were becoming aware that law school employment statistics were either molested or were outright lies. It was during a year when large firms were laying off associates, implementing hiring freezes, and downsizing altogether. And many legal experts have rightfully predicted that most lawyers’ pay will decrease in the long run due to changes in technology. You could have learned this in 2010 by doing an internet search or talking to current law students or recent law school graduates.
You didn’t listen and as a consequence, most of you are going to be fucked financially for a long time, perhaps the rest of your lives. But I am not writing to condemn or mock you if your expectations were not met. The damage has already been done and you will need to do whatever it takes to dig yourself out of this hole. My advice to you is this:
First, live within your means. Fuck the lawyer image. Don’t lease the luxury car you cannot afford. Don’t think you can “buy” yourself out of your financial troubles. I and many of my colleagues can see through your bullshit and will treat you accordingly. On a related note, don’t bet on student loans being dischargeable in bankruptcy anytime soon. Focus instead on avoiding default and making the most payments you can afford.
Second, don’t fuck people over, especially other attorneys. You are just starting out in your career and you don’t want to be known as the greedy, cheating bastard.
Third, emphasize with others and don’t be an arrogant douche. You have a strong work ethic. You think positively. You have a business or career plan and are following through with it. Heck, you might even be doing well with yourself. If that is the case, we are all happy for you. But don’t act all high and mighty telling people to stop being lazy and feeling entitled. Your pompous attitude might win you some friends but it will also turn off a lot of other people who are just as successful as you are. Have some sympathy for people who are less fortunate and help those who can and want to be helped.
Fourth, do your part to prevent the law school scam from perpetuating. While you don’t have to start a blog, organize a protest, or do something you’ll regret later, you should at least inform people that law school is a gamble. Tell prospective law students to think long and hard about their decision. For those who truly want to go, advise them to at least get a full or substantial tuition discount.
Finally, don’t give up on yourself. You may not have a future as an attorney but you do have a future. Don’t think just because you have a law degree, you have to be a lawyer. You are learning that the world is a cruel place and only a select few will make it to the top of the profession. But there are other professions where your personal skills and experience will be useful.