Will our long journey lead to the same destination? On the surface it might appear so. After all, each of the students participating in writing this blog have spent countless hours over the last several years preparing for the day we will stand on the graduation platform to receive our coveted piece of parchment, signifying we are entitled to “all the rights and privileges of a Doctor of Jurisprudence.” But, the similarities end there.
Some of us have served as summer associates with Big Law and have job offers in hand; while others will clerk for a judge or join the DA or Public Defender’s office; a few will follow in a family members’ footsteps, and some will parlay their degree into a raise and/or promotion at the place they currently work. To all of them I say, “Good for you! You’ve earned it. Best of luck.” But for the rest, uncertainty lies ahead. It is no great secret that over the past several years the number of law school graduates has exceeded the number of available positions for new attorneys by the thousands.
So, what is one to do? It would be great if every graduate had one of the opportunities previously mentioned. Is it realistic? Probably not, especially for the non-traditional student. Many of them are older, so they are competing against graduates who are 10, 15, or even 20+ years younger. Anecdotally, our societal preoccupation with “youth” seems to know no bounds.
The vast majority of law firms, attorneys and judges appear to only want to mentor “young” lawyers just starting out. When was the last time you saw an older, fresh out-of-law school, law clerk, ADA, or law firm associate, etc.? Has the legal community lost sight of the fact that non-traditional graduates are just starting out too?
The misconception that a younger candidate for a “entry-level” attorney’s position will always be the stronger and smarter one, who is willing to work harder, learn more and generate more revenue, is just not true. Older law school graduates are generally more mature and bring a wealth of work and life experiences that are easily and quickly transferable to the practice of law. They are reliable, stable, honest, and committed. These graduates are more focused and grounded, thus, they know what they want to accomplish in their law careers and are willing to work for it.
My hope is we all get to the same destination, which is to practice law. As for me, I do not currently have a position waiting for me after graduation. But, I know my worth and what I am capable of achieving. I strive to bring value to every endeavor I am involved in. As stated in previous posts, I’m following my dream of becoming a new attorney. Whether, it means starting a solo practice, joining an established firm, forming a partnership with others, or partaking in one of the opportunities mentioned above, I am looking forward.